Before I get into this Media.net review, I want to be completely transparent about something:
This all started because I was contacted by someone from Media.net that asked me to join their ambassador program. This program is basically an affiliate program for Media.net meaning that if someone used my link to sign up for the ads platform, I'd earn some extra money for referring them and they'd earn a bonus 10% earnings for 3 months.
The program looked great as it's really a win-win for both parties, but I wanted to test out the ads on my own site before recommending them to others.
Fortunately, the opportunity came at a great time. I had recently written in my 2019 Q1 blog income report that I was planning to test out ads on my blog, and here was the chance to do that.
So, I reached back out to Media.net, told them I wanted to test out their ads and write a Media.net review, and they liked the idea. So, here we go…
Media.net is a legitimate ad network that's easy to get started with, but compared to other display advertising options, it just doesn't keep up when it comes to revenue. You'll most likely get better RPMs elsewhere.
How Media.net Works
After applying and being approved for Media.net, I received several setup emails. I’ve got to say, it was a bit overwhelming at first for someone who's never set up ads before.
Still, every new thing has a bit of a learning curve so I pushed on…
After setting up my password, I logged into my dashboard, entered some info, and then I was ready to get started. So far so good.
After entering the dashboard, I had 3 options:
- Create an ad unit
- Payout settings
- Add a website
Pretty standard. Here's my thoughts as I went through those 3 sections…
Media.net Payout Information
Yep, the payment info is the first thing I decided to set up. Mind on the money baby.
As I was setting up my payment options I noticed the only option for me in Canada was Payoneer. Would have been nice to see some other options like PayPal and Direct Deposit, but oh well. Linking my Payoneer account was nice and easy so I can’t complain.
Note: After looking into it, it looks like Media.net used to offer PayPal as a payment option but alas, that is no longer. If you're in the US though you can apply for wire transfers.
Minimum payout: You need to earn at least $100 before receiving payment from Media.net. Once you reach the threshold, payments happen at the end of the month.
P.S. If you don't have a Payoneer account yet, you can sign up here for a $25 bonus.
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Adding a Website
My website (the one you're on right now) was already added and approved on my dashboard so I didn't have to do anything here.
However, one of the cool things about Media.net is that if you run multiple websites, you can add them to your account and manage them all through one dashboard.
Creating an Ad Unit on Media.net
Ok, this is the big leagues now. This is where the money is made. This is where boys become men.
…Maybe that's a bit dramatic though because creating an ad unit on Media.net was surprisingly easy.
The only thing that was overwhelming about the process was the number of customization options available. You can customize the color, look, and size of your ad units so that they match the theme of your site.
All in all, it took me about 5 minutes to create my first ad unit (as a complete noob), here’s how it turned out:
As you can see I went with a pretty simple design and customized the color to fit my site. Nothin' fancy.
Inserting Ad Units Into Your Blog
Before applying to Media.net I was testing the waters a bit with custom ads from affiliates I use. In order to insert them into my blog posts automatically, I used a plugin called Ad Inserter.
Having experience with that plugin definitely helped because it's the exact same plugin I used to put the Media.net ads into my blog posts. The plugin is SUPER easy to use.
I just I took the code Media.net gave me for the ad unit, plugged it into an Ad Inserter block, added some settings and the ads were live. Super easy.
Here’s how the block for my first ad unit is set up in the Ad Inserter plugin:
This may look super complicated at first glance but once you try out the plugin and mess around with it a bit, it's all pretty simple. With some trial and error, you'll figure out which settings work best for your ad placements.
Note: I did have some trouble with mobile ads on my site so I reached out to my account manager and he got it fixed for me. Don't hesitate to talk to your account manager, they can definitely help out.
In the end…
I ended up setting up 3 different ad blocks on my blog in order to maximize the ad impressions (3 ad blocks is the max Media.net allows you to have on each page).
More impressions (people seeing the ads) = more revenue potential. However, don't feel forced to put 3 ad blocks on your page. One well-placed ad can still perform extremely well.
Here's how I had the ads set up on my site:
I put two ad blocks within the content area of each post, and then one ad on the sidebar. Here's sort of how it looks on my site:
As you can see I've circled two of the ad blocks that show up on my blog posts. You may also notice that they look different than the ad unit I set up above, which leads us into the next point…
How Media.net Ads Work
Media.net ads are mobile, tablet, and desktop friendly, and they come in all formats: text, image, and video.
One of the nicest things about Media.net ads is that they optimize themselves based on your on-page content. For example, if you write about soccer, you'll get ads related to soccer on your page.
This is great because it means the ads will be more relevant to your site which equals more clicks and higher earnings. It also looks a lot less spammy.
Another awesome thing about Media.net ads is that you can run them alongside other ads (e.g. Google Adsense).
Here's the most IMPORTANT thing to know:
Media.net ads take around 30 days to optimize for your site. That means your earnings will most likely be lower than usual for the first 30 days while the system optimizes for your site content.
