Google as we know, is basically a ppc advertising platform whose main product is its search engine, with which it displays advertising alongside its search results. This program is open to publishers with suitable websites, and this program is called Adsense, which has been around since 2003.
Adsense used to be quite a decent way to earn some revenue from your web content. The problem is that Adsense revenues have been on a steady decline over the past few years, and nowadays in the age of mobile browsing, it has gotten much worse. Mobile browsing via smartphones and tablets have increasingly comprised more and more of all web traffic, and this is now the norm. Meanwhile, Adsense has not adapted well to such rapid change.
Google has appeared to be largely indifferent to this decline, perhaps because its revenue now mainly comes from YouTube, Android, and especially from advertising on its own search engine. This decline has left a lot of Adsense publishers struggling to cope with decreased income due to 1) Lesser CTR 2) Lesser Cost per Click (advertisers paying less for mobile traffic).
Here’s where Google Certified Publishing Partners can help. Similar to Adwords Certified Partners whose task is to help advertisers get the most out of advertising on Google’s ad network and optimize their chances for a successful sale, the Certified Publishing Partners are supposed to help publishers increase or optimize their earnings by increasing the CTR and CPC. One of the largest Certified Publishing Partners out there, is Ezoic Inc.
What is Ezoic?
Ezoic call themselves a “Website Improvement Platform”, but in my opinion, this description is rather vague. They are the only Google Certified Publishing Partner from the North American continent, but of more relevance, is their size and infrastructure, which can help publishers test various ad formats and layouts using their technology. They claim they can usually improve a website’s revenue by 50-200%. Well, how true is this statement?
Towards the end of 2015, I was approached by Ezoic to consider testing one of my sites with them. I was naturally skeptical at first, but at that time, the site’s revenue was already low despite an overall increase in traffic after making the site mobile friendly. This is the paradox with making a site mobile friendly – Making a site mobile friendly will often lead to higher traffic because Google usually rewards a site with better overall ranking. But this is where the benefit ends.
Higher mobile traffic usually leads to (much) poorer ad revenue, probably due to being considered less “trustworthy” by Google’s algorithms. The CTR and CPC of mobile traffic is almost always lower then desktop traffic. Either people click less on mobile, or the algorithm does not take into account mobile clicks, but the bottom line is – mobile traffic is almost always much poorer than desktop traffic.
For my site, the CTR had fallen to just one third of what it used to be (before making the site mobile friendly). Since things were so bad, I figured what have I got to lose by trying Ezoic? So I agreed and went ahead to sign up with them. One stumbling block for me was the fact that I had to give them access to my account. I was still unsure about sharing my Adsense account details with strangers, but they said this was a necessary step, so that they can compare the past and present stats to see what’s working or not. After a lot of thought, I agreed.
So what does Ezoic do? Basically, Ezoic’s model of business is to present different layouts of your website to your visitors, depending on their screen size. Setting up, is quite simple – change your name servers over to theirs and fill up some approval forms. The approval process may take a while, but there’s nothing complicated to do on your part. NB: Ezoic will only accept sites with a fairly decent amount of SERP traffic, and their minimum level is 10,000 unique visitors a month. Also, keep in mind that not all types of sites would be suitable. It has to be a site where you know the visitors don’t really care about ads or the layout being changed all the time.
So I had a choice of using their Ad Tester Tool, in which I retain a certain control over the layouts and ad placements, OR simply just allowing their system to auto-place the ads and format the layouts. I went with the latter option because I was already sure that my layout was good enough that it could not be further improved without rebuilding my entire theme (the site was a WordPress site) again and again – an impossible task, and I did not wish to waste time/energy trying to figure things out on my own.
Ezoic has a lot of pre-made layouts and the good thing is, they have all these ready layouts for ALL the browsing device screens out there (mobile/tablet/desktop). They do not show the same layouts to the same visitors all the time, but mix them up randomly to different segments of visitors and at the same time, compare the metrics with your old layout to try to determine the best performing layout. All these different layouts are meant to reduce “ad blindness”. So far, I have to admit that the layouts outperform my old layout almost every time as far as CTR is concerned. Occasionally, the CTR does get low as well, perhaps due to irrelevant ads, but overall they’re still better than my old layout CTR.
Concerning the ads, Ezoic displays not just ads from Adsense, but also from Google’s Ad Exchange (ADX). For an explanation on ADX, you may want to read here. When you sign up for Ezoic, signing up with ADX is also part of the process (with Ezoic providing the recommendation). Implementing ADX is all handled by Ezoic, so you do not have to worry about that part. The benefit of serving ADX ads is that the ads (may) offer a higher CPC than the standard Adsense ads, and may be of higher quality.
Something I need to mention is that Ezoic uses a caching system, so you may need to refresh your cache if you are making changes to the appearance of your site. Also, in order to view your old site layout, you would need to switch on their “View Old Site Layout” app which embeds a cookie on your device so that you only see the old version of your site.
The first month that you use Ezoic would be a “free to try” phase, and after that, Ezoic takes a cut of your earnings from an extra link unit that they display at the bottom of your pages. How large or how small this cut is, is variable, as it all depends on the visitor behavior and the type of ads being shown.
Ezoic also offers a feature to “appify” your website. They can turn your website into an iOS app and have it downloadable on the iTunes store as well, all for a monthly low fee. Turning your site into an app that can be downloaded, is a novel and interesting idea in this new age of mobile, and one of the key benefits of signing up with Ezoic.
Ok, I guess you would be interested to hear how have I done with Ezoic so far?
My verdict so far
After using Ezoic for months now, I can say Ezoic has indeed improved earnings for that particular site. Although the improvements are not spectacular, nonetheless something is still better than nothing at all.
Based on my estimation over the months, Ezoic has improved earnings from that site, in a range from 30-60%. There are periods when the performance drops quite a lot, but overall, it still has made a positive improvement that would not be possible had I not used them at all. I suppose given the instability of Adsense, that Ezoic would also not be immune to this malady as well, and there are times when the performance of Ezoic is indeed like a roller coaster.
So would I keep using Ezoic for that site? Yes, I would, although I would not consider using them for other sites of mine. And I would recommend them for any web publisher who:
- has a suitable site that fulfils their criteria
- is suffering from low CTR (and low CPC).
- has tried new layouts on their own without success
As they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you are confident your website visitors would not mind, why not give Ezoic a try today? But do make sure that your visitors would be ok with the new and ever changing layouts. And you might be pleasantly surprised.Share This: