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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Best Ad Networks (2014 Update): Display Advertising & More | MonetizePros

Best Ad Networks (2014 Update): Display Advertising & More | MonetizePros

Best Ad Networks (2014 Update): Display Advertising & More

This article was last updated on February 4, 2014.
If you’re looking to monetize your Web traffic through advertising, there are a number of different opportunities out there. If selling direct to advertisers is neither practical nor possible at present, utilizing an ad network to fill your inventory is likely the most effective alternative.
The hard part, of course, is knowing which ad network will be the best fit for monetizing your site, app, or other Web-based asset; for most publishers, there are dozens of networks that would love to have your business. We’re here to help: we’ve categorized and reviewed the top ad networks operating in 2014.  (By the way, MonetizePros members enjoy access to the entire database of in-depth ad network reviews, plus other monetization toolsinsider reviews, and in-depth e-booksclick here to sign up.)
Please note: we will neither list, nor favorably review, an advertising network on this page in exchange for any form of compensation, so please do not ask. If you’d like us to review or test your advertising network, you may contact us. Click here to read our Editorial Policy.

Table of Contents (Click to Jump to Section)

The King of Display: Google AdSense

AdSense-FinalGoogle’s AdSense is one of the largest and perhaps the best known display advertising network. This platform allows publishers to monetize standard display ads, mobile and video, and search results as well.
It’s free to sign up for AdSense and the program will accept the smallest of publishers provided they meet certain quality guidelines. AdSense also integrates smoothly into other Google products (such as DFP) and generally pays publishers monthly for revenue generated the previous month.
Google AdSense 300x250 ad unit
Example of Google AdSense 300×250 ad unit
Google AdSense at a Glance

Display Advertising Alternatives to Google AdSense

While AdSense is the most popular choice of display monetization among Web publishers, there are several viable alternatives for those seeking to either compliment existing AdSense units or replace AdSense entirely. The following are the best Google AdSense alternatives, listed in alphabetical order.


Adblade-FinalThis network of premium publishers currently consists of about 1,000 high profile publishers. AdBlade offers its publishers an opportunity to fill IAB standard ad units (such as the 300×250 rectangle or 728×90 leaderboard) as well as a proprietary “NewsBullet” unit designed to increase engagement and CPMs.
For smaller publishers, AdBlade won’t be much use. This network accepts only ultra-premium (i.e., really large) publishers; Fox News, Daily News, and the McClatchy properties are among those that make the cut.
AdBlade NewsBullets unit
Example of AdBlade NewsBullets unit
AdBlade at a Glance
  • Publisher Traffic Requirement:500,000 monthly pageviews
  • Ad Types: Display
  • Offer Types: CPC, CPM
  • Payment Methods: Check, PayPal
  • Payment Threshold: $100
  • Payment Terms: Net-30
  • More Info: Read MonetizePros’ in-depth review of Adblade.

Advertising-FinalThis network, a unit of AOL, is one of the largest out there with nearly 2 billion impressions monetized daily. offers opportunities for publishers to monetize display ads, video, mobile, and some custom implementations as well.
This network now offers Display University, an online educational resource for publishers and advertisers looking to learn more about display ads, the process of building a campaign, and executing on creative. 300x250 ad unit
Example of 300×250 ad unit at a Glance


Chitika-FinalChitika boasts a network of more than 300,000 publishers, making it one of the largest networks in the world based on that metric. Chitika ads can be used on their own, or alongside ads from other networks (such as AdSense).
Chitika is also open to just about anyone, and the process for getting approval and ad implementation is generally very fast. Chitika has been a popular alternative for advertisers unable to use or frustrated with AdSense, with great results in certain niches and less impressive earnings capabilities in others.
Chitika Inline Text Link ad unit
Example of Chitika Inline Text Link ad unit
Chitika at a Glance


Clicksor-FinalUpdate February 3, 2014: We are removing Clicksor from our list of the best ad networks of 2014. After testing them on, we discovered that several malware ads were being served. Our advice: stay away from Clicksor. Read more about the troubles that we encountered on our forum post.


