Top 20 Best Ad Networks And Affiliate Programs For Blogs

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Top 20 Best Ad Networks And Affiliate Programs For Blogs
Top 20 Best Ad Networks And Affiliate Programs For Blogs Graphic © Wealth Power Boost. Background photo – Shutterstock (under license)

If you need a big list of best ad networks and affiliate programs for blogs, together with some detailed field notes and tips – then this is the tutorial for you! 🙂


Note – it was 21 but one got “downgraded” due to a bad experience. All details below!

I’ve divided them into Easy / Medium / Hard for how difficult it is to get accepted into the program.

Some Are Difficult: Many of the best paying ad platforms and affiliate programs have stringent traffic requirements and various other difficult criteria, which immediately puts them out of reach of smaller blogs. If you are starting a brand new blog and building it up from the ground floor, it might take you a long time (maybe a year or more!) to build up your traffic to the point where you can even apply to these ad networks!

They can also be very picky about who they partner with, and can even reject sites that are actually pretty good. Despite my track record, I have had awesome quality blogs flat-out rejected by “difficult” networks – and they won’t always explain why; leaving you in the frustrating position where you wonder what you have to do to get approved.

But Some Are Easy! Now the good news: With a number of ad networks, my blogs have been accepted fast, with few questions asked! There are tons of choices – including options with no traffic volume requirements at all, global traffic accepted and low revenue thresholds before they pay out! 🙂


⭐ Pro Tip: Apply to several ad networks and affiliate programs, not just one. Not only does this give you a greater chance of getting monetized, but gives the opportunity to test different systems and “keep the winners” (the ones that pay best, you won’t truly know until you test. Also, if there is ever a problem with one ad platform, you can switch out the ads to something different, with minimal down time, which is super nice and will save the day, one day.

If you are relatively new to blogging, go for the “easy approval” ad platforms first so that you can get some cash rolling in asap; then as your blog (and hopefully your blog traffic) grows, apply for the more difficult ones – which typically have higher payouts. 🙂

First things first – before applying, do your best to make your site the best it can be: Check out my post 12 Key Factors That Will Help Your Blog Get Approved For Top Paying Ads and run through the checklist, fixing anything up that needs fixing up.

A Quick Note On eCPM / RPM

With ads, your eCPM / RPM (earnings / revenue per thousand visitors, a key metric) can vary hugely from platform to platform. Some ad systems simply pay better than others – but you can also make a huge difference to your eCPMs by optimizing ad layouts and increasing the number of ads on the page.

The more “aggressive” your ad layout (and the higher up the page the ads), the higher your CPMs in general, but this will also be a more intrusive experience for the user. So it’s a “balancing act”. You of course want the most revenue you can get from your traffic, but you also don’t want the user to get annoyed and leave the site. 😉 Some ad networks also have limits on the number of ads you can place on a page for this very reason.

And Now The List…

The Easy:


Infolinks

I love Infolinks. Currently “impression eCPM” (as opposed to “page eCPM”) is averaging around $0.50 to $1.50 – but this is an “add on” ad system that you can use alongside other stuff and give yourself some pocket money with little effort. They have various types of ad unit available – from simple text links through to in-content blocks and “sticky footers”, which they personally call “in fold”. A few dollars per day adds up to a few thousand over time and the income is very passive / easy. The user interface / UX is really well thought out and simple to use. Setup also is super easy – you just have to add one code at the foot of your page, before the </body> tag, then upload the ads.txt file – and you are off to the races! Infolinks also has a referral scheme which pays 10% for the first 12 months of a publisher’s signup through your referral link. I would say absolutely definitely apply for this one.

If you get approved, definitely try the “in fold” / sticky footer ad. In fact it’s a well-known stronger performing ad placement across the industry.

UPDATE – I’ve started getting really great eCPM here lately on a couple of my sites. WAY higher than before (over $10 eCPM)! Definitely tweak the ad settings and try out the different types of ad unit they offer. For an insightful test, you will need to run a test of each type of unit and wait a day for the results to come in. You can then copy those settings across your other sites. I have also found that different sites perform wildly differently, with some only getting pennies and others making comparable and even better eCPM now than Adsense – even with banner ads from other networks already on the site! Test test test!

Media.net

I kept getting emails from these guys, finally I decided to just give it a whirl. Getting a couple of sites approved was super easy. They did not even ask me what the traffic was! Very inconsistent RPMs on a day to day basis and to be honest, not very good – especially seeing as their ads were huge on the page! CPMs are currently between $0.20 and $1.56 per day – a huge range. A bit slow on the support – couple of days response time often – but they were knowledgeable and “we got there”. They have a referral program that pays 10% of revenue for the first year of publishers that you refer. (I joined it. Sign up through my referral link and get a further 10% bonus on your ad revenue for your first 3 months!)

