Digital advertising spending is growing continuously. In 2021, it exceeded $522 billion (worldwide), and by 2026, this rate is projected to reach more than $830 billion. Thus, it is not surprising that there are so many ad networks for publishers, allowing them to find advertisers and drive income.
Making a choice can be challenging, but our guide is here to help. Explore the highest-paying ad networks to find a solution that will fully meet your needs.
What is an ad network?
Before reviewing different ad networks, let's clarify what exactly this term means. An ad network is a platform that collects your ad inventory and then sells it to relevant advertisers. Basically, it works as an intermediary between website owners and marketers.
An ad network helps publishers generate revenue from their inventory in a much more convenient and secure way.
Most ad networks operate on a CPM (cost per mille) basis, meaning advertisers pay per thousand impressions. Here, you can find a list of top CPM ad networks, while this guide will provide you with a better understanding of how ad networks work in general.
Why use an ad network?
Ad networks are beneficial both for publishers and advertisers, and here is why:
- No need to look for high-quality ads or ad placements manually; everything is done automatically. As a result, you can focus on your core tasks;
- Enhanced reach means more opportunities for selling and buying ad inventory;
- A wide pool of opportunities results in increased ad revenue for publishers and higher traffic for advertisers;
- Ease of ad management and control both for website owners and marketers.
The highest-paying ad networks for publishers
Now, let's review some of the best CPM ad networks (and not only) that you can leverage to increase ad revenue.
1. SmartyAds SSP
SmartyAds SSP (supply-side platform) is a CPM programmatic solution that allows you to monetize your ad inventory effectively. After you set everything up, the ad exchange automatically selects suitable ads (with the highest bids) for your inventory.
In general, SmartyAds is a complete ecosystem for publishers and advertisers, simplifying processes for all parties involved.
Before signing up for SmartyAds SSP, make sure that your inventory meets the requirements.
- An easy-to-use solution with all the features essential for effective monetization;
- The platform offers various ad formats, including mobile ads, text ads, native ads, video ads, display ads, banner ads, etc;
- SmartyAds SSP works on ML (machine learning technology), meaning that it adapts to real-time conditions;
- Perfect value for every ad impression is determined so you can maximize revenue;
- Header bidding integration is available to increase bid density;
- You can take part in private marketplace auctions to sell your inventory to specific groups of top-performing buyers;
- Full transparency and complete control over your ad placements;
- Analytics features to measure the number of requests, impressions, fill rate, etc.
The CPM rate is $10 to $25 and above (for tier 1).
The available payment methods are PayPal, Payoneer, ACH (Automated Clearing House), and wire transfer.
The payment period is 60 days (after each month).
The minimum payout threshold is $50.
You can set up email notifications to get informed when your balance reaches the required level.
The payment is counted for the actual number of impressions approved and served.
2. Google AdSense
As the leading search engine with a market share of over 83%, Google offers multiple digital advertising solutions. One of them is Google AdSense, a platform for website monetization.
To start using this network, you need a Google account (Gmail or any other service). Then, you will have to provide your phone number and postal address associated with your bank account — this data is required for transferring your payouts.
The last step is to connect your website to Google AdSense.
- The Auto Ads solution automatically places and optimizes the ads for your website based on its content, layout, and the already displayed Google ads;
- Ads automatically adjust to any type of screen, meaning a good experience for your website visitors. Even when the smartphone's screen orientation changes, ads respond and remain effective;
- The network also allows monetizing HTML5 games. However, this feature is still in beta, but you can apply and try it;
- Multiple integrations with third-party platforms where you can publish your content and earn from displaying ads;
- You can choose the preferred types of ads, customize their placements, and even block the ads you do not like;
- Pre-made and custom reports on your account performance;
- No minimum website traffic requirement.
The CPM rate is $0.30 to $3.
The payment methods include checks, EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer), SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area), and wire transfers. The selection of options depends on your payment address.
A wide array of supported currencies, including USD, EUR, AUD, CAD, and others.
The thresholds vary by currency, but for USD, it is $100. If needed, you can raise your minimum payment threshold.
The payout frequency is 30 days.
The payment processing period takes 21 days.
Media.net is among the best ad networks since it provides access to one of the largest pools of advertisers. It is preferred by such well-known publishers as Forbes, CNN, Reuters, and others and offers multiple solutions to help you monetize your website and maximize revenue.