InfolinksFounded only two years ago (2011), Infolinks has experienced a quick growth to become one of the top players in in-text advertising. Signup is quick and approval is granted to usually granted to even the smaller Web publishers and bloggers.
Infolinks offers a number of ways to deliver their ad units: inText double underlines valuable keywords, and when a user hovers over one of them, a relevant ad will appear; inFrame monetizes the unused screen margins on either side of a site’s design with contextual banner ads; inSearch only monetizes search traffic, without disturbing a site’s regular visitors; and inTag places a link unit within a webpage’s content with valuable contextual keywords.
Infolinks inText ad unit
Example of Infolinks inText ad unit
Infolinks at a Glance
  • Publisher Traffic Requirement:None
  • Ad Types: Display, Inline Text
  • Offer Types: CPC
  • Payment Methods: ACH Transfer, eCheck, Payoneer, Paypal, Western Union
  • Payment Threshold: $50
  • Payment Terms: Net-45
  • More Info: Read MonetizePros’ in-depth review of Infolinks.

Media.netThis platform can be used by publishers to serve contextual ads from the Yahoo! Bing Network, which offers up a large pool of national and local advertisers.
The platform allows advertisers to pick from about 15 different ad sizes (including a few non-standard ones) and customize each placement. There’s also an option to build ads from scratch, allowing more advanced users to come up with an implementation that works best with their site layout. 300x250 ad unit
Example of 300×250 ad unit at a Glance


PulsePointMore than 1 billion real-time ad transactions are processed each day through PulsePoint, which is the result of a merger between ContextWeb and Datran Media. PulsePoint is a bit unique; it’s an ad exchange that allows publishers to set an “ask price” for their inventory. That allows publishers to effectively set a minimum CPM they’re willing to accept; if PulsePoint is able to find buyers for the inventory at that level, publishers will receive 100% of their desired revenue level.
PulsePoint also offers a multi-channel marketing solution designed to help publishers expose new users to their content.
PulsePoint 300x250 ad unit
Example of PulsePoint 300×250 ad unit
PulsePoint at a Glance

Tribal Fusion

Tribal FusionThis platform has the ability to reach more than 430 million people worldwide each month, which represents a substantial portion of the overall Internet audience. Qualified publishers are able to run in-text advertising, lead generation portals, and other monetization opportunities through Tribal Fusion.
Tribal Fusion accepts only publishers that have at least 500,000 unique users per month, so this network won’t be all that useful for smaller sites.
Tribal Fusion Firefly Video ad unit
Example of Tribal Fusion Firefly Video ad unit
Tribal Fusion at a Glance

Vibrant Media

Vibrant MediaVibrant Media is best known for their text ads that allow publishers to create incremental monetization opportunities within content. (Here’s an example of their technology.) In addition to the in-text advertising opportunities, Vibrant also offers traditional display advertising opportunities for publishers now.
Vibrant’s roster of display advertising clients and partners is much smaller than many of the other networks on this list, but nevertheless offers publishers another option for display ad monetization.
Vibrant Media In-Text ad unit
Example of Vibrant Media Inline Text ad unit
Vibrant Media at a Glance

Affiliate Marketing Advertising Networks

Amazon Associates

Amazon AssociatesAmazon Associates is the affiliate marketing program offered by the world’s largest online retailer. Web publishers who sign up for the program (no minimum traffic requirement) can display on their sites custom banner ads and text links that point to Amazon category or product pages. The publisher then receives a commission from each click through that results in a sale.
Amazon has one of the largest affiliate networks on the Internet, boasting 1.6 million sellers and countless products. While their commission rate is on the low side (starting at 4%), publishers get a cut of everything that a shopper buys during the first purchase.
Example of Amazon Associates product implementation
Example of Amazon Associates product implementation on affiliate site
Amazon Associates at a Glance

Commission Junction

Commission JunctionCommission Junction is one of the oldest and largest affiliate networks, operating in dozens of verticals from education to matchmaking to Web hosting and much more. There are currently over 3,000 active advertisers on the network. And with no traffic minimum, CJ is accessible by even the smallest blogger or Web publishers.
The CPA dollar amounts and commission rates at CJ are set by each individual seller, each of which has its own terms that publishers need to adhere to.
Commission Junction affiliate link offers
Example of Commission Junction affiliate link offers
Commission Junction at a Glance

