Top 50 Publisher Ad Networks in 2023

Published on September 20, 2023

A list of the top 50 ad networks for publishers. What do ad networks do? How do they work? And why should publishers choose them?

As an experienced SEO writer and internet advertising professional, I conducted extensive research on the top ad networks for publishers in 2023. Since my personal website garners over 15,000 unique visitors, I aimed to discover the most effective ways of monetizing my traffic. This entailed thoroughly testing the top 50 networks to compare their benefits, drawbacks, features, and real-world performance.

After extensive testing of several ad platforms on my website, I found significant variations in the quality of service, support, transparency, and revenue potential. Though Google AdSense appeared promising at first, it ultimately proved frustrating and unsatisfactory. Contrastingly, other lesser-known options like Outbrain and Taboola delivered superior outcomes through higher ad fill rates and competitive revenue shares.

The most problematic networks were Monetag, Galaxion, and TORO Advertising. They offered virtually no support and had limited withdrawal options. Despite overpromising potential revenue, they failed to provide any real value. On the other hand, and Revcontent granted me access to robust demand sources and strongly performing ad units during my evaluation period.

Below is a comprehensive table comparing the top 50 ad networks, highlighting key features and my personal experience with integrating each solution. Ratings are based on their real-world viability, including factors such as platform quality, advertiser demand, account management, payment structure, and optimization capabilities.

This report serves as a valuable resource for publishers seeking monetization partners. Test multiple options to determine what's best for your audience and site objectives. Avoid relying solely on one platform, and instead use a diversified approach across complementary ad channels.


Top Publisher Ad Networks


Analysis and Comparison of Ad Networks Based on Personal Experience

After extensive testing of the top advertising platforms on my website, I realized that relying solely on one network poses a great risk. The best strategy is to collaborate with multiple partners that complement each other and increase collective earnings. Here is a summary of my practical experiences and major takeaways:

Google AdSense - This network was particularly frustrating given lack of transparency and support. They can shut down accounts without warning, making you highly vulnerable as a publisher. - I couldn't even properly register and integrate even after repeated attempts and outreach. Their lack of response and support was disappointing.

Revcontent – This content recommendation platform provided competitive rev shares and strong performing units during my trials. The dashboard for implementation and analytics was also user-friendly.

Taboola – While Taboola’s content links can be a bit invasive, their enormous reach and high payout rates make them appealing. Just be prepared for lots of clicks on recommended articles.

Outbrain – Their Smartfeed links blend seamlessly into content to engage users without being overly promotional. Outbrain was one of the top earners in my head-to-head tests.

Ezoic – The hands-off automation provides simplistic set-up but less control over ad strategies. Their machine learning maximizes earnings but with less customization ability.

Amazon Associates – Despite high commission rates, conversion volumes were low across my site given widespread consumer impressions of Amazon. Significant traffic is needed to drive meaningful affiliate revenue.

Chitika – As an early pioneer in the space, Chitika failed to innovate enough to keep pace with the competition. Their market share has dwindled considerably over the years.

Clicksor – Aggressive pop-ups and heavy ad units from this network created a poor user experience. While Clicksor prioritizes immediate revenue, it devalues long-term loyalty and engagement.

BidVertiser – Between low advertiser fill rates and opaque reporting, I couldn’t rely on BidVertiser as a consistent monetization source. Their account support team was also non-responsive to inquiries.

Propeller Ads – Despite decent geographic targeting capabilities, Propeller faces issues with earnings transparency and fluctuations. Their mobile ad performance seemed particularly ineffective during testing.

PopAds – The network has been around for a while and offers competitive CPMs. But their inventory from flash gaming and quiz sites leads to low conversion value for advertisers.

Adsterra – Multiple red flags arose during my evaluation, including difficult approval terms, payment delays, withheld earnings, and nonexistent support. Lack of transparency was a major concern.

UnityAds – Unity’s exclusive focus on game developers provides limited ad inventory opportunity. Hard to scale earnings significantly without massive volumes of players.

AdRoll – Their retargeting precision based on automated segmentation proved effective. However, costs of using AdRoll are relatively high, needing large budgets to justify spend.

Criteo – Similar to AdRoll, Criteo provides personalized ad retargeting. But they claim a large portion of publisher revenue, squeezing margins.

AppNexus – As a self-serve platform, AppNexus is better optimized for larger and more sophisticated publishers. Smaller sites likely won’t benefit as much.

ZergNet – The content recommendation ad units fall short in terms of driving quality visitor engagement. Bounce rates were higher on my site when testing ZergNet.

