Contextual Marketing 101: Google Adsense vs. Media.net

Have you heard of contextual marketing? Even if you haven’t heard of it, you must have come across such ads when browsing the internet.

Contextual marketing is a form of online marketing model in which people are served with targeted advertising based on terms they search for or their recent browsing pattern. Such advertising and monetization are often seen on some of the most popular websites and blogs on the internet today. By linking the ads users see to their searched interests, advertisers decrease annoying users with irrelevant ads and simultaneously increase click through and conversion rates.

Every business wants a higher return-on-investment in advertising, and contextual advertising gives them that opportunity.

How Does Contextual Advertising Work?

Contextual marketing uses an approach known as behavioral targeting to serve relevant advertising. For example, a user searches for smartphones reviews online, and after his search, he comes back online to probably read the news or what’s trending in the world and the next thing he sees is an ad about smartphones even if what he is reading at the time has nothing to do with smartphones. And every other page he opens, there will be ads about smartphones. Since he is interested in buying a smartphone, he clicks on the ad in order to see the offer.

To the user, seeing an ad he is interested in on seemingly unrelated sites may seem like a coincidence but in actual fact, it is no coincidence. Each time a user performs a search, reads an article or clicks on an ad, a cookie stored on the computer tracks the activity and uses it to create a behavioral profile of the user in question for marketing purposes.

Behavioral targeting is usually conducted by ad network and placed on affiliated websites. The purpose of contextual marketing is to offer products and services to those customers who are already interested in them. Internet contextual advertising has been developing over the past decade and continues to become more specific as the internet becomes more accessible and integrated.

What are the best options for contextual marketing?

When it comes to online advertising for publishing websites, there are many options you can choose from. Although with the numerous options available to you, this post has been tailored to focus on the two major players in contextual advertising. They are Google’s AdSense and Media.net. Both platforms provide a robust network for advertisers to market their goods and services, making use of browsing history, site content and a bunch of other contextual indicators to provide your site’s visitors with relevant ads that they’re already interested in, therefore maximizing your revenue and increasing your chances of a click-through.

Google AdSense

The model example of contextual advertising is Google’s AdSense program which uses the terms entered into each Google search to select the appropriate advertisement for that user. Most people, publishers and advertisers alike have heard of Google’s advertising network and it’s no surprise because of the brand name behind it. For many websites that are monetized by displaying ads, Google AdSense is usually the go-to platform they use and for good reason too. Google AdSense has a strong lead in the advertising network both for their strong search engine presence and the ability to present several different kinds of ads, including text-based and image-based ads.

Run a few different searches on Google, on different topics and you’ll be amazed at the kinds of ads that pop up. You’ll discover that all kinds of companies from different industries use Google AdSense, from realtors to insurance agencies to technology companies to restaurants and hotels and so much more.
Owing to their longstanding online presence and brand recognition, several tools are available to help publishers integrate AdSense ads into their website. A good example is the popular WordPress plugin.
AdSense is mostly referred to as the best option for bloggers and publishers when it comes to advert placements because it offers the deepest roster of advertisers, first-class technology, and RPMs that beat any network.

Amidst the numerous options made available to publishers in deciding how their ads should look like, such as the color scheme and category, Google ads tend to not look as appealing when compared to ads offered by other advertising networks. This is among the drawbacks when it comes to Google AdSense. Many publishers and website owners still wish that there was more they could do with AdSense, like the types of ad units offered, the number of ads that can be used on one page and much more.

Media.net

Media.net is a contextual ad network born out of the collaborative effort between two of the most powerful search engines available online even before Google was found. It is run by a partnership between Yahoo! and Bing and it functions generally the same way as AdSense, offering many of the same options. Media.net has gained ground in the contextual advertising network and they’re giving Google a run for their money by delivering ads that are of better quality and their approach to make more money for the advertiser. They provide standard ad sizes, as well as contextual link units that direct to “landing pages” of targeted ads.

Media.net has earned its strong reputation and proven to be a force to be reckoned with from some of the largest spenders in the advertising business, such as Amazon, Fo, and Monster. Although the brand may not be as popular as Google AdSense, their ad is well known to work on many publishers sites that receive high traffic, such as Forbes, Reuters, and Cosmo. By revenue, media.net runs the second largest contextual ads program in the world and works as one of the most trusted advisors to top management across various publishers.

So which is better… Adsense or Media.net?

Although nobody truly knows which one is better and like most things, it can depend on many factors. Let’s attempt to do a comparative discussion of both AdSense and media.net taking their CPM Rates, Payments, and earning reports into consideration.

AdSense vs. media.net: minimum traffic requirement

AdSense does not have a minimum traffic requirement for you to become a publisher, however, they need you to frequently post substantial contents related to the adverts placed on your website.

Media.net, on the other hand, doesn’t limit you to a particular number of page views to get approval into the network but the published content has to be in English and your traffic should come mainly from USA, UK, and Canada.

AdSense vs. Media.net: Revenue share percentage

When using AdSense to display advertisements, the publishers receive 68% of the revenue but if the network is used mainly for search then the publishers get 51%, the rest percentage goes to Google.
At the moment, the revenue percentage that media.net shares with publishers is unknown.

AdSense vs. media.net: Ad quality

One of the major reasons Google AdSense is well known is because it has a reachability through the entire globe. It displays high-quality adverts on its platform for users across the world. It also displays video ads on a CPC basis.

Since Media.net focuses mainly on traffic from the USA, UK, and Canada, they show high-quality ads for them but for traffic coming from other countries, low-quality ads are shown on this platform.

AdSense vs. media.net: publisher list

AdSense has a long list of top publishers around the globe like Mashable, HubPages, Virool, and Times Network amongst others. Most digital marketing you see is done under the banner of Google AdSense.

One thing that makes media.net stand out here is its dedicated support to every publisher and advertiser. It is run on many top publisher sites around the world like New York Times, Elle, Reuters, Forbes, and Cosmopolitan.

AdSense vs. media.net: CPM and RPM Rates

Google AdSense is known for offering high CPM rates that range from 1 to 3 USD. The average RPM it offers for broad niches is between 5 to 10 USD, and for competitive niches with a high CPC is about 100 USD.

Media.net is comparable to the rates AdSense provides. It provides a CPM of around 1 USD and the average RPM for 10,000 views is around 10 USD. Although it is a known fact that publishers make good revenue from this ad network, many have said to have received 0 RPM. This happens because of less traffic from the USA, UK, and Canada on their websites, which in turn amounts to zero earnings. And if the keywords of your content do not match those required by the advertisers, you will also not receive any earnings.

AdSense vs. media.net: payments and earnings report

AdSense pays out to their publishers every month. Earnings get collected over the course of a month and at the beginning of the following month, it is finalized and the total sum is posted to the balance.

Media.net pays its publishers every 30 days and every 7 days for large publishers. They have a minimum payout threshold which is 100 USD, meaning you can only withdraw your funds when you’ve got that amount or more than that in your account. Their payment methods include PayPal and wire transfer.

How to Best Monetize Your Site with Contextual Marketing

From the above comparison, it is safe to say that media.net is a new player in the field of digital advertising and might take some time for it to properly optimize the website. The best way to get the most out of contextual marketing is to run both networks simultaneously, this way, all types of ads will be shown to your viewers.

When considering the best platform for your website as a publisher is to try out what will work for you and which provides a better experience for you and your visitors. However, if you’re new to display adverts on your page, keep in mind that advertising revenue will not happen overnight but over time can provide a consistent revenue stream for your website.