Media.Net Review: I Earned 3x More Than AdSense (2020 Major Update!)

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media.net to maximize earnings

I remember the day I logged into my Media.net dashboard and saw my earnings.

My jaw nearly hit the ground.

It outperformed Google AdSense 3:1…

What?! 3x MORE than AdSense? But…but, it’s Google! Everyone uses AdSense to monetize their blogs.

When I first started using them on one of my smaller niche sites, I made less than $5/week. **Sad entrepreneur noises**.

But once I figured out the secret sauce, everything changed.

Media.net is one of the best kept secret-but-not-so-secret secrets in the eCom world. And once I learned how to actually use it the right way, I went from earning just a few hundred dollars a month with AdSense to earning nearly $2,000/mo from highly targeted, contextual ads.

The best part? Media.net did it all for me. I did nothing but sign up.

So in this Media.net review, I want to cover the pros and cons, how to get started, why I love this ad network (But why you might not), and how to actually use it the right way. Plus the ONE HUGE UPDATE that every other review is missing and the fees involved with it! It’s pretty damn important.

Are you ready to maximize your revenue? I am!

Before we get started, I’d also like to give you a heads up that the links to Media.net in this post are affiliate links which means we get a small bonus if you sign up and start using them. On that note, you also get an additional 10% earnings bonus for your first 3 months with them, if you sign up using our link. It’s a win-win! 🙂

What Is Media.Net, And Why is it Gaining Popularity?

Media.net is one of the world’s leading contextual ad networks, with a reach spanning 100 million US desktop users. They are almost totally powered by Yahoo and Bing!

Media.net Overview:

Parent: Bing & Yahoo!
CEO: Vaibhav Arya
Network: CPC
Volume: 70 million paid clicks/mo
Traffic Restriction: none (technically; I’ll explain later in the restriction section)
Sign up: Media.net
Unique Selling Points: Ad optimization, contextual ads, sticky sidebar, personal account rep
Publisher info: See here
Terms: Click here
Payment terms: Net 30 via wire transfer or online payment processor (Major update below)
Restrictions: Adult, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and many other “bad” niches (Covered below)

The main advantages of this network as an alternative to Google Adsense are its high revenue per thousand impression rates (RPM), highly targeted contextual ads that induce more clicks, done-for-you ROI optimization, and gentle sidebar ads that blend into your website without annoying your visitors.

The company has seen massive growth in recent years, recently reporting $232 MILLION in profit. I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s because Media.net does not restrict your site due to size, but rather for quality. In other words, unlike most of the major ad networks, they don’t care if you don’t get a billion visitors a month, as long as you have a high-quality site.

That means even small bloggers can monetize their sites and start making real money so long as they have quality content, and have traffic from the USA, Canada, or the UK.

Hold up, Karl… what the hell is a contextual ad?

A contextual ad is just an ad that is shown within the context of your site.

Take Kathine, for example. A nice woman who is interested in yoga.

She comes to your niche site “acroyogie.com” and reads your “top 5 tips for stretching before performing inhuman heights of acroyoga achievement” article.

Instead of seeing random ads with clickbaity copy and intrusive design, she’s greeted with only highly relevant yoga ads that gently blend into your site by matching the design and color.

You can’t even tell that they’re ads unless your eyes are trained.

That means less customer friction, higher clicks, and more profit for you and the advertisers.

How Do Media.net Payments Work? What’s their RPM? MAJOR UPDATE!!!!

Media.net pays for the number of impressions you generate. NOT for the number clicks like some other networks (HINT: It rhymes with Smoogle SmadSmense).

Advertisers bid for a spot on your site just like they would at an auction.

We’ve seen our RPM get upwards of $20 on good days, but it’s also gone as low as a few bucks. It all depends. I think a fair average is between $5-$10/1,000, depending on your niche.

Here’s how the payment structure works:

You get a certain rate for each 1,000 impressions, and Media.net pays you out after 30 days. The minimum threshold is $100. Say you generate 10,000 impressions at an RPM of $5, then they’ll pay for $50 for that. But you won’t be able to get paid for 2 months, since you have to reach the threshold of $100.

2020 Payment Update: Media.net no longer pays via PayPal. Please read that again. Since 2019, the available forms of payment are either Payoneer or wire transfer. NO PAYPAL.

