If I should name one thing I did like crazy about monetization in 2014 it would be testing ad networks. Being the lucky owner of a couple of million page impressions to drown ads in I had no problems testing more than one ad network at a time.

Sites with good performance don’t stay unrecognized by advertisers and aside the maybe 30 – 40 ad networks I contacted, a full dozen of them contacted me.

For this article I opened my email archive to see who contacted me, what they offered and what came out of it. Let me show you that an ad network that contacts you is not always a spammer, but you should also be careful and not take any chance like I did out of pure curiosity.

The order of the ad networks is based on the time they contacted me. The earlier in the year, the earlier they get mentioned here. Unfortunately, there were times when so many ad networks contacted me that I deleted some emails after not receiving any reply.

The ad networks mentioned here are:

  • SwitchAds
  • Social Reality
  • Creafi Online Media
  • Traffiq Exchange
  • 152 Media
  • Sonital Digital Media
  • Meme Global Media Group

What are my aims here?

Even this long article can only show a short part of my communication with the ad networks before we decided to work or not to work together. Before we get started though I wanted to make clear that I didn’t curate this article to make any ad network look bad. In fact, even I can’t keep every network on my site, even the ok doing ones.

My aim is rather to show publishers how different ad networks are and that it can be worth testing even the once that approach you out of the blue.

I also hope that ad networks learn how to approach publishers without wasting each others time. If you are interested in my view of a publishers mind, feel free to contact me.


This is what SwitchAds wrote to me in May 2014:

I’m looking for the person responsible for banner advertising on (link removed) – are you able to help ?

I work for SwitchAds and I think there’s definitely potential for us to work together.

Here at SwitchAds we place over 1 billion adverts a day for customers in over 20 countries around the world. We’re currently 2nd on the Sunday Times 100 list of the fastest growing technology companies in the UK.

We have created a really simple platform that works in partnership with your existing advertising solution (e.g. Google AdSense) to help websites like yours generate more revenue – in some cases we’ve increased monthly revenue by 300%.

We work for a variety of companies such as saintsweb.co.uk , racingpost.com and theAA.com and we’re different because we only work on behalf of web publishers.

We’ve got great fill rates in your territory and sector and I’d love to discuss setting up a test with you to prove how good SwitchAds really is. Who’s the best person to talk to?

After my reply I received additional information about the ads, how to create an account and how to get started. All in all one of the easier starts.

I did run a lot of tests and was able to not triple my income, but still increase it distinctly. The sheer fact that I still use them distinguishes them from most of the other ad networks that contacted me out of the blue.

I am planing to publish a longer review on SwitchAds, so stay tuned.

Social Reality

An ad network called Social Reality also contacted me in May with the shortest pitch I ever received from an ad network:

Are you the best person to speak with regarding advertising?

OK, I ditched the “Hello” and “Thank you”. My reply managed to be even shorter and what I received back was this:

How are you ? Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I would love to give you a little back ground information on what we do here at Social Reality. We have been in the ad tech space for about ten years. In our platform we represent over 600 buyers who represent over 3,000 brands who operate 10,000 campaigns daily. We’d like to present your inventory on a daily basis in this marketplace. We have four channels of demand inventory: 1) our own direct sales, 2) exchanges, 3) DSP/Agency desk, and 4) network buyer.  Truly, a ton of demand inventory. Each month, we receive between 2B and 3B direct bids in our platform.

We do between 40MM and 100MM impressions a day and serve between 2B and 3B ads each month.  For premium US/CA/UK/SA/AU sites we typically see eCPMs between $1.20 and $3.20.  We also have a ton of international demand and typically fill 99.5% of the inventory our publishers send.

Set up is quick and easy and there’s no term, exclusivity or commitment – if you like us: great; if it’s not working for you: turn us off.  Lastly, we have an awesome backend reporting portal and you get a dedicated account manager who is, truly, always available to assist you.

Please let me know if we can set up a test, I look forward to hearing from you soon.