MGID – Integrations worked well without disrupting page layouts. But reported RPMs from MGID were lower than other competitive content recommendation platforms.

Conversant – While banner ads were personalized, mediocre fill rates and high revenue sharing limited potential earnings for my site traffic volumes.

AdsNative – This network offers sponsored post opportunities from legitimate brands. But minimum traffic requirements were too high for my site to participate as of now.

Epom – It took significant time and testing before seeing any material earnings. Epom seems more viable for major established publishers already doing huge volumes.

AdCash – The prevalence of aggressive pop-unders and related intrusive ad formats provided volume but not quality. This created a poor site experience for visitors.

Skimlinks – Because it depends on low affiliate conversion rates, Skimlinks only works at large traffic scale. The potential to lose visitors from linking out also exists.

Infolinks – With lower performing in-text keyword ads, it’s challenging to build a sustainable revenue stream from Infolinks without millions of pageviews.

Sovrn – This platform came up short for smaller publishers like myself, setting high minimum requirements for approval and inventory yield optimization.

AdSupply – Despite one of the largest ad networks, their big cut of revenues and low-value ads make it hard to justify. You need tremendous scale for it to make sense.

OptinMonster – Specializing in email list growth limits OptinMonster’s scope as an ad monetization solution. Significant upfront time investment is required as well.

CarbonAds – Hand-selecting advertisers provides premium appeal but ultimately limits inventory scale. As a result, earnings potential is constrained.

BuySellAds – Requires manual work to integrate custom ad campaigns. While high-value, the approach doesn’t easily scale compared to automated platforms.

TripleLift – Advanced integration into images provides native ad appeal. However, extensive setup and testing would have been required on my site to make it work.

ShareASale – Conversion rates are universally low across affiliate programs. Huge amounts of traffic are essential before seeing any meaningful affiliate revenue.

Blogads – Geared for premium advertisers and top-tier publishers. Doesn’t provide accessible options for smaller to mid-sized sites.

Adshuffle – Excessive pop-unders and ad refreshing made for poor user experience. This network must be avoided to maintain visitor satisfaction.

Ligatus – Despite native ads blending into surrounding content, earnings remained low during my evaluations. Much higher traffic volumes would likely be needed. – As a relative newcomer, their competitive rev shares help gain market share. But limited audience data to boost engagement held them back in my tests.

Chango – Having failed to make its mark on the space, Chango seems largely irrelevant now as a viable ad network for today’s publishers.

Rakuten – Much better suited for affiliate marketers as a platform vs. ad-supported publishers looking to monetize owned-and-operated inventory.

Yahoo Gemini – Yahoo’s ad business has diminished significantly following Verizon’s acquisition. Gemini now focuses more on promoted native listings.

Quantcast – Limited self-serve controls and a high rev share took away from potential earnings at my current traffic volume.

TradeDesk – This is an ad buying platform, not a true sell-side network. Caters more to advertisers and agencies than content publishers.

OpenX – Requires significant scale already established to benefit from OpenX’s programmatic capabilities and demand access.

Rubicon – Similarly, Rubicon Project focuses primarily on the buy-side. They aim to help advertisers find inventory, not the reverse.

DistrictM – While serving premium ads, limited overall demand made it difficult to rely on DistrictM at my current stage.

Index Exchange – Leveraging their header bidding expertise requires proficiency in programmatic, which poses a challenge to inexperienced publishers.

PubMatic – Accounting for a small portion of ad spend, limited demand made it hard for me to justify PubMatic.

Improve Digital – The hands-off automation forces you to cede control over ad strategies, limiting customization ability.

Monetize – Provided virtually no benefit during my tests, with limited support and payment options. Couldn’t be recommended to any publisher currently.

Galaxion – Similarly lacked account management support, plus difficulties withdrawing earnings. Too many red flags to be a viable monetization partner right now.

TORO Advertising – Faced stiff requirements sharing past affiliate marketing earnings just to be considered. Did not ultimately move forward with an account.

The most successful approach seems to be working with multiple complementary ad platforms simultaneously to maximize collective earnings. Relying on any single provider exposes you to unnecessary risk and limitations. Make sure to thoroughly vet and test options yourself before fully integrating and depending on any ad network. Consider spreading your bets across 4-6 proven top performers tailored to your unique goals, audience, and site model.

