Google’s industry-dominating AdSense product provides online publishers with enough paying ads to fill an entire site.
Some sites use AdSense to fill remnant ad space that hasn’t been sold to direct sales clients. Other sites are entirely filled with AdSense. Still more use the product with AdSense alternatives.
The product provides not only the largest quantity of online ads in the world but often the highest-paying remnant ads. Google gives the publisher 68 percent of the revenue and keeps 32 percent for the selling, marketing and management of the product.
But for some sites, AdSense is not enough. They may have one of three reasons to look for an Adsense alternative:
- They violated Google’s terms of service, got caught and were banned from using the product.
- They have so much available inventory because AdSense RPMs can’t keep up with the high volume.
- They want to replace the lowest-paying AdSense ads with higher-paying ads from another provider.
While some sites find alternatives that compete with AdSense on RPM, others may find that the following risks outweigh any benefit.
6 Risks of Adsense Alternatives
1 – Ad Security
Newer, smaller or desperate remnant networks will distribute ads with malware or viruses attached to them.
They may not be intentionally doing it. They simply may not have the technical resources to check every ad. Unscrupulous advertisers take advantage of the opportunity.
Some remnant networks develop bad reputations as a result and simply rename themselves to remove the stigma.
Tip: Do a search with the company name with either the word “virus” or “malware” to see if many results come back.
2 – Company Stability
Anyone who has worked in the online industry long enough knows that alternative networks frequently come and go. Only a handful of the strongest stay alive for a period of multiple years.
An agreement in place may not be worth anything if the provider goes belly up and doesn’t pay what is due to the publisher.
Tip: Look on the company Web site for its “About” page to find out how long it has been in business and any references to major clients. Avoid new companies until they can prove themselves.
3 – Secretive Management
A company Web site that doesn’t provide information about its owners or managers is displaying a major red flag.
Such a company may have something to hide such as the fact that it is new or that the people in charge oversaw previous failures.
Even if it does provide that information, make sure the leaders show a history of success and connections to other successful online companies.
Tip: Find out who is in charge from the About page, company press releases or other sources. If the information on the site is skimpy, do online searches about their backgrounds.
4 – Clunky Ad Code
Even if the company passes the first three tests, the ad code can still create a risk.
Slow site performance can lead to lower RPMs from AdSense because Google places a high emphasis on fast sites. It also can reduce audience, especially pages per visit.
Tip: Create a test page entirely with code from an existing page. Create a second page with the new code. Test both pages with Google’s PageSpeed Insights to see how each one performs.
5 – Clunky Ads
Maybe the network does OK with the above checks and the code goes live. But a new problem erupts. Two actual scenarios are worth sharing.
The code from the remnant server might be optimized, but an advertiser who doesn’t optimize can destroy site performance.
In the second situation, the provider floods a site with a massively large, malfunctioning video ad that stopped the page from loading completely every time.
In this example, the network didn’t provide any quality control or automated alerts to itself about a problem.
Tip: Load the test page multiple times on a regular basis and check the performance with an optimization tool such as PageSpeed or GTmetrix.
6 – Revenue Starts High and Drops
Some remnant networks will distribute higher-paying ads in the beginning to a new publisher.
Then the RPMs mysteriously start to decline. Some networks may be guilty of sending new publishers higher-paying ads to make them look competitive with AdSense.
They hope the publisher will check the early results and move on to other priorities. The network starts sending lower-paying ads and shifts the higher-paying ones to new publishers.
Tip: Check RPMs for every network on the site on a regular basis, at least monthly if not weekly.