It's a fact: Google dominates the Internet and is the undisputed leader in the search engine market in such a way that it is frankly difficult to avoid the Mountain View giant, not only from a SEO perspective in terms of where the traffic comes from, but also in terms of the revenue options for advertising publishers. With AdSense, the most popular and well-known advertising platform through which to offer advertising inventory on web pages, Google also remains at the forefront of the cost-per-click business. However, there is life beyond Google AdSense. It is very common that, due to strict guidelines set by Google, many websites are blocked and excluded from the network, which generates the need to seek other sources of income.
How advertising networks work
In principle, any website owner can offer space for advertising and for this space to be properly monetized, a digitally measurable size is necessary. This is how the so-called CPC or cost per click has been consolidated as the usual billing model, especially since it is technically very easy to track and record clicks. With this system, the publisher, also called the publisher, i.e. the administrator or owner of a website, obtains a commission from the advertiser for each click on the ad placed on his page.
The price of the click varies greatly depending on many variables. For advertisers, the quality of the page on which the ad appears and, above all, its reach are relevant, among other factors, but the type of ad and its position itself are also decisive. For publishers, when setting the commission, the so-called CTR or click through rate is also, along with the quality and scope of their website, an important factor, but no less important is the relevance of the content in relation to the advertising to be displayed. In short, the price of the CPC is set by both publishers and advertisers.
Unlike affiliate marketing, cost-per-click models only take into account whether the user clicks on the ad, regardless of whether he or she places an order. Many times, billing is done on a cost per thousand impressions or CPM basis, which only takes into account the number of times the ad "skips" (Ad impressions). Increasingly, however, large programs are replacing the click-through or impression model with a percentage commission on each sale, for example, ten percent of the user's shopping cart, meaning that publishers only make a profit if there is an actual sale for that ad.
Google's advertising network is aimed at those webmasters who plan to make a profit by publishing contextual advertising (banners or links) on their site. Invoicing takes place by means of the aforementioned cost-per-click model, or, what is the same, by means of a commission for each click on the advertisements.
In general, Google AdSense is considered the most powerful offer in the field of CPC and is often mentioned as a complementary program to Google AdWords. However, while AdSense is more oriented towards websites and blogs, AdWords is relevant mainly for e-shops or service companies. In the case of AdWords, advertisers invest in advertising and as an AdSense network partner, the publisher gets a portion of what the AdWords client has paid Google to run its ads.
Google AdSense' alternatives
As the largest global advertising network, Google AdSense reaches, according to its own statements, around 80 % of all users. This is one of the reasons why it remains the first choice for many publishers. However, as mentioned above, it is possible to opt out of the program at any time, so it is always advisable to keep the various alternatives to Google AdSense in view. Below, we detail three of them, Chitika, Yahoo Bing and Infolinks, chosen from a range that includes other alternatives to AdSense as Propeller Ads, Bidvertiser, Revenue Hits or the Venezuelan Kontextua, among many others.
Chitika, founded in 2003 by two former Lycos employees and located between the United States and India, means something like "snapping your fingers" in Telugu, a southern Indian dialect, which serves as a metaphor for the firm to describe the speed at which the ads they manage are published. With a network of more than 350,000 publishers and partnerships with prestigious advertisers, Chitika has established itself as a strong alternative to AdSense, fully compatible with AdSense, as long as the guidelines are followed in a way that avoids exclusion, but guarantees a somewhat lower commission. The company claims to have proprietary targeting and optimization technology that promises to reach the right audience at the right time.
With Chitika, the ads are customizable and include the banner in different formats, the slider, in-text ads, layer for text (with the option to activate or deactivate them) and floating buttons. The transfer of the benefits is made by PayPal from 10 dollars.
WordPress users can install a plugin to integrate this monetization option into the blog or page more quickly.
2. Yahoo Bing
The Contextual Ads network, composed of Yahoo and Bing in association with Media.net, is an option comparable to Google's network, although more oriented towards a premium sector. In fact, registration, which in their jargon is called "requesting an invitation", is subordinated to an examination by media.net in which the page requesting registration as a publisher is reviewed according to certain qualitative criteria, among which are having remarkable traffic or targeting the Anglo-Saxon market.
The advantages of joining Yahoo Bing's contextual advertising program include access to a huge network of top advertisers worldwide, just as collaboration with the media.net self-service network gives you the freedom to choose the size of your ad, as well as to visually adapt it to the style of your website.