We exchanged 9 emails until I received a login and an account manager was assigned to me. I am not able to reproduce everything here. Too many emails and different account managers followed, but at the end the performance promised was not the one I saw in my accounts, so I ended serving their ads. They can still be useful for other sites though.

Creafi Online Media

Creafi Online Media contacted me with this email in September:

My name is (name removed), and I am an account manager with Creafi Online Media, member of the Crazy4Media Group, and one of the world’s fastest growing display advertising monetization networks.

We work with the best of breed display and video monetization technologies and provide high quality online media solution to our publishers globally. Our solution includes advanced technology and global sales geared towards maximizing your advertising rates and revenue.

I have noticed that you have space for advertisement in your website (link removed) and given that your site is great and a good traffic is coming from US, UK and Canada , a number of our advertisers have shown an interest in advertising on your site. I’d be very interested in discussing this with you and explain in more details.

Some examples of our current campaigns: British Airways, Airtel (UK), Nissan (ES), Siemens (US, UK), Reel Crazy (AU, CA), Coca cola (DE).

Do not hesitate to contact me if you need any further information.

I had a look at their website and indeed didn’t hesitate to contact them with this reply:

I might be interested for (link removed), but don’t want to waste more time on testing new networks (sorry, but you were not the first to contact me on this matter). What is the minimal cpm you pay for the standard ad sizes?

Was I unpolite? Maybe a little, it was prime time for advertiser spam, but since they already know about my great sites I was surprised to have never heard from them again. Since I am still interested in a test run I just took the chance while writing this article to contact them again.

Traffiq Exchange

Also in September, I got an email from TraffiqExchange, an ad company from India.

My name is (name removed) and I am a Publisher Development Manager at Traffiq Exchange, a CPM based ad network with over 5 billion monthly impressions.

15+ direct advertisers, presence on all major platforms & DSPs and our unique yield algorithms will help you maximize your revenues & get best market prices for your inventory.

We would love to represent your site and give you access to all our brand-safe display, video and mobile demand.

  • Geos: US, UK, CA, AU, DE
  • Fix CPM, RevShare and performance campaigns available
  • Flexible Payment Terms
  • Dedicated Account Rep

You can add me on Skype at (removed) or mail me at (removed) and I’d be happy to discuss further.

Looking forward to work with you.

An ad company from India? CPM based? I was taking a leap of faith here and replied:

thank you for your email. Please send me a list of banner sizes and their minimal cpm for one English and one German website, so I can compare it to my current vendor.

6 days later I got the reply saying

The list of sizes are 160X600, 728X90 and 300X250.

We at Traffiq Exchange work on Rev-Share of 70% – 30%, which will fetch you an eCPM varying from $0.30 – $1.

Since then, my history with Traffiq Exchange is one of ups and downs. The performance wasn’t as promised, but still ok and the communication did also not meet my expectations. We split up at the end of the year because I never got paid till then. I haven’t given up on them totally, but this is also a story for a more detailed review you can expect here in the near future.

152 Media

In October I received this message from 152 Media from Argentina through the contact form on one of my websites.

My name is (removed), Media Buyer at 152 Media. I am contacting you as we have a huge amount of advertisers interested in placing their ads in your sites. We are among the best companies to work with when talking about performance and optimization technology.

We are interested in adding your website to our network and offer you new solutions to increase your results by working on the monetization of your properties in your local and international traffic.

We think that your website is compatible to what we do and we can help you monetize the 100% of your inventory at the best rates. We offer all standard sizes and special and exclusive sizes like sliders and footers that help publishers to get the highest results. We have fast payment methods and we are really respected when talking about service oriented companies.

I would like to get in contact with you or someone from your team for further talking about our premium services.

We will be waiting for your response.

Again, I was very fast with my reply that just contained a few words asking for more information. 6 days later I received this reply:

Thank you very much for the prompt reply. I am so sorry for not having answered you right away.

152 Media is a advertising agency and as such we work with meany different kinds of brands.
We work with rotating tags and we have hundreds of campaigns working for every one of those tags, meaning that every time someone enters the site the add shown will be a different one. That is the reason why I cannot give you an specific list of the brands we work with.