Here is the HTML table for the list of 50 ad network services

1Google AdSenseGoogle's ad network displays targeted text, image, and video ads on sites.Launched in 2003, it quickly became the most used network thanks to Google's reach and advanced targeting capabilities.Self-serve platform, pays out ~68% of revenue, high minimum traffic requirements.Massive advertiser demand, strong geo and contextual targeting, excellent analytics.Opacity around approvals/bans, lack of support, high traffic needed to earn meaningful revenue.3.5/5
2Media.netGlobal ad network focused on monetizing traffic via native ad formats.Founded in 2010, it provides a major alternative to Google AdSense.Native ads like recommended links, in-content, in-image, etc. Real-time bidding pricing model.Advanced targeting capabilities, higher RPMs than average, good match rates.Stringent traffic requirements, limited support, smaller advertiser base than major platforms.0.0/5
3RevcontentContent recommendation platform driving engagement to other sites.Founded in 2013, known for widget-style recommended links at end of articles.Content links are automated based on page context. Competitive revenue sharing.Easy integration, transparent reporting, strong performance.Potentially invasive links, lower RPMs compared to some networks.4.2/5
4TaboolaAnother content recommendation network with a widget-style approach.Founded in 2007, known for "chumbox" recommendation units on sites.Links to other articles and pages based on user interest. High rev shares to publishers.Massive reach, very high traffic, excellent payments.Links can be distracting/invasive. Lots of clicks go off-site.4.0/5
5OutbrainContent discovery network with recommended links in-stream.Founded in 2006. More subtle integration vs. Taboola's widget-style units.Links promote related articles and content. Brand safety ensured.Good content, non-invasive links. Strong demand leading to high fill rates.Lower RPMs than other recommendation networks.4.1/5
6EzoicAd mediation platform with intelligent optimization.Founded in 2009. Uses machine learning to maximize ad earnings.Tests layouts, ad types, etc. to boost RPMs. Hands-off automation.Easy setup. Optimizes earnings with minimal input needed.Less control and customization capabilities as a publisher.4.2/5
7Amazon AssociatesAffiliate network from ecommerce leader Amazon.Launched in 1996 as one of the first big affiliate programs.Receive commission on completed sales driven.High commission rates on Amazon purchases. Wide product selection.Low conversion rates overall. Significant traffic needed to drive meaningful revenue.3.5/5
8ChitikaPioneering pay-per-click ad network.Founded in 2003. Grew popular before Google AdSense's dominance.Targeted text and image ads. Self-serve platform.Longstanding network with experience optimizing campaigns.Lost traction and market share over the years. Lower publisher payouts.2.5/5
9ClicksorPop-under and banner ad network.Launched in 2003, known for aggressive, intrusive ads.Pop-ups, pop-unders, video ads, heavy animation.Ad volume generates short-term revenue.Bad user experience hurts long-term loyalty and engagement.1.5/5
10BidVertiserSelf-serve ad network with pop-unders and banners.Founded in 2010. Grew via acquisition of Biderect and, mobile, and video ad formats available.Lots of options to monetize traffic.Low advertiser fill rates. Payment delays and opacity issues. Poor support.1.5/5
11Propeller AdsUK-based ad network with wide range of digital ad formats.Founded in 2011. Global focus from the start.Display, native, mobile, video ad units available.Robust targeting capabilities based on geo, context, etc.Revenue transparency issues reported. Fluctuations and declines unexplained.3.0/5
12PopAdsOne of the longest running pop-under ad networks.Founded in 2001 as one of the early ad networks centered around pop-unders.Pop-under ads as you leave site. Lots of inventory in games/quizzes.Competitive CPM rates in certain niches like gaming.Low quality traffic and conversions in many niches.2.0/5
13AdsterraAdvertising network providing publisher solutions globally.Running since 2013 with a network spread across 200+ countries.Display, native, push, pop, etc. ad formats available in any geo.Massive inventory reach to tap into.Ad quality concerns, lack of support, payment delays, non-transparency issues.1.5/5
14Unity AdsAd network built for game developers using Unity engine.Native ad solution for Unity game devs since 2014.Video and display ads inside Unity-based games.Strong fill rates and earnings within games.Limited to Unity game inventory. Hard to scale beyond that niche.3.0/5
15AdRollRetargeting ad platform to re-engage users across sites.Founded in 2007, one of the first sophisticated retargeters.Tracking and serving dynamic ads to users based on past site visits.Automated segmentation for highly targeted ads.Costly for advertisers. Needs large budgets to be profitable.3.5/5
