Ever since starting witandfolly.co a year ago one of my goals has been to partner with Ezoic because of its powerful data-driven AI ad system that I kept hearing about. At the beginning of the year witandfolly.co got approved and this is my 1-month review of how things have gone with them.
Our website is still relatively small at about the 10k visitors a month mark. If you have a blog this size or are just starting, I hope this will give you an idea of what to expect.
I plan to update this article every month so you can follow along on our progress with Ezoic. If there is anything else you would like to see in this review, just let me know too!
What is the Ezoic Platform?
Ezoic is an end to end platform that gives publishers, bloggers and website owners a complete set of tools to monetize and improve their website. The most well-known tools in their platform and the one I will be talking about the most is Ezoic’s Ad tester.
What makes Ezoic’s Ad Tester unique when compared to other ad platforms like strictly Google Adsense, Media.net or another ad network is that Ezoic uses data-driven machine learning to optimize the how, what and where ads are placed on your site.
The cool thing is that once you are set up to run Ezoic on your site, you don’t need to do anything. Ezoic’s Ad Tester will automatically split test ad density, ad location, and the behaviors of different segments of visitors when they visit your site in order to figure out what ad configuration should be shown to what user.
Then over time, as more data from your site is fed to Ezoic’s AI system, the ad configuration on your site will continue to improve and will perform better. This has been proven to improve user experience and increase overall site engagement, which in turn increases the revenue earned from the display ads.
As I mentioned already, in addition to the Ad Tester, Ezoic also has an entire suite of tools that can help you improve your website. Here are my favorite tools that come with using Ezoic:
Site Speed Accelerator
This is Ezoic’s site speed and caching tool which can dramatically improve your page speed. Based on Ezoic’s own study from December 2019, they claimed that on average websites increased their site speed by 200% after implementing the Site Speed Accelerator.
From my own experience after implementing the Site Speed Accelerator, my site speed didn’t increase by 200%, but it did increase by more than 100%. This is much better than other site speed plugins I have tried.
Note: They offer a free 7-day trial, but after the trial period there is a minimal monthly fee based on website traffic.
Big Data Analytics
Ezoic’s free analytics tool which looks and feels a lot like Google Analytics. The difference is that with Big Data Analytics you will be able to see much more specific ad revenue data like revenue by landing page and revenue by device. It would not be possible to track these types of metrics through the free version of Google Analytics.
Google AMP Converter
This free tool allows you to convert any of your website’s pages into a Google AMP compliant mobile site. The good thing about going through Ezoic’s AMP converter is that it is guaranteed to be compatible with your ad set-up and will maintain your desktop site’s functionality.
One issue with other AMP converters is that they can strip the AMP version of your site of certain functions such as button and menu functionality. I’m not going to get into the details of what Google AMP is, but if you want to learn more here is a great article from HubSpot.
Ezoic’s Layout Tester works in a similar way as the Ad Tester, except that it tests your page layout instead of ad layout. With the Layout Tester, Ezoic’s system will automatically perform a series of multivariate tests to determine which layout is best suited for which user segment and will display the best layout based on the data. The Layout Tester also runs the same multivariate tests for your mobile pages.
I haven’t been able to use this tool yet, but once my Ad Tester has had more time to collect data, I plan to use this too.
Items to Consider Before Going with Ezoic
Melissa and I started this website pretty recently so I still remember how difficult it can be to get your blog off the ground. You have to build the site, write content, figure out SEO, worry about if people will read your articles and then think about how you’re going to monetize the website.
I think the best way to build your site is to take it one step at a time and to look forward to certain milestones like hitting a certain traffic volume, having your first $5 day or getting approved by ad networks.
As I mentioned already, one of the biggest milestones for our website so far has been getting approved by Ezoic.
Although it would be awesome if everyone who wanted to join Ezoic could, there are certain requirements that you have to meet before you get approved. This is similar to other ad networks and it ensures that your website will be able to perform to a high standard.
Here are the Ezoic requirements that you have to meet to get approved:
Ezoic requires your website to have at least 10k visits per month. As I went over already, Ezoic is a data-driven AI system so they require 10k visits per month minimum in order to be able to collect enough data to optimize your site.
With that said, depending on the quality of your content and if you meet the other requirements below, you might be able to get approved just short of 10k visits per month. Our website got approved in January 2020 and in that month we received 9.2k visits.