Before applying for Media.net, make sure that your website meets its requirements — for instance, it must provide original content. The complete policy can be found on their website.
Since Media.net is a premium ad network, it has a separate policy for media buyers, with multiple conditions and restrictions. Therefore, you can count on high-quality ads.
- A variety of ad formats, including display ads, native ads, video ads, and contextual ads;
- The Media.net Marketplace provides you with access to search demand from the Yahoo! Bing Network;
- The platform's unique demand does not rely on cookies, which is important since the cookieless era is almost here;
- A server-side header bidding platform for greater transparency and control;
- ROI optimization functionalities;
- Real-time reporting capabilities to monitor ad performance.
Typically, the CPM rate is $1 to $1.25.
The available payment methods are wire transfer and PayPal.
Payments are made on a monthly basis.
The minimum payout is $100.
Any revenue generated by advertisements on an unapproved website is not paid out.
4. Propeller Ads
Propeller Ads is a platform for brands, media agencies, and affiliates, providing them with access to over 1 billion audience. For supply partners, it offers an ad network, an SSP, and an RTB (real-time bidding) solutions.
The platform registers more than 12 billion ad impressions daily, which can become a great opportunity for you as a publisher.
- The platform promises up to 243 conversions per second (for affiliates);
- The ad formats include interstitial ads, pop-under ads (like traditional pop-ups, but non-intrusive), push notifications, in-page push notifications, and direct link ads. Animated creatives are supported, too;
- Targeting criteria include device, platform, OS, interests, age, gender, etc;
- Retargeting is possible;
- Multiple bidding models to choose from, including CPM, CPC, CPA, AI-based, and Smart options;
- AI-powered fraud detection capabilities;
- Compliance with legal requirements;
- No minimum traffic requirements;
- Analytics features.
Usually, the CPM rate is $0.5 to $1.5.
The available payment options are Payoneer, PayPal, Skrill, Bank Wire, WebMoney, and ePayments.
The minimum payment threshold is only $5. Note that it may vary according to the payment method.
The first payout is possible 14 days (plus 5 days on processing) after the ads on your website start getting impressions.
You can benefit from weekly payments if your verified website has more than 10k unique daily visitors.
Adsterra is an ad network chosen by more than 12k advertisers and with a 100% fill rate. Besides, the approval process takes only 10 minutes.
This is an intuitive self-serve platform with multiple automated processes, meaning that you will be able to monetize your ad space without loads of manual work. If needed, you can benefit from onboarding materials already integrated into your account.
Thus, while some other ad networks need a lot of time to approve your application, Adsterra is a quick solution.
- The available pricing modes are CPM, CPC, CPA, CPI, and CPL;
- You can monetize not only your website but also an app or social media;
- A variety of web and mobile ad formats, including banners, native banners, pop-under ads, social bars (an alternative to web push notifications), and direct link ads;
- Anti-adblock capabilities to increase your revenue;
- Fraud detection systems to ensure a safe experience;
- Real-time statistics to measure your traffic monetization effort;
- With a referral program, you can earn 5% of revenue for everyone you refer, which can become an additional source of income.
The CPM rate is up to over $10.
The payout frequency is twice per month, on the 1-2 and 16-17 of each month.
The payment methods are PayPal, Hyperwallet, Tether (ERC20 and TRC20), Bitcoin, wire transfer, WebMoney, Payoneer (euro-receiving bank account), and Paxum.
The payout amount is released automatically after a 2-week period.
The minimum payout amount depends on the chosen payment method. For example, it is $100 for PayPal, while for Paxum, it is $5.
Ezoic is used by more than 10k online publishers and ensures access to top-performing advertisers. Their industry partners include the Forbes Communication Council, Google AdSense, Google Ad Manager, and some others.
With automation features, your monetization processes get easier. Moreover, Ezoic reinvests in the customers by offering expanded ad demand and extra ad partners. As you reach a new level within the platform, you can access new resources and opportunities to help you accomplish your goals.
Basically, Ezoic is not exactly an ad network since it focuses only on publishers, providing them with access to multiple partners, networks, and exchanges. However, for website owners, this solution can be very beneficial, and this is why it is on our list.