Does Payoneer Charge Fees?

Yes, you have to be aware of the fees your processor charges. Not sure why everyone is complaining. It’s literally $1.50 for them to send money to your bank.

Here are the Payoneer fees:

media.net payment schedule fees

Media.net Story Time – How I Started Making Real Money and How You Can Too

I mentioned how, when I first started, I barely made any money with Media.net.

I was making a few hundred dollars a month from AdSense easily, so when a good buddy mentioned he was getting double the return using a different network, I was a bit skeptical.

But, being a businessman (And constantly wanting to A.D.D my attention away to new things), I tried…

COMPLETE FAILURE.

I made like $5/week or something horrendous and Media.net slipped out of mind. I watched the AdSense money pile up and forgot about it.

Now, here I am writing this review making thousands of dollars a month from Media.net and next to nothing with AdSense.

What the HELL HAPPENED?

Two things:

1. I turned over control to my account rep for optimization

how to increase your RPM

I’m a lone wolf. Always have been. So it’s hard for me to open up (2MeIRL) my business to someone else. But as soon as the account rep took over and started optimizing my ads, my revenue skyrocketed.

I had been doing it wrong all along. Once I got cozy with my rep, heeded their advice, and let them tinker, things took off. I’ve never looked back.

2. I realized I was in the wrong niche

Here’s the thing about Media.net: It works great in some niches and oh-my-god-what-the-hell-went-wrong in others. If you aren’t in the right niche/business model, you are doomed from the start.

This is why so many entrepreneurs are put off by terrible results and stick with AdSense. That’s a huge mistake. Actually, the best way to optimize ROI is to use them together. I cover that later…

Media.net works great in product heavy niches with lots of buying options. Think pets or yoga. If someone comes to your pet blog, they A) Have disposable income and B) Have tons of product options like dog collars or those fancy sweaters Beverly Hills dogs wear.

That’s the sweet spot. That’s the kind of niche you can make thousands per month with. If you’re in something without a lot of products, you can’t really succeed with them.

Media.Net Advantages: Why We Use Media.net (And Why You Should Too)

1. Highly Contextual Ads

media.net contextual ads

Media.net gets us more clicks than any other network WITHOUT crappy clickbait ads.

This is due to the unique and innovative design of their ads. They devised a system called “Display to Search (DSP)” ads.

This awesome machine learning system is next-level. It not only takes the searcher’s keyword, but actually understands the intent behind a search and shows even more high-quality ads (SkyNet is real). So instead of a totally irrelevant or at best slightly related ad, all the ads on my blog match exactly what a searcher is looking for. Here’s a screenshot…

machine learning in advertising

2. Native Ads for Greater Purchase Intent

Native ads are advertisements that follow the same natural form of the user experience on a website.

Basically that means the ads blend into a site, masquerading as regular content. You know the “sponsored content” you see on sites like “The Atlantic”. Yeah, that’s what we mean. Media.net’s native ad game is on point, and this could result in more clicks and higher purchasing intent.

3. Done-For-You Ad Optimization (Account Rep)

done for you ad optimization

This blew me away. When my friend told me there was an ad network that gave a high rate for 1,000 impressions AND optimized your ads for you, I had to check it out.

I can’t explain how amazing this is as a busy entrepreneur. Get this…

After the machine learning algorithm works its SkyNet end-of-humanity magic, your account rep and a team of ad optimization geeks continually test each ad for the highest ROI down to the page-level. And it’s all done-for-you. So they handle all your communication and optimize your ads too.

Oh yeah, and SkyNet… I mean, Media.net’s algo is constantly optimizing by ad type as well. If the algorithm determines a video ad would outperform a text ad, BOOM, it slaps a video on your page instead.

So you get a dedicated account rep that optimizes your blog for their ads, and continually tests to get you the best ROI. And you don’t pay a dime for it. This took my revenue from less than $10/day to nearly $70/day, and I did nothing. That’s nearly $2,000/mo extra.

4. Their Ad Designs Are Genius

best native ads examples

The ads blend in seamlessly to my site. I’m 100% sure this is why my click-through rates are borderline insane these days. Notice anything different about these ads?