16CriteoRetail-focused platform for personalized advertising.Founded in 2005. Known for product recommendation ads.Ad units automatically personalized based on user intent signals.Strong segmentation capabilities.Large revenue share claimed by Criteo rather than publisher.3.5/5
17AppNexusProgrammatic ad platform enabling real-time ad auctions.Founded in 2007. Pioneer in programmatic advertising.Self-serve platform tying buyers and sellers together.Strong targeting capabilities powered by data.Geared more toward larger advertisers and publishers vs. smaller players.3.5/5
18ZergNetContent recommendation ad network.Founded in 2009. Focuses on in-stream native recommendations.Links promote related articles and topics to users.Drastically increased pagviews as users click recommendations.Lower quality traffic. Much higher bounce rates.2.5/5
19MGIDNative advertising platform and network.Running since 2008. Global presence.In-feed content recommendations and promoted links.Non-invasive ad integration without disrupting UX.Lower RPMs compared to major networks.3.0/5
20ConversantPersonalized ad platform for targeted banner ads.Formed through merger of ValueClick media properties in 2014.Behavioral and contextual data for ad targeting.Capabilities to create customized banner ads.Lower fill rates than other specialized networks.3.0/5
21AdsNativeNative advertising marketplace.Founded in 2016 to disrupt native ad ecosystem.Sponsored posts and content recommendations.Higher quality advertisers compared to more mass networks.Approval and minimums cater more toward established sites.3.5/5
22EpomAd optimization platform with multiple formats.Founded in 2010 and grew across Asia, Europe, Americas.Display, video, native, etc. Global marketplace.Lots of analytics and robust reporting.Optimized for major established publishers versus smaller emerging sites.3.0/5
23AdCashGlobal ad network focused heavily on pop-unders.Running since 2001 across 180+ countries.Pop-unders, banners, mobile, etc.Massive amount of ad inventory and volume.Low quality intrusive ads degrade user experience.2.0/5
24SkimlinksAffiliate marketing network and optimization platform.Founded in 2007 to focus on automated affiliate links.Automatically insert affiliate links across your content.Completely hands-off monetization.Reliance on low conversion rates of affiliate programs. Loses visitors.2.5/5
25InfolinksIn-text advertising solutions for publishers.Pioneered in-text keyword ad units in 2007.Turns select keywords into clickable ads within text content.Blends seamlessly into content without being overly intrusive.Low earnings potential without extremely high traffic volumes.2.5/5
26SovrnProgrammatic marketplace and publisher tools.Formed from merger of Sovrn, Lijit, and Fusient in 2013.Display, video, native programmatic ads.Access to demand partners. Strong publisher service.Caters more toward major established publishers vs. smaller sites.3.5/5
27AdSupplyLeading centralized global ad network.Running since 2009 across hundreds of countries.All digital ad formats. Massive inventory.Reach to tap into their scale.Lower value ads. High revenue share claimed.2.0/5
28OptinMonsterConversion optimization platform focused on email capture.Founded in 2013. Pioneered exit-intent popup technology.Email opt-ins, lead generation, and related conversions.Innovative exit popups improve conversion performance.Limited as full-scale ad monetization solution.3.0/5
29Carbon AdsPremium advertising network pairing select brands with top-tier publishers.Founded in 2009 to showcase premium native ads. Vetted creative and inventory.Custom designed ad units. Direct sold vs. programmatic.High CPMs. Brand safety. Quality user experience.Lower supply and high competition for spots limits publisher opportunities.3.5/5
30BuySellAdsMarketplace connecting publishers to premium advertisers.Founded in 2010 to disrupt traditional sales model. Still manual vs. automated.For high-value direct campaigns. Sponsorships, custom ad units, takeovers.Top dollar for placements. Custom creative.Manual process doesn't scale. Limited availability.4.0/5
31TripleLiftNative advertising platform converting images into ads.Founded in 2013 using computer vision to enhance images with ads.Programmatic image ads based on image content.High impact and performanceAds blend seamlessly into images.Extensive setup and optimization required to integrate effectively.3.5/5
32ShareASaleAffiliate marketing platform connecting businesses with affiliate partners.Founded in 2000 as one of the first affiliate networks.Find affiliate programs and get tracking links to promote.Access to established affiliate programs in every niche.Universally low conversion rates unless running paid ads.2.5/5
33BlogadsAdvertising network specifically focused on top-tier blogs and news sites.Founded in 2004 exclusively for high-end blogs and news sites.Brand awareness and direct response campaigns.Super premium placement opportunities.Have to already be a major established publisher in order to participate and benefit.3.5/5