We also offer a full media planning service for brands and the best targeting and optimization tools. That is why the campaigns are displayed depending on how they work in the site for a given period.

If you have any doubt please don’t hesitate to write me back. I’ll be glad to answer all your questions.

Do you have the same feeling I did when reading this? What was the information here? This time I quote from my reply:

thank you for the information.

We get a lot of request from media companies and from what you are writing I have still no reason to give 152Media a try.

We are running sites in English, German and Spanish and I would like to know some benchmark information about possible income for the standard display banners.

I also just added you on skype, so in case I am online, we can have a short chat.

We were finally able to agree on a small test, but the performance was not beating the competition. They might work well on other sites, but I finished my test after 2-3 weeks. What I liked was that they even paid me. Many ad networks don’t bother for small amounts and with so many tests this adds up to quite a sum.

Sonital Digital Media

SDM contacted me in November.

Hi Thomas,

My name is (removed). I work as a Supply Partners Executive for Sonital Digital Media.We are among the biggest trading platforms online and I am currently looking for new successful business opportunities.

I am interested in running some test campaigns with you. We work on our partners traffic with a sophisticated “learn” system in order to deliver higher CPMs and 100% ad fill in UK, USA, FR, BE, CA, AUS and more!

We offer a 70% Rev-share!!

Also, we are promoting our new PPP (Premium Publisher Program) which offers weekly payments for all of our  members. Forget waiting for payments on NET 60 days, now you can have them in a maximum waiting period of 7 days.

Please contact me at your earliest convenience.

Sounds great, right? And they even used my real name instead of a simple “Dear Publisher” or “Hellp”. There is nothing more I needed to hear to become interested so I replied immediatelly.

thank you for contacting me. I am always open to new ad networks and am constantly testing some. I know you must already be tired of hearing this, but since I run a very sophisticated and optimized ad management, I don’t want to waste time with ad networks that don’t perform. So which cpm can you definitely promise me for which sizes and where do you see the potential?

… (some details about my English and Spanish sites)

I know, I could wrap it into some cotton whool… Anyway, they replied:

Thanks for your honesty. I can tell you here in Sonital we try to bring the best results possible for our Partners and therefore we minimize all possible risk for them. Once we see a good revenue for both sides we increase volumes.

Today the best performing Geo’s for our Network are: US, CA, DE, AU, UK, FR and the ecpm you can find for them will be above the 0.10.

The sizes that work best for us are the standard sizes (160×600, 300×250 and 728×90).

We see more potential in (link removed)  because our best Geo’s are English speaking countries

I kindly ended the communication here, because a cpm of 0.10 was not near a performance I would expect from a Premium Publisher Program. However, if you have any experience with them I would like to know.

Meme Global Media Group

Another ad network that contacted me in November.

Hello Thomas,

Nice meeting you. My name is (removed) and I am the head of media buying at Meme Global Media Group.

MGMG is a fast growing online advertising network serving all main digital channels including Display, Mobile, and Video.
Among our past campaigns you can find brands such as Coca-Cola, Redbull, Disney, Toyota Camry, and Jack Daniels, just to name a few.

I am contacting you because I believe your website match a great new opportunity of making high income from your website – the inRead advertising.

Take a look at this example: cstest.adap.tv/mchien/inread.html

With inRead advertising you don’t need to change in the page itself. The ad spot only appears when 50% of the creative is visible, and completely disappears when the ad has finished playing.

Also, the sound is muted by default, and will only play if the user will hover the advertisement.

This is literally making money from the air.

We have many other ways of digital advertising. I am sure we can create a strong collaboration.

I would be happy to hear back from you and start a partnership.

Thanks in advance!

I am not a fan of inline video ads, but after the surprising results of my popup tests open for some new formats. Still tired from all the tests my reply was very short:

interested 🙂 tell mire more about the rates and languages.

(I kept the spelling mistake for authenticity :)) Still, I received an excited answer.