  • They blend right in: If it didn’t say sponsored, you’d have no clue they were ads.
  • No clickbaity copy: Only natural, highly relevant text. You know what that means? CLICKS!
  • They look professional: Gentle, non-intrusive, clean_hard to beat this look

Media.net Cons – What Could Be Improved

Nothing in the world is perfect – except brownie cheesecake – but since Media.net is an ad network and not cream cheese, butter, eggs, and sugar, I’ll cover the 3 caveats I have with the service before you sign up.

1. You Only Get Paid for the Second Click

This is the biggest gripe most people have with the service, and I totally understand.

Here’s how it works:

You only get paid if someone clicks through from your page to another ad page. IF they click there, THEN you get paid. This puts a lot of people off. I know what it’s like to be a new blogger that needs clicks to eat.

The thing is that Media.net’s clicks are way more valuable than your standard click from a clickbaity ad. They only use high-quality, contextual ads on traffic to quality sites. So advertisers are bidding WAY more for that traffic. If you have a quality site getting decent traffic, you’re better off with this model.

2. Approvals Seem Arbitrary

how to get approved for media.net

Media.net takes its publisher standards very seriously. Maybe a bit too seriously…

They work with only “quality” sites with traffic from certain countries. Thing is, there is no set meaning of quality. It’s subject to their approval.

And while they say there is no official minimum, I’ve heard some horror stories about approvals gone wrong. I got approved with only a few thousand visits per month, but I know others who’ve been denied with 10k visit/mo for no apparent reason.

3. No Page-Level Reporting

OK, this is the only REAL drawback of Media.net. The other 2 are a little bit bad but also a bit good. This is the only one that’s bad all around.

As an authority site builder, I have tons of different types of content on my site, so having granular data about how ads are performing on each type of content would be a HUGE help.

The site-level reporting they offer is excellent, but without that page-level data, I feel like I’m leaving extra money on the table. I guess letting the account rep and team handle optimization is the counter to that.

In case Media.net’s people are reading this: GET ME SOME PAGE-LEVEL DATA!

Media.net vs Google Adsense: Is Media.net an Alternative to Adsense or a Supplement?

media.net vs google adsense comparison

Is Media.net a replacement for Google AdSense?

My definitive answer is: It depends.

I personally use Media.net for almost all of my high-value pages. So if it’s prime real estate on one of my product-heavy niche sites, I’m using Media.net and only Media.net.

But I don’t understand why everything has to be one or the other. They both look and feel different, and they both perform well in certain niches and dismally in others. So why not just use both?

It might get annoying or confusing at times, but I still use Google AdSense for certain niches.

Here are 2 reasons to use Google Ads:

  • AdSense Performs Well Above Content: AdSense banner ads might be a bit spammy at times, but for the most part they perform well at the top of your site. Media.net performs better within the content or on the sticky bar (Against AdSense rules!).
  • AdSense Performs Better in Certain Niches: I cover this way more toward the end, but there are certain niches you should NEVER use with Media.net. In those cases, I use AdSense.

So the nuanced answer to the Media.net vs AdSense question is:

Media.net is overall better, but you should use both together in different ways. Media.net for in-content contextual ads for product-heavy niches, and AdSense for ads above or below your content or in product-light niches.

Media.net Requirements

media.net approval requirements

Media.net is one of the highest quality networks around. They maintain their standard with one of the strictest approval programs in the business. Feel free to read the terms of service if you want. Or just read my synopsis here.

NOTE: I won’t cover every single nuance of the agreement. Only the major, top-level factors that affect most site owners.

Media.net only approves websites with:

  • Traffic From a Primary Location: Sorry, but that’s just how it is. The majority of your traffic has to be from the US, Canada, UK, Australia, or other similar countries.
  • Healthy Traffic: The company claims no restrictions, but your site must have healthy traffic if you want to join the party. What exactly constitutes healthy is not up to me. They approved me with only a few thousand visitors a month. I know people who’ve been approved with 5k too.
  • English Content: Self-explanatory. I have heard that they accept multilingual sites with the primary content in English, but I have no experience with it personally.
  • Lots of Content Updated Regularly: Media.net doesn’t mess around with low-quality sites or dormant blogs. If you aren’t publishing quality stuff on a regular basis, don’t bother.
  • Good Design: If your site looks pre-Y2K, you aren’t getting approved. You need a modern, smooth design that’s easily navigable to gain approval of the almighty Media.net council. Most premium WP themes should do just fine.
  • Nothing That Violates Copyright: This should go without saying. I just don’t want people hosting bootleg movies filmed in theatres from their iPhone complaining to me that they didn’t get approved.