Compliant with Google
Ezoic is a Google Certified Publishing partner, which means your site needs to be compliant with Google’s policies in order to be in the Ezoic ad network. This includes, but is not limited to the following (source):
- No invalid clicks / impressions
- Not falsely encouraging clicks
- Not offering copyrighted material / downloads
- Not offering counterfeit goods
- The site should have reliable traffic sources
- Not using automatically generated content
- Not creating empty pages with no original content
- Not using content that is copied from other webpages
- Not keyword stuffing
- Not using adult / dangerous / derogatory content
- Not offering alcohol / tobacco / healthcare related content
- Not using aggressive / threatening content
- Not using illegal content
Google Ad Exchange Approved
Contrary to what many people think, you actually don’t need to be approved for Google Adsense in order to use Ezoic. (Thanks to Johnny from thephotographerspassport.com for sharing this from his own experience).
There are some benefits if you do already have a Google Adsense account as you can connect your Ezoic account to your Google Adsense to pull your historical Adsense data. This will allow Ezoic to create a baseline for your website and optimize your ad revenue quicker.
With that said, you will need to apply and be approved for the Google Ad Exchange after your integration with Ezoic in order to start serving ads. The process is really simple to do and only takes a few minutes.
The good news is that since Ezoic is a Google Certified Publishing Partner, there is a very high likelihood of you getting approved for the Google Ad Exchange if you have already been approved for Ezoic.
Note: If you have not applied for Google Adsense yet, it doesn’t hurt to apply now as the time it takes to get approved can vary. To give you an idea, it took about a month for Google Adsense to approve this website. If you don’t know how, just head over to the Google Adsense page for clear instructions on the application process.
Quality Content Rich Informational Site
Ezoic is looking for websites that publish consistent high-quality content that is informational for the reader. As of now, they don’t work with any e-commerce sites, but if you have a blog connected to your e-commerce site it could work.
Site Speed and Caching Plugin Compatibility - Not a Requirement, Just Something to Keep in Mind
This is not an Ezoic requirement, but it is something to keep in mind before you start going through the Ezoic set up process. Some caching plugins such as WP Rocket only work with Ezoic if you integrate through Nameserver. It’s best to check with your Ezoic account manager and your site speed and caching plugin developer on Ezoic compatibility before you get started.
3 Primary Ways to Integrate your Site with Ezoic
- WordPress Plugin: I chose this option as I have no technical knowledge and did not have CloudFlare CDN when I went through the initial set up. The downside is you do not get all the functionality of Ezoic.
- CloudFlare CDN: Integrating through Cloudflare CDN is one of the most common and easiest ways to integrate your site. You get full Ezoic functionality.
- Nameserver: Integrating through nameserver is also one of the most common and easiest ways to integrate your site. You get full Ezoic functionality.
Let’s Get Into What Ezoic is All About
The biggest reason why people decide to go with Ezoic and the reason why I decided to go with Ezoic is that they claim they are able to increase your ad revenue through its data-driven AI system.
In fact, according to a study they conducted in 2019, they found that on average a site was able to increase their ad revenue by 259% and EPMV, which means how much money you are making per 1,000 visitors increased by 123% after integrating with Ezoic for 1 year.
The study includes websites at all traffic levels from 2k visitors per month all the way to 500k visitors per month. I thought it would be interesting to see what type of improvements a small site like ours with roughly 10k visitors per month could expect.
After filtering the data set from the study, this is what I found:
- Out of the 50 websites that are in the report, 9 websites started with Ezoic with monthly traffic below or near 10k visitors per month.
- These 9 websites averaged a monthly revenue increase of 108.70%
- The same 9 websites averaged a monthly EPMV increase of 46.82%
What is notable is that in 3 out of the 9 sites, monthly traffic declined after a year while EPMV still increased. In my opinion, this is likely due to the Ezoic’s AI system optimizing the ad configuration on these sites to best service its different visitor segments.
The increase in revenue isn’t the only benefit you get from integrating your site with Ezoic. Here are some of the other big advantages you get compared to other ad platforms that you are able to apply for at the 10k visitors per month level.
- Automated Multivariate Testing: It would be close to impossible to test and optimize all the combinations of ad placements and layouts at the scale Ezoic does. Just to give you an idea of the number of combinations that Ezoic is testing for you AUTOMATICALLY, take a look at this chart which shows the number of ad combinations tested based on how many ad placeholders you place on your site.