Thanks for your quick reply Thomas 🙂

The rates depends on the type of the ad. For regular display I estimate the rates around $1 CPM.

Video display on a small player (300×250) can rise to $3 CPM.

Big players 640×360 can go even further, to around $5 CPM.

The inRead option that I sent you is the best one in all ways, it disappears after the ad has been finished, and the rates are much much higher. I don’t want to throw numbers to the air before checking the demand, but it can easily go beyond $8 CPM.

Can you tell me a bit about your audience? What are the main geo? And how many estimated page views does your site gets every month?

11 emails and 5 days later I learned they are not yet set up to serve even 100.000 page impressions on short notice, but we got started anyway, I implemented the tags and after a short while they crushed my frontend with a broken ad code. They apologized and I wish them good luck, but wasn’t up for another experiment this year.

How about you? Which ad networks contacted you in 2014 and how are your experiences with them?

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  1. Caitlin

    I tried Bidvertiser after Adsense suspended my account and I was happy with them, they paid me using Paypal, but their CPC is not as high and as soon as Adsense reactivated my account I switched back, just because the rates with Bidvertiser weren’t as high as Adsense otherwise I would have remained with them.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Thank you for suggesting and sharing your experience with Bidvertiser.
      Please forgive me that I removed your affiliate link, but comments are not the right place to share them.

  2. Joseph Seeley

    Interesting to read. I’m in much the same situation, having built up millions of pageviews a month it’s now time to try to massage a couple % more out of them. Tried about 30 ad networks so far, most of which contacted me first.

    SwitchAds is definitely the best ad service I’ve been with from an earnings perspective. Being able to set a floor price and pass on the unfilled inventory is great, but also dangerous. I wouldn’t recommend what they recommend (setting Adsense CPM) because they’d just siphon off the above average traffic at average CPMs. Their reporting could use some work too.

    I’m in the process of trying out display and interstitial ads for Crazy4Media and was looking for info on them. So far the account managers are very helpful and responsive at least. Haven’t seen any statistics yet. (Just implemented yesterday)

    Ad4Game is one that works ok in my niche, but only if you get them to let you run their Adsense ads. Doesn’t quite pay as well as Adsense in my experience, but could be useful for those who don’t want all their Adsense accounts in one basket, can’t get approved for Adsense directly, or can make the 5 ads per page pay off.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Hi Joseph, thank you for sharing your experiences and tips. I think I will test Ad4Game, but I am still able to squeeze some % out of AdSense too.

  3. Nagmar

    excellent stuff here thomas, I really appreciate it.

    your contact page does not seem to be working.

    quick note – I noticed in two places you use “distinct” when you mean to use the word distinguish

    my own site is full of grammar mistakes in my native language 😉

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Hi Nagmar, thank you for your comment. The contact form seems fine, but the grammar mistake was just corrected. Thanks for that.

      1. Nagmar

        hmm. I am still seeing this message “Failed to send your message. Please try later or contact the administrator by another method.” in Chrome and Firefox.

        Back to the article though – The big question I have after an ad network summary article is which one worked best for you after all the testing? Could it beat Adsense? Or is the ad network’s success influenced too much by the sites niche?

        1. Thomas Maier Article Author

          The networks from this list that generated some income on my sites are SwitchAds, Creafi Online Media, 152 Media and Traffiq Exchange, but every network and site is different, so I would not rate them in public. I am going to share details about one of these networks in my next newsletter though.

  4. edsbali

    Interesting article.
    On Sep 18, 2014 I was contacted by SwitchAds. I think it’s just a spam email.
    After reading your article, I finally re-read the email from SwitchAds.
    Looks like I will give a try with SwitchAds.

  5. Ben

    I use popundertotal.com and they sent me 5 payments in 2 weeks. Payment sent in less than 2 hours. Big eCPM and nice support !
    I think they are the best in this business.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      If one likes PopUnders then maybe. I haven’t tested them yet. But to be honest, I don’t believe the 5 payments in 2 weeks.