EZOIC ads went live this week on TrailsNH. This post covers a bit of the signup process and how the first week went.
What is EZOIC? EZOIC is an advertising network commonly referred to as an alternative to Google AdSense. I have tried and dumped AdSense twice in the last 10 years because 1) the ad quality was bad (I will explain in a followup post) and 2) it did not generate enough revenue to outweigh it downfalls.
Alternatives to Google AdSense
There are a few alternate advertising network to AdSence. My goal for looking at alternatives is in search of better ad quality.
- EZOIC use to require 10K monthly pageviews, but that has been remove. Now there is no minimum traffic requirement to use their monetization (ads) features.
- Mediavine requires 50K monthly user sessions. I don’t qualify at this time but should in a few months.
- AdThrive requires over 100,000 pageviews each month. I don’t qualify yet, but should will next year.
TrailsNH Traffic Before Signup
TrailsNH has about 72K monthly pageviews and 48K monthly sessions. Almost all of the traffic is in the US. Mostly the Northeast US. At this monthly pageviews level monetizing the site with ads will work as long as it does not turn off the audience.
TrailsNH has been a money pit for more than 10 years. It has taken 1000s of man hours developing the robots that manage the site. These robots gather hiking related posts from around the web, and geotags the posts with their location. The site then organizes and displays these posts. The cost for doing this is pretty high because the robots require a lot of processing time and serving maps is no longer free. I’ve tried covering these costs several ways in the past. I tried affiliate links on popular gear, affiliates banner ads, and asking users for donations, but that has never been enough.
EZOIC assigned a specialist to me when I signed up. My EZOIC specialist Laura helped me with the long and complicated setup process. I signed up May 30. I had made several mistakes in the sign up forms, and it took months to resolve them. ProTip: only use one google account for all of the google services (adSense, ad exchange, ad manager, analytics, search console) connected to your EZOIC account.
Ads went live on August 5th. That morning Laura created the first set of ad placement positions. With EZOIC you add placeholders to all of the possible locations on the page where an ad could go, and their AI system chooses which placement will generate the most money. Laura used the EZOIC AdTester placement tool to insert ads into the pages. These placements did not work well with my Twitter Bootstrap template. The tools did not seem to understand what
.col are. These tool generated ad placements forced bad breaks in the content.
By lunch time I had replaced all of the AdTester placements. I inserted all placements by hand in the template. All in-content placements got moved to between
.rows. I manually added sidebar placements.
On the 7th I moved top ad down closer to the fold. I me an ad in the header or just below it looks cheap, greedy, and spammy. The RPM seems to dip but maximizing RPM is not my goal.
On the 12th (no shown) I discovered EZOIC’s floating sidebar ad type. See it float here, it’s genius. I rebuilt two the layout for content types to take advantage of the floating effect. I assume a floating ad pays better because it is on the screen longer, and to me it looks less spammy than showing multiple ads. A win-win. I need to consider replacing some of the standard sidebar placements with the floating version.
EZOIC Ad Placement Testing and RPM
You can see the RPM is bouncing all over the place as I experiment with ad placements. I’ve been attempting to fine tune where the ads are on the page, what size the ads are, and and how many there are. The 4 lines in the graph represent different content types, each has a different layout, and the RPM for that content type.
EZOIC AI is also running experiments with the ad placements, so it’s impossible to know if my ideas are helping or hurting. I actually don’t care. Squeaking out every penny is not my goal. If it looks like sh*t it has to go.
I’ve been a designer for a long time. I’ve designed book layouts, packaging, and websites. I see adding ad placements to the page like laying out a book. All of the elements on the page need to work together to get the point across.
Average Session Duration is measures how long people are on a page. It can often vary 5% week to week. The first week I ran ads the duration dropped 12%. I see that as some users are not happy. I will to do something about that next week. My goal is finding a balance between happy users, good clean content, and funding the site.
After the first week running EZOIC ads it’s disappointing to see some users are not happy, but there revenue was generated to try to make things work.
To be continued …