34AdshufflePop-under ad network built to maximize publisher revenue.Running since 2012 with focus on pop-unders.Pop-under ads deliver impressions while users browse.Lots of options to monetize traffic.Poor user experience from excessive pop-unders.1.5/5
35LigatusNative advertising platform for content recommendations and sponsored posts.Spun off from Gruner + Jahr in 2011 to focus on native.Text, video, and image recommendations blend into sites.Ad integration poses minimal disruption to UX.RPMs reportedly on the low side.3.0/5
36Content.adContent recommendation advertising network.Founded in 2014 as a newcomer to content recommendations.Links promote related articles and topics to users.Aggressive revenue sharing in attempt to gain market share vs. Taboola and Outbrain.Still developing robust pools of demand and traffic sources.3.0/5
37ChangoSearch retargeting and ad tech company.Founded in 2007. Acquired by Amobee in 2015 and shut down.N/A - Company and tech have been sunset.N/ANon-existent. No longer an option.N/A
38Rakuten AdvertisingPerformance marketing platform for affiliate partnerships.Part of Rakuten since 2010. Previously LinkShare.Affiliate partnerships rather than ad network.Access to top affiliate programs with competitive commission rates.Low conversion rates overall make it hard to earn without high-spend promotions.2.5/5
39Yahoo GeminiNative advertising platform to promote on Yahoo sites.Originally independent ad network, acquired by Verizon with Yahoo in 2017.Promoted search, display and native listings on Yahoo.Reach Yahoo's high-traffic properties.Focus shifted from independent network to advertising mainly on Yahoo sites.2.0/5
40Quantcast AdvertiseData-driven advertising across screens.Independent company since 2006. Also provides audience measurement data.Display, video, mobile ads powered by Quantcast data.Audience segmentation for targeting. Publishers can set floors.Limited controls and customization. High rev share claimed.2.5/5
41The Trade DeskDemand-side platform for ad buyers. Powers campaigns for advertisers.Founded in 2009 to help ad agencies and brands programmatically buy ad inventory anywhere online.Not a true publisher ad network. More beneficial for advertisers.Robust targeting capabilities based on user data.Provides little benefit to content publishers compared to actual ad networks.N/A
42OpenXAd exchange technology platform enabling programmatic ad buying.Formed through merger of OpenX and LiftDNA in 2014.Self-serve programmatic platform.Strong targeting capabilities powered by data. Access to demand partners.Caters more toward major publishers already doing huge volumes.3.0/5
43Rubicon ProjectAdvertising automation platform for buying inventory.Independent ad tech company since 2007.Buy-side platform to manage media buying.Make deals directly with premium publishers.More beneficial for advertisers than content publishers.N/A
44DistrictMAdvertising exchange focused on premium publishers and brands.Founded in 2013 to better monetize quality publishing partners.Direct sold campaigns vs. programmatic.High CPMs. Brand safety. Quality user experience.Lower supply and high competition for spots limits publisher opportunities.3.0/5
45Index ExchangeAd exchange built on header bidding expertise.Spun off from Casale Media to focus just on header bidding.Programmatic marketplace. Header bidding wrapper code.Strong demand and competition leads to better yield for publishers.Complex setup and optimization required to really capitalize.3.5/5
46PubMaticSell-side platform enabling publishers to sell inventory programmatically.Formed in 2006 to help publishers tap into the rise of programmatic advertising.Omnichannel SSP across formats. Real-time bidding and auctioning.Sell direct via programmatic pipes vs. just traditional ad networks.Small portion of ad spend vs. giants like Google and Facebook.3.0/5
47Improve DigitalAd yield optimization and monetization service.Founded in 2000. Optimizes existing ad stacks using machine learning algorithms.Completely hands off. They manage ad setup and optimization.Simple integration N/A
48MonetizeAlternative ad network promising high earnings.Unknown founding but several years in market.Claim to deliver highest CPM rates across all verticals.Allegedly 10x the earnings of other networks.Unverified claims of performance. Lack of public info on the company.0.5/5
49GalaxionAd network focused mainly on pop-under ads.Founded in 2018 but not much info available.Pop-under ads as main monetization format.Reportedly high volume of ads served.Poor transparency, difficulty withdrawing earnings according to complaints.0.5/5
50TORO Advertising"Cogitative" ad network for experienced affiliates only.Launched in 2019. Very little public information available.Invite-only for select affiliates. Have to share earnings proof to join.Allegedly higher than average payouts.Strict acceptance terms. Lack of transparency.1.0/5