Lockerdome

They approved all my sites with no questions asked and no problems. However I have to be truthful – I sensed something strange going on here. I noticed a sudden earnings drop, which I inquired about and they said they had given the CPMs a manual adjustment. I’ve earned some decent money with them overall, but this didn’t sit very well with me in all honesty.

Clickbank (Affiliate Program)

The best of the best. I have earned over $400,000 with Clickbank since the beginning. I haven’t applied recently as I still use the same accounts for years – but never had any difficulty. Commissions are super high – often 75% of the final cart value! You can create banners, links and content that promotes any one of a wide range of products. Some of which have exceptional payouts. I’ve had numerous instances where one checkout generated hundreds of dollars. Best single commission ever was I think $450.

With ad networks, you typically cannot negotiate a higher payout – however with affiliate schemes, there is sometimes room for negotiation. Some Clickbank products may offer a “pay bump” in order to incentivize you. You may even be offered this in return for joining their affiliate email list – however the really good stuff happens when you can drive serious traffic to an offer. Then, you are their best friend all of a sudden – and some affiliate programs treat their “rock star affiliates” really well – with bonuses and even cash prizes for the affiliate who generates the most sales. 🙂

For beginners – focus on the offers that have the highest “gravity” (you can “search by gravity” in their platform). These are the offers that have generated revenue for the highest number of affiliates – translation: their sales funnel is super-well optimized to convert visitors to buyers. In other words, if you throw traffic at the offer, it has probably the best chance of making sales. Your job then is essentially to “get the click” (without doing anything scammy/spammy of course!). Send a decent volume of traffic to these offers and you will very probably start seeing commissions roll in.

Amazon Associates (Affiliate Program)

Getting accepted should be easy. Commissions are on the low end, I think it’s around 3.5% now. On the plus side – half the world uses Amazon and so getting clicks is super easy. Plus, they have a “24 hour cookie” which means that anything the person buys on Amazon within 24 hours, you get commission for – which is dope. Just drive the traffic to Amazon via your affiliate links – and let their machine do the rest. You also have the opportunity to build entire product-oriented websites around Amazon products – for example product review sites, comparison shopping, Top 10 lists and so on. Super reliable as you would expect.

(Amazon also has an ad publisher platform – Amazon Publisher Services – but that requires 5000 unique visitors per day.)

PropellerAds

Ad network with lots of ad options, got accepted for all my sites with no problems at all. CPMs were consistent on a day-to-day basis and between $0.10 and $3.00 approx, depending on how aggressive you are with ads (to get the higher end you would probably need to use some of the pop-up type ads that users don’t like so much). Low minimum payout threshold. Propeller Ads also has a 5% commission referral scheme.

eBay Partner Network (Affiliate Program)

Easy approvals but this is an affiliate scheme – not plug and play ads – so you will need to match ads to your site’s content and promote specific products. I got approved easily, recently and haven’t started running campaigns yet – but I don’t anticipate any problems. Overall I love eBay and think they are a great company.

Appnexus

No minimum traffic requirement. This platform is one of the bigger players, seems to get great reviews, has real support. Haven’t tried it yet but get good vibes off this one.

Adpushup

No minimum traffic requirement, Net45 payouts, dedicated account manager.

Adsterra

Sorry but after my initial excitement about this one, I have to leave a negative review because my experience here was absolutely unacceptable. “On the surface” everything looked attractive: No minimum traffic volume requirement (but your traffic quality should be legitimate); multiple payout options including Paypal and Bitcoin; Net15 payout (payment twice per month – love that). Signup was a breeze and my sites got approved in minutes (literally) with no obstacles or hassles. Too good to be true?
I placed their banner ads on several of my sites and started getting quite a good eCPM right away. But then things went very sideways. Within a day I had an inbox full of complaints from angry website visitors, all saying the same thing – that they were getting bombarded with “scammy” popups & interstitials (the typical stuff you see – “your computer has a virus”, “emergency update”, “VPN update” from some pseudolegitimate domain, and so on):


Horrible. You do not want this. All bad. (user ids redacted for privacy)

How strange: I certainly did not request interstitials / popups, I only requested banner ads. I complained to Adsterra, who then proceeded to tell me what I can only conclude was a “story” about how their platform had been hacked and that some advertisers had found a way to place malicious code. While this may have been true – I did not believe this story for one moment: When running a banner as an advertiser, you don’t access the code, you only upload the image and the URL the ad should link to – right? Adsterra assured me that my visitors would not see those popups again… however the next day, my eCPM had crashed to a few cents instead of a few dollars, which is where it remained. Funny that! Needless to say I pulled their ads and requested a final payout. There was some resistance due to the fact that I had not hit the minimum payout threshhold – at which point I basically went thermonuclear. And when I go thermonuclear, things happen. I mean, what do they expect? My reputation with my audience was wrecked! I got the payout. That’s my side of the story. I have no idea what actually happened on their side of things but the whole experience was a mini-nightmare, a total waste of time and I can’t recommend at all.