- You can place ads according to historical data, as well as optimize ad sizes;
- Analytics features to measure the performance. For instance, you can learn how valuable different content categories are on your website;
- Insights about user experience and revenue help you create more effective content;
- You have advanced control over how ads are displayed on your website. The ad preferences include ad types, sizes, etc;
- A/B testing capabilities;
- You can host and index your videos in search engines;
- A 30-day free trial with access to all products and features. Thus, you can try Ezoic and risk nothing.
On average, the CPM rate is up to $18.
Payments are conducted on a monthly basis.
The payment threshold is $20, which is a more friendly option than those offered by many other ad networks.
The payment methods are Payoneer, PayPal, and check.
Publift is another popular ad network, but before applying for it, you need to know that they look not only for high-quality content and returning visitors. They partner with websites that earn at least $2,000 per month. Among other metrics, Publift pays attention to page views and requires consistent and genuine traffic.
This may seem slightly unfair, but, on the other hand, Publift wants to cooperate with publishers who can drive ad revenue through this platform. Therefore, if you are eligible, this network can help you monetize your website effectively.
- The platform offers solutions for publishers with direct deals, an existing partner, etc.;
- An impressive variety of ad formats, including so-called sticky footer scrollers, miniscrollers, interscrollers, banners, and more;
- Ad block monetization features allow you to monetize your website even if your visitors leverage adblock technologies;
- A/B testing for auction rules so that your ad inventory is always priced fairly;
- Data-driven optimization capabilities allow you to maximize ROI;
- The platform provides access to premium demand partners, including Xandr, Criteo, OpenX, and some others;
- The approval process is pretty quick. You will get your tags within only 5 days;
- Publift provides you with suggestions on ad optimization.
To estimate your advertising revenue, you can use CPM, CPC, eCPM, CTR, and CPA calculators right on Publift's website. You can also assess the conversion rate.
The Google revenue is paid every 30 days, while revenue from other networks is paid in 3 months arrears.
The payments are issued via direct bank transfer.
You are free to choose the currency.
Snigel is a platform offering numerous solutions for publishers. Among them, there are products for monetization, reporting, etc.
However, the onboarding process is not that easy. Snigel focuses on such niches as gaming, technology, education, and some others. At the same time, they prefer publishers who have at least 2 million page views per month.
Another requirement to consider is that Snigel pays attention to websites generating around $50 per day. They may still work with publishers below this threshold, but they want to cooperate with websites with significant potential.
- With Snigel's various ad formats, you can display next-generation ad formats like quizzes, polls, etc;
- The ad platform is ready for the cookieless era and is continuously improving its features related to this change;
- Artificial intelligence is responsible for placing your ads and pushing prices up to maximize revenue;
- The AdBlock Revenue Recovery feature allows you to display ads in alignment with Acceptable Ads standards so that they will not affect user experience;
- The in-app header bidding feature allows you to monetize your app. Other ad formats are available as well, including mobile and desktop ads;
- A reporting dashboard and interactive visualization tools to measure your performance;
- The platform is compliant with evolving legislation requirements.
Snigel offers an ad revenue calculator for you to estimate your income.
The payments are made within 30 days (a completed active month plus 30 days).
Snigel pays publishers only via bank wire transfer.
The platform reports revenue both in USD and EUR.
As it is clear from the platform's name, BuySellAds offers solutions both for advertisers and publishers. Using it, you can monetize your website, newsletters, and even a podcast.
Focusing on contextual advertising, BuySellAds provides four products, including a self-serve platform and a programmatic solution. Coin.Network is an ad network designed for crypto publishers and marketers. Finally, Carbon Ads is a network focusing on designers, developers, and creators.
This way, with BuySellsAds, you can access specific niches as well as broader pools of opportunities. You can also partner with the platform to get additional support and management services.
- Multiple ad formats, including so-called hover cards (interactive ads with animations), standard banner ads, sticky boxes (ads in the corner of the page), and many more;
- The formats are compliant with Acceptable Ads standards, meaning that they are shown to users who leverage ad blocks without affecting their experience;
- You can work both with your demand and BuySellAds' industry relationships;
- Header bidding system;
- Full transparency into your ad revenue and demand sources;
- BuySellAds ensures security for your first-party data;
- No minimum traffic requirement, which is especially beneficial for small businesses.
The average CPM rate is $0.25 to $0.75.
The available payment methods are wire transfer, credit card, PayPal, and Bitcoin.
Your earned funds appear in your account balance around 30 days after your ad placement is purchased.
The earned funds can be cashed out upon your request.