Rakuten LinkShare

Rakuten LinkShareRakuten LinkShare is another long-established affiliate network, very similar to Commission Junction, but less than half the size in terms of number of advertisers. Still, they are a worthwhile affiliate network to have a publisher account with, as they do have some high quality advertisers who do not advertise through CJ. If payment threshold is a concern, they have a very low minimum of $1, compared to CJ’s $50 minimum.
Like CJ, the CPA dollar amounts and commission rates at LinkShare are set by each individual seller, each of which has its own terms that publishers need to adhere to.
Example of Linkshare affiliate link and skyscraper ad for jewelry company
Example of Linkshare affiliate link and skyscraper ad for jewelry company
Rakuten LinkShare at a Glance

Email Advertising Networks


LiveIntentLiveIntent is one of the largest providers of email monetization, though they’ve only been in existence since 2009. Their service integrates seamlessly with almost any email service provider, including SilverPop and MailChimp, to deliver display ads within the body of emails to publishers’ subscribers. Note that LiveIntent requires a minimum of 3 million monthly impressions, so they are not suitable for publishers with smaller lists.
LiveIntent is trusted by some of the largest publishers on the Web today, including The Weather Channel, Conde Nast, and The Wall Street Journal. Fill rates with LiveIntent are very high, often nearing 100%.
LiveIntent at a Glance
  • Publisher Traffic Requirement: 3 million monthly email open impressions
  • Ad Types: Email Display
  • Offer Types: CPM
  • Payment Methods: Unknown
  • Payment Threshold: Unknown
  • Payment Terms: Unknown
  • More Info: Read MonetizePros’ in-depth review of LiveIntent.
With, publishers can list their email newsletters in the directory and then get offered proposals by different advertisers. The CPC ads at are offered as image- or text-based 468×60 banners that easily integrate with MailChimp and a variety of other email service providers. also allows advertisers and publishers to meet and then work out a deal outside of their purview. There are opportunities then for CPM, per diem, flat-rate advertising, or other options. at a Glance

Mobile Advertising Networks


AdMobAdMob is a mobile application monetization network acquired by Google in 2010. Mobile app developers can log in to AdMob and create text or image ads for display in their mobile application in much the same way a Web publisher would create a new ad unit for a website or blog. Color combinations, size, and other such options are all customizable.
Once the ad unit has been created, the developer is provided with an SDK file that can be incorporated into the app. The ad units will work on Android, iOS, and Windows.
Example of AdMob ad unit on iPhone
Example of AdMob ad unit on iPhone
AdMob at a Glance
  • Publisher Traffic Requirement:None
  • Ad Types: Mobile App Monetization
  • Offer Types: CPC, CPM
  • Payment Methods: ACH, PayPal, Wire Transfer
  • Payment Threshold: $20
  • Payment Terms: Net-30
  • More Info: Read MonetizePros’ in-depth review of AdMob.


AirpushAirpush offers CPA, CPC, and CPM ads for mobile applications on Android, iOS, or Windows. In addition to traditional display advertising, Airpush offers more disruptive advertising in the form of push notifications ads that display in the notification tray on Android and icon ads that display as icons on the user’s home screen.
Airpush also offers rich media and video ad units that monetize very well.
Example of Airpush push notification ad unit (left) and rich media unit (right)
Example of Airpush push notification ad unit (left) and rich media unit (right)
Airpush at a Glance
  • Publisher Traffic Requirement:None
  • Ad Types: Mobile App Monetization
  • Offer Types: CPA, CPC, CPM
  • Payment Methods: ACH, PayPal, Wire Transfer
  • Payment Threshold: $50
  • Payment Terms: Weekly schedule
  • More Info: Read MonetizePros’ in-depth review of Airpush.

Bottom Line

When it comes to display advertising networks, publishers have a number of options from which to choose. If you came hoping to figure out which will most efficiently monetize your traffic, that is unfortunately an answer we can’t provide. Because each website is so unique and each network has its strengths and weaknesses, the winning combination will be different for every publisher.
Most likely, the highest earnings will be generated through some combination of the above networks; try experimenting with different combinations and implementations, and carefully track the impact of each on your bottom line.

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