Some Media.net ads use something called a two-click Display-to-Search model.
Here’s how that works:
- User clicks on an ad on your site
- User is brought to another page (sort of like a landing page) with more ads from different advertisers
By doing this, Media.net says the ads receive more engagement and better search intent which means higher payments from advertisers. Not every ad from Media.net uses this model though so I'm really not sure how effective it is.
Media.net Ads Are Dynamic
One thing I noticed quickly after installing the ads on my site was that they didn't look the same as how I designed them. This freaked me out and I don't want you to freak out if it happens to you.
Basically, Media.net constantly tests different designs for your ads in order to maximize your earnings. When the algorithm finds an ad that performs well, it keeps it.
This is kind of a bummer because the dynamic ads may not fit your theme, but hey, more earnings isn't a bad thing.
Still, if you REALLY don't like this, you can contact your account manager and get a custom design made.
If you notice an ad on your site that you don't like, you can block the advertiser from your Media.net dashboard/console. Note that it usually takes 24-48 hours for this change to kick in.
This is what everyone came for. How much do Media.net ads pay? How much can you earn with Media.net?
Those are the important questions and I'll tell you my RPM, but first, what even is RPM?
RPM = Revenue per 1,000 impressions. Each time one of your ads is viewed, that counts as an impression. If you earn $100 after 40,000 impressions, your RPM is $2.5.
Here's my RPM from Media.net:
On average, over the past week, I've had an RPM of $1.25. Yep. Pretty low. I did have one day when it hit $3.43 but that was on the 4th of July so that's probably why.
When it comes down to it:
I really think the RPM on any ad network depends on the niche of your blog. I write about personal finance and maybe Media.net ads just aren't great for that niche. Or hey, maybe my site just sucks and you'll have more success than me.
Another thing that could be affecting my RPM is my ad placements. I think they're pretty good, but who knows?
As I test more ad networks in the future we'll see how Media.net stacks up. Stay tuned for that.
If you want to apply to have Media.net ads on your site (or you want to add another site to your account), you'll need to meet these requirements:
- The majority of your site traffic must come from the US, UK, and Canada
- Content must be primarily written in English
- You must have a reasonable amount of visitors coming to your site (they don’t give a solid number but I got in with 20k users/month)
- Your site can not contain excessive advertising
If you’re not sure whether you meet the criteria and you want to be sure, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media.net Pros and Cons
What I Like About Media.net
- Good user experience – I really like how Media.net ads aren't super intrusive. I get to decide where they go, and they aren’t slowing down my site much as far as I’ve noticed.
- Ads adjust based on post content – If you write a post about skateboarding, the Media.net ads will automatically adjust to be relevant to that post. This increases clicks and looks more natural.
- Mobile optimized ads – The Media.net ads look great on mobile which is essential as that's where over 50% of my traffic comes from.
- Customizable ads – Being able to design how the ads look on your site means you can make them fit your theme so they don't stick out like a sore thumb.
- Easy setup – This is the first time I’ve put ads on my site and it took me only about half an hour to get fully set up.
- Dedicated account manager – I don’t talk to my account manager much now, but when I was getting set up he helped me out. It’s nice knowing I have someone I can reach out to for help when I need it.
- Can be used with other ad networks – If you want to combine your Media.net ads with Google Adsense or another ad network you’re free to do so (as long as the other ad network allows it as well).
- Can manage multiple sites in one account – If you have 3 sites and you want to run ads on all of them, you can manage them all in one Media.net account.
What I Don't Like About Media.net
- Low RPM – After about a month I was told the Media.net ads would start optimizing for my traffic. I expected AT LEAST $5 RPM and I’m really getting around $1.25. However, I haven’t tested out other ads on my site yet so maybe I’m the problem. (After looking into other peoples experiences, it seems people have similar problems as me with low RPM)
- Delayed results – It takes 24 hours for revenue reports to update on your dashboard. Not a big deal but still a downside. You can still see live impressions, just not live RPM.
Is Media.net Legit?
Media.net is definitely a legitimate ad network and although it's the first network I've used, I'd say it's one of the best Google Adsense alternatives, and one of the best ad networks for bloggers in general.
I personally love how the ads adjust to my post content and theme of my site, they don't affect the user experience too much, and they don't slow down my site either.
Plus, the fact that you can combine Media.net ads with other ad networks makes it even better. If you combined your Media.net ads with Google Adsense you'd probably be able to achieve a pretty high ad earnings.
The only real problem I have with Media.net is the RPM, but there could be a lot of things factoring into that. I still recommend you try it on your blog to see how it works for you.
Earn an Extra 10% From Your Ads for 3 Months
Since Media.net ads are so easy to set up (and remove), it's worth it to test them out on your blog if you want an additional revenue stream.
If you're planning on testing them out, don't miss out on this opportunity (I wish I knew about this when I first signed up):