Adcash

Long running ad network. Easy approvals and lifetime 5% referral program, accepts worldwide traffic and has live reporting.

Digistore24 (Affiliate Program)

– an affiliate network similar to Clickbank, with a wide variety of products you can promote and earn commission.

Bidvertiser

– Bidvertiser has a payment threshold of $10, fast approvals and accepts traffic from all geographical regions.

The Medium Difficulty:

Newor Media

Great support – lightning fast and good, genuine vibes. They have a traffic requirement of 30,000 visitors per month which is somewhat high, but they approved the site I applied with in a flash! We were up and running and generating revenue within about 24 hours, which is lightning fast. Impression eCPMs are currently floating somewhere between $1 and $2.50, which puts the “page eCPM” around $8-$9. Pretty nice. Net30 payout.

UPDATE: Newor now requires an Adsense account in good standing as they are now in partnership with Google MCM. I received the following note: “MCM is a new initiative from Google that allows us to connect directly with publishers through their own Google Ad Manager accounts. It is mandatory for all publishers to have their own Google Ad Manager (GAM) account and switch to MCM as soon as possible.”

Google AdSense

I’ve made 7 figures with AdSense (yes, really) and have huge experience with it, so here is a very detailed review. I would say definitely apply for AdSense, but make sure your blog / website is really on point first.

AdSense has no traffic volume requirement which is pretty sweet – however all sites will be subjected to a manual review, together with whatever diagnostic / analysis tools they use, which of course are unknown to the public. I am fairly confident that they test for unique, original content and for “proper” articles that add value. 200 word “snippet” articles? Probably won’t be accepted. Their site reviews are getting much more strict these days and they seem to be rejecting a lot of sites at the moment.

AdSense has “decent” but not spectacular RPMs (revenue per thousand visitors) and I would say that $2 to $4 “page RPM” (earnings per page per 1000 visitors) is probably a reasonable expectation. My top site is currently getting around $6 page RPM, my weakest around $1. If your site gets less than $2 total per 1k visitors, look at your ad positions, possibly add more ads and do some research into “optimum ad placements” (lots of tutorials out there) to see if you can improve these. I’ve found that their ‘resizable’ ads, with one placed in-content, fairly near the top of your article, is a top performer.

⭐ Pro Tip: Different topics also have different RPMs – and niches related to business, investment, tech, medical and high-ticket consumer goods are some of the best because advertiser spend is higher in those arenas. Some niches are simply bigger earners than others! If you are thinking of starting a new blog and want to maximize your earning potential, check out my list of Top 26 Profitable Blog Niches.

The first step in getting approved for AdSense is of course is applying for the overall AdSense account, which is not difficult. Then you have to add your site(s) – individually. They will give you a header code and ad codes to add to your pages (plus ads.txt to upload), and then you just have to wait (very variable but often from 2 to 10 days). You may not get an email notification; you have to check back to your AdSense to see whether your site was accepted or rejected. This is annoying and wastes time.

If your site is rejected, reasons are copy-paste and pretty vague and often baffling – they have a bazillion sites to review – but try to figure it out, make improvements as best you can and then re-apply. Don’t just re-apply without fixing anything. You can keep re-applying but if you re-apply too many times, they will give you a ‘time out’ where you can’t re-apply until a future date, which may be 2 months down the track.

AdSense also has horrible support. Literally the worst. Criticizing them makes me nervous but I owe my readers the truth. You can’t even talk to a human being until you reach a certain income bar, and you won’t get an actual account rep until you are earning mid to high 5 figures per month – at which point they will start being very nice to you; until your income goes back down again and then oop! You are no longer worth talking to, peon.

It’s understandable in one sense, because they have zillions of people to deal with – but it feels… elitist… Nobody likes to feel as though they are an insignificant little worm on a sliding scale of human irrelevance; and they sure made me feel that way, despite the huge amount of money I have made them in the past! And they ain’t broke: They could actually afford to talk to people if they chose to.

On the plus side – you can apply for as many websites as you want, which is nice. Net30 payout is good too.

If your site gets rejected, go through my list of 12 Key Factors That Will Help Your Blog Get Approved For Top Paying Ads, improve the site as best you can and re-apply.

Ezoic

Ezoic has a traffic requirement of I think 10,000 visitors per month, so they are easier than some of the above, and the payouts are reportedly better than Adsense, and not far below AdThrive and Mediavine. Good, fast support. A little more technical to implement than some of the others. The account rep will do a duplicate content check using an app to detect whether your content is original. And on the plus side, they are friendly and will talk to you personally. I got approved fast and without difficulty. Once again – I am pretty sure you need a working Adsense account to get this one cracking.

