Media.net is one of the biggest (and best) alternatives to AdSense. This network features primarily contextual ads that work in a slightly different manner than standard display ad units. Though included within traditional sizes (e.g., 728×90 and 300×250), these ads often feature multiple linked keywords. Clicking on a keyword does NOT generate revenue for the publisher, but brings up a second screen displaying relevant ads. Revenue is generated when visitors click on one of these ads. In other words, Media.net ads function in the same way as AdSense link units.
Because Media.net features primarily contextual ads, there are a few items that you’ll need to be aware of. First, it may take a while for the ads to optimize to your site. The ads will analyze the content shown on your site, and display keywords that are deemed to be relevant to the surrounding content (i.e., contextual). As the sample size grows, an algorithm will determine which keywords generate the highest number of clicks and revenue for the particular audience. So if you’re going to test Media.net, you should commit to a fairly large sample size in order to accurately gauge the earnings potential of this network.
Second, Media.net ads will often work best when there are one or at most two ad units per page. If used in multiple positions, there will be considerable overlap among keywords, and users will experience diminishing returns in eRPMs. As such, start with using a single Media.net ad unit, and evaluate the incremental revenue generated on a unit-by-unit basis (i.e., with no other ad units running Media.net ads). You may also want to consider implementing frequency capping of Media.net ad impressions. For example, you may wish to limit impressions of Media.net units to two per user per day, and allow AdSense to kick in after that (this would make for a good experiment to run). In other words, Media.net is generally best used as a complement to AdSense, instead of as a complete replacement.
One of the biggest advantages (and ways in which this network differentiates itself from Google AdSense) is access to a dedicated account rep. Whereas AdSense is a bit of a “black hole” when it comes to questions or requests for help, Media.net gives publishers access to an actual human being who answers questions and even makes suggestions for opportunities to improve earnings. For anyone who has ever been frustrated by an inability to get questions answered by AdSense, this can be a valuable benefit.
A few other suggestions to consider when experimenting with Media.net:
If serving Media.net ads through an ad server such as DFP, your impression count may differ materially (10% to 15%) from what they show in their dashboard. Be sure to calculate eRPM as revenue / missed AdSense impressions to get an apples-to-apples comparison to AdSense.
Unlike AdSense, Media.net performance metrics are not available in real time. In some cases, you’ll have to wait until the afternoon of the following day to see how your ads performed.
Media.net also offers more advanced advertising solutions, such as sponsored search results (click on a link under “See Also” here to see this in action). If you have a large traffic base, this may be an interesting opportunity to recycle visitors and monetize exiting traffic.
Bottom Line: We’ve had great results with Media.net; certain ad placements have definitely outperformed AdSense, and resulted in a material increase in overall earnings. Given the nature of Media.net’s contextual ads, it’s critical to understand the limitations and optimal settings when evaluating this product.
Media.net Payment Rating: 5 out of 5.
- Publisher’s Share of Revenue: Unknown.
- Payment Methods Available: Wire transfer or PayPal.
- Payment Terms: Net-30.
- Minimum Payout Threshold: $100.
Media.net Account Help Rating: 5 out of 5.
- Knowledge Base URL: None available.
- Personal Account Manager: Yes.
- Easy to Contact Support: Yes.