PRO TIP: Media.net doesn’t approve sites with excess ads. So even if it is compatible with AdSense, I recommend disabling it for a week while the company audits your site.

Media.net DOES NOT ACCEPT Sites With:

  • Free hosted web pages
  • Pages under construction
  • Hidden links
  • Manipulative design or content
  • Websites that promote internet abuse. Basically means don’t spam people

They Also Don’t Accept Sites That Link to:

  • Porn
  • Alcohol, tobacco, or drugs
  • Profane or discriminatory content
  • Violent or hate sites
  • Counterfeit products
  • Sites that are subject to update without moderation like forums or chat rooms
  • Sites with computer-generated content
  • Fake news

How to Use Media.Net

I won’t go into huge detail here, but I just want to walk you through a few important aspects Media.net from a user’s perspective, and why I like it so much.

1. Go to Media.net and Sign Up

Pretty self-explanatory here, aye?

Sign up and submit your site for approval.

media.net site sign up

It only takes 10 seconds!… to sign up. Then you have to wait for approval. Which they claim takes up to 2 business days, in my experience it has been faster.

how long does it take to get approved by media.net

2. Navigate to Ad Units From Your Dashboard

media.net ad units

The Dashboard shows your estimated revenue and impressions at a glance.

The most important tab is Ad Units, so I’ll cover that in a bit more detail now.

3. Create, Edit, and Manage Your Ads

managing media.net ads

From the Ad Units tab or directly from dash, select create Ad Unit.

4. Choose an Ad Size and Name

choosing the ad sizes

I almost always go with 300 x 250 for the stick sidebar and first paragraph or 728 x 90 for above the content ads.

5. Choose a Skin

This is the literal design of your ad NOT the color. Choose a preferred skin and Media.net will constantly test it against others for max ROI.

6.Choose Your Colors

Customize the color palette to fit your site’s theme.

7. Click Save and Get Code

You’re ready to go and put the code on your site.

8. Always Keep in Touch With Your Rep

I don’t know why, but people always come to ME with questions about Media.net ads. That’s what your rep is for! They are trained to optimize your ads and make you more money.

make use of your ad account representative

I always reach out and see if they can give me any feedback and optimize my second page of ads.

Media.net FAQ

Stop inboxing me the same questions over and over. READ!

Q: How much does Media.net pay per 1,000 impressions

Media.net typically pays about $5/1,000 impression, which is among the best in the industry. You can typically run 3 ads per page, meaning if you have 334 views, that’s about 1,000 impressions. At $5 RPM you can make $5/day or roughly $150/mo off only 334 visits/day.

Q: Can I use Media.net with AdSense?

Yes, you can use Media.net with Google AdSense. I even recommend it. Here is Google’s opinion. My rule of thumb is to use Media.net for product-heavy niches and Google AdSense for product-light niches. Also, AdSense has better banner ads while Media.net has better in-content ads.

Q: What does Media.net do?

Media.net is one of the world’s largest contextual ad networks. They specialize in contextual, native, and video ads on high-quality sites.

Q: Is Media.net better than AdSense?

I prefer Media.net, but like I said before, AdSense still has its place. They are both good in different situations. Overall, Media.net is better though, especially when you factor in the done-for-you optimization.

Q: How much does Google AdSense pay per 1,000 impressions?

Google AdSense typically pays between $1-$1.50 for 1,000 impressions.

Q: Does Media.net pay via PayPal in 2020?

No. They updated their terms in 2019 and only offer wire transfers and Payoneer now.

VERDICT: Is Media.net Legit?

YES…as long as you’re in the right niche.

Media.net earns me thousands per month and my click-throughs are at all-time highs. That’s because they deliver highly contextual ads from reputable advertisers on high-quality publications.

The done-for-you optimization is unrivaled, and the ads are gentle, non-intrusive, and highly clickable.

As long as you’re in the right niche and have quality content and traffic, Media.net will crush it for you.

Sign up and see for yourself.

REAL VERDICT: I used to hate it but now I love it!