However, it should be taken into account that this advertising network, which is very competent in terms of the technology it uses, would not perhaps be the best option for more modest or Spanish-speaking projects. Profitability counts from 100 USD.
As an alternative to AdSense, the Infolinks advertising platform, based in California, is perhaps the most comparable option in terms of popularity, perhaps because both are fully compatible and because of the level of their advertisers, although it has some positive aspects that are advantageous to the Google network. Among these, it is worth mentioning that the type of advertising they insert in the publishers' site is generally not very intrusive, using formats such as "in-text" or "in-tag", which converts the page's links or tags into ads, achieving, according to the company, overcoming the blindness to banners and a greater symbiosis with the user's real interest, which generates a greater commitment to the ad, ergo clicks. In fact, and despite the fact that the pay per click is much lower, the platform brings publishers greater benefits than the other large Californian network, mainly because, in addition to clicks, impressions are also relevant. Another very positive aspect is the ease of implementation of advertising with Infolinks, since it does not require a specific space.
However, it is worth noting that Infolinks places a minimum of twelve advertising links per page, which means a lot of content. Infolinks does not limit access to its services to modest sites, but does subject all requests to a pre-screening, after which they claim that implementation of their code takes only a few minutes.
Both ads and links can be adjusted to the overall look and feel of the page so that they are not uncomfortable, which is common to most online advertising platforms.
The payment is made from 50 dollars if you use PayPal, bank check, Payoneer or ACH, or 100 dollars if you charge by bank transfer and in both cases takes place within 45 days after the month you registered activity, a period longer than the 30 days (net 30) offered by most other platforms.
On the other hand, and although the network supports sites in Spanish and English, it seems that the company values much more the visits from the North American area (United States and Canada) and from the United Kingdom, something that perhaps should be taken into consideration when the visits come mostly from another region.
Finally, it should be mentioned that the use of this type of advertising could have a negative effect on SEO, because it could slow down the loading of the page.
3. eBay and Amazon affiliate programs
The eBay and Amazon ad networks are a separate case because, on the one hand, they insert their own ads and not those of external advertisers and, on the other hand, they use classic affiliate strategies that bill on a percentage commission basis. This means that neither of these platforms uses the cost-per-click model, but this does not prevent them from becoming a solid source of revenue and a valid alternative to AdSense for many publishers.
eBay Partner Network
Until recently, the online auction platform eBay still offered so-called Relevance Ads in its own advertising network. These were banners of various sizes that were adjusted to the content of the page and were remunerated according to the CPC model. Today, the new partner program or eBay Partner Network is committed to an alternative remuneration model, based on purchase commissions, similar to that which underpins affiliate programs.
The Amazon affiliate program offers different ad types, such as banners in various sizes and contextual ads. The so-called Amazon Self Optimizing Links, which work similarly to their predecessors, the affiliate links, although no longer dependent on the publisher but on the user's content and searches, are particularly interesting. The remuneration is 10 percent of the total generated by the advertising action, so that mere clicks do not benefit the publishers in this type of cooperation. However, these linked advertisements, which are paid from 50 $ onwards, can be very lucrative.
General comparison of alternatives to Google AdSense
|Company||Ads format||Billing model||Remuneration from||Integrated Mobile Advertising|
|Google AdSense||Banner, block links, text ads, rich media||CPC||60 $||Yes|
|Chitika||Div. format banners, sliders, in-text ads, text layers, floating buttons||CPC||10 $||Yes|
|Yahoo Bing||Text based, customizable||CPC||100 $||Yes|
|Infolinks||Banners, interstitial ads, in-text and in-tag links||CPC & CPM||50 / 100 $||Yes|
|eBay Partner Network||Banner, logos, ads, feeds, links||Commission on total purchase||25 $||No data|
|Amazon PartnerNet||Automatic affiliate links||Commission on total||50 $||No data|
Image by 200 Degrees from Pixabay
Web Developer, Blogger, Creative Thinker, Social media enthusiast, Italian expat in Spain, mom of little 6 years old geek, founder of @manoweb. A strong conceptual and creative thinker who has a keen interest in all things relate to the Internet. A technically savvy web developer, who has multiple years of website design expertise behind her. She turns conceptual ideas into highly creative visual digital products.
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