The Difficult:

(but widely agreed to have some of the best payouts of all)

AdThrive

Super high traffic requirement – 100,000 page views per month. For a new or small blog, this is an Olympian challenge, but it can be done if you create the kind of content that pulls traffic in droves from social media and if you build a strong following on sites that send higher traffic – typically Facebook and Pinterest. For SEO traffic, 100,000 pageviews per month is pretty darn difficult, but for social media traffic I would rate it as relatively a lot easier. Still, you are going to need several hundred strong, high value, long form articles (not cheap outsourced crap) with the kind of headlines that get clicks, a strong social media presence, great social media friendly graphics and a solid content promotion strategy. These are all fine goals to aim for – but all of this takes much time and effort – and not all blogs ever reach this kind of traffic volume!

They payoff is worth it though. Some people are reporting incredible eCPMs – I have heard claims of $20+ eCPM, maybe even $30+ which is absolutely incredible for a blog. Also, when you get into this league, you have a business that can potentially be flipped for 40x monthly profit (or more) on Empire Flippers or Flippa.

You also have to have not had any previous infringements with other ad providers. TLDR: If you’ve been banned from Adsense, then forget it. Can you see once again that Google has monopolized the internet? This ought to bother you. Monopolies are bad!

On the plus side, I found their support to be technically very knowledgeable and responsive.

On the minus side – even if you have the traffic, you are not guaranteed to get in. I applied to them with my top site, which comfortably fulfilled the traffic requirements (about 200k pageviews/mo) – and was rejected. The worst part? I honestly had no clue why.

I tried to learn the reason for the rejection but they were tight lipped about why – which really doesn’t help. I don’t understand the need for secrecy here. If they would just say “your site failed on these points ______” then bloggers would know what they have to do. Imagine if you took your car to a diagnostic center and they said, “This car has failed to reach the required criteria and you can’t drive it” and you said “Ok, what did it fail on?” and they said “Not telling you, bye.” Yep, that’s exactly how absurd this situation is… my only guess on why I was refused was possible duplicate content issues. This is ironic, because all my content is original – yet because of my massive social media success with that blog, my content was stolen literally thousands of times. There’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. There are countless copies on .ru and .cz sites and trying to get your stolen content removed from those sites? Good luck with that! What a situation…

Mediavine

Known to be another of the best paying ad platforms. Their traffic requirement is 30,000 unique visitors per month (not pageviews), with “top tier” countries strongly represented – and this needs to be validated with an actual downloaded up-to-date report from your last 30 days Google Analytics (they won’t accept any other form of Analytics, which sucks if you prefer an alternative!) They are also super picky about site and content quality, requiring long form content. Furthermore, they have a requirement that you remove all other ad programs when you are running theirs! That’s a lot of requirements, captain. Good luck.

My best quality site was rejected by them, despite having traffic way above their bar (over 3x) – and I am an academic scholar and researcher with over 20 years writing experience! It took them over 2 weeks to reject my site (on top of the 30 days after I re-installed Google Analytics to collect the data they needed) which is horribly slow – the worst – and they refused to explain why the site was rejected. How does that help people improve their blog? It doesn’t at all.

Gotta be honest also, they gave me quite a snooty vibe which didn’t give me a very good feeling. And it’s frustrating to see that they have accepted other blogs that my content quality completely blows out of the water by a country mile. I would definitely apply though because I know how well they pay and their payouts are worth the effort…

eCPMS also are reported to be on the high end; maybe $10 to $20 according to some reviews. I know someone personally who is getting $20 eCPM and anticipating it will go higher. Which is freakin’ awesome in the 2020s. If I got $20 eCPM I would dance around the room, literally!

If you have the traffic volume, definitely apply, but I have to say, I don’t like being locked into using Google Analytics. I don’t like monopolies, don’t like being required to remove all other ads (why?) and – just as with AdThrive, I had the feeling that it was a bit of a “club” where they think they are the bees knees… and where mavericks like me just don’t fit in…

RevContent

50,000 visits per month minimum and strict requirements, however eCPMs are reported to be high with good revenue on global traffic. Net30 payout.

Taboola

These currently have a minimum traffic requirement of 500,000 Pageviews per month!

DoubleClick

Now you are in the premier league. Swimming with the big fishies. This is a Google platform. AdSense for heavy hitters. For publishers, 30 million monthly impressions required. That’s a million per day! There are very few bloggers who get this kind of traffic but I included this one for interest’s sake just to highlight the ‘other end of the spectrum’. They probably laugh at bloggers.

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