If your account is inactive for 6 months, it will be charged $100 per month (to preserve your data) until the balance reaches $0 or your account gets active again.
Sovrn is a Google-certified publishing partner (and not only), offering multiple ad solutions for publishers. First and foremost, you can leverage their ad exchange to connect with advertisers. Secondly, you can benefit from their commerce solution to make the most of your affiliate effort.
You can also request ad management services when needed, and Sovrn experts can join your team in-house or be fully or partially outsourced.
Sovrn is currently used by more than 60k websites, including Daily Mail, Newsweek, and others.
- Sovrn offers more than 55 DSP partners you can connect with, including Amazon Ads, Google Display & Video 360, etc.;
- At the moment, Sovrn supports display and video ads (via Google open bidding). However, they are also working on CTV and in-app formats and encourage publishers to inform them in case they are interested in such ads;
- You can also create so-called Shopping Galleries to improve your visitor experience and increase commerce revenue;
- Content optimization capabilities. For example, you can monetize your email and mobile data;
- A/B testing is possible;
- Real-time analytics and reporting features. For instance, you see what content the audience is consuming and compare it to what advertisers purchase;
- Alignment with IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) and TAG (Trustworthy Accountability Group) standards.
Usually, the CPM rate is $0.20 to $3.
Payment methods include PayPal, ACH transfer, paper check, wire transfer, and eCheck/local transfer. Note that the selection of methods may vary due to restrictions in certain locations.
All payments are made in USD, but you can choose another currency to receive your funds. The exchange fees are your responsibility.
Processing times vary as well, depending on the currency and bank location.
The payment period usually takes 45 days. For instance, if you earn $2k by November 30, you will be paid in the middle of January.
The minimum payout threshold is $25. However, for wire transfer, it is $50.
What to consider when choosing an ad network?
To make a choice among several ad networks, you need to review the functionalities of each potential solution carefully. Here are several suggestions on what to pay attention to.
There are various ad formats available, including video ads, banner ads, interstitial ads, mobile ads, contextual ads, native ads, and others. Each ad network supports a specific set of formats, and you need to choose the one that offers ad types that will fit your website's layout the best.
The success of ad campaigns heavily relies on targeting. Thus, tailored ads ensure higher ad revenue for you and an increased conversion rate for advertisers.
You need to choose an ad network with targeting capabilities relevant to your audience. For instance, if your audience has specific hobbies, the network should allow targeting based on interests.
Pay attention to the network's payout rates — the higher they are, the better. However, the CPM rate depends on multiple factors, including location, audience, ad formats, etc.
Note that some ad networks offer high payout rates but have low fill rates. Ad fill rate is the number of successfully served ads divided by the total number of ad requests. When this metric is low, this means a lack of demand.
Therefore, if you choose such a network, there will not be so many ads delivered to your website, so even high payout rates may not be able to ensure stable significant income.
It is also important to review the payment terms and conditions of your potential ad network. What are the payment methods and the minimum payout threshold? What is the payment schedule?
Prefer a network with multiple payment methods and a low minimum threshold.
You also need to review additional functions of your potential advertising network. For example, these can be forecasting capabilities or some specific features to help you sell your ad space effectively.
Apart from functionalities and terms, you need to check the network's reputation — it can become a decisive factor in case you have found several perfectly suitable solutions.
Look for reviews from other publishers and industry experts, and check if the network delivers payouts on time.
Using the right ad network is the way for you to sell your ad space effectively. Thus, your inventory will be filled with ads relevant to your website visitors, which will contribute to their experience. As a result, you will maximize your advertising income.
Make a choice considering the factors we described above, and keep in mind that programmatic solutions can make the process of selling even simpler and more convenient.
Does SmartyAds SSP sound like the right solution to you? Register now and monetize your ad inventory!
According to the CPM model, advertisers pay publishers per thousand views, whether a user has clicked an ad or not. You can learn more about CPM and compare it with other pricing models here.
CPM means that you will get paid per thousand impressions, while CPC — per click. If ad units are often clickable, CPC is a better option, but with CPM, you will get paid regardless of clicks. For publishers, this payment model is more beneficial. Learn more about the difference between CPM and CPC here.
The key metric is eCPM, which stands for Effective Cost per Mille. It indicates the revenue you generate from a thousand ad impressions. The higher it is, the better. Here, you can learn more about eCPM and discover how to increase it.