- Ease of Use: Ezoic is super easy to set up and the control panel is intuitive to use. If you have any issues, they also have incredible customer service and loads of information on their website.
- Customer Service: The customer service Ezoic provides is one of the best I have ever encountered. Once you are approved, you will be connected with an account manager who will help you set up the Ad Tester and is there to answer any questions that you might have. I swear it seems like, Laura, my Ezoic account manager never takes a day off!
- Improved User Experience: One of the downsides of running ads on your site is a more clunky user experience. The good thing about Ezoic is that over time it will be able to customize the user experience to different visitor segments after it has had enough time to collect data.
My Experience with Ezoic After 1 Month (Will Be Updated Monthly)
After reading about these results with Ezoic, I’m very excited to see how our website will progress over this next year.
Since this website just got approved for Ezoic and has only been running Ezoic’s ad tester for just about a month, I plan to update this section monthly so that you can follow along with how things are going.
So far I have 5 months of Google Adsense earnings data and 1 month of Ezoic earnings data to give you a baseline of where I am starting from.
Again, as of now, this site gets a decent amount of traffic at about 10k visitors per month, but it is by no means a large website. I hope by sharing these website stats with you, it’ll give you an idea of what to expect at these early growth stages of your website when it comes to ad revenue.
Note: One of the biggest downsides of Google Adsense when you first get started is that their withdrawal minimum is $100 versus Ezoic’s $20. This means it could be many months until you’re able to withdraw your first paycheck from Google Adsense when you’re growing to the 10k visitors per month milestone.
Timeline of Displaying Ads on witandfolly.co
July 2019 - First full month with Google Adsense
- Visitors: 4,108
- Pageviews: 5,609
- Google Adsense Revenue: $9.09
- Visitors: 5,458
- Pageviews: 7,129
- Google Adsense Revenue: $23.47
- Visitors: 6,375
- Pageviews: 8,226
- Google Adsense Revenue: $22.35
- Visitors: 7,112
- Pageviews: 9,178
- Google Adsense Revenue: $21.77
- Visitors: 8,189
- Pageviews: 10,465
- Google Adsense Revenue: $36.27
- At this point, I decided to decrease the amount of Google Ads shown as I didn’t think it was worth the low earnings for the potential negative user experience.
- Visitors: 8,747
- Pageviews: 11,559
- Google Adsense Revenue: $29.48
- I started to move over from strictly Google Adsense to Ezoic. On January 13, 2020, I fully integrated witandfolly.co with Ezoic and ran all our ads through them.
- Visitors: 9,205
- Pageviews: 11,957
- Google Adsense Revenue: $9.09
- EPMV using Google Adsense from July 2019 – January 2020 was $2.51.
- The site has been integrated with Ezoic from January 13, 2020, until now.
- We ended the month of February with an EPMV of $3.43, which was an increase of 36% from using strictly Google Adsense!
- March was a crazy month and not in a good way. After the COVID 19 Pandemic hit, our lost ~25% of its traffic as many of our top ranking pages are in the travel niche.
- On the positive side, we also have strong content in the photography / videography niche so we were not hit as hard as some of our friends in the travel industry.
- The EPMV decreased to $2.31 for the month which made sense as our traffic decreased.
- Due to the ongoing pandemic, we are focusing our efforts into the photography / videography niche and are optimistic about the sites potential in the long term.
- April was more of the same as March and our overall site traffic remained lower than about 25% from our highs before the COVID19 pandemic.
- Our shift in content focus to more photography / videography seems to be working. We published at least 1 long form piece of content every week and some pages are ranking on page 1 of the Google SERP already.
- EPMV decreased to $1.44 which made sense as we removed ads from some of our top ranking pages to run content promotions.
- May was a great month and all of our efforts from shifting our content focus to photography / videography paid off.
- Our site traffic exploded and we increased our monthly visitors by about 70% from January 2020 highs.
- EPMV also increased to $2.64 for the month of May and I expect it to continue to increase through the rest of the year.
- June was our best month yet and all of our efforts from shifting our content focus to photography / videography has continued to pay off. We are also starting to see traffic again in our travel focused articles which is exciting to see.
- Our site traffic nearly doubled from May and we increased our monthly visitors by about 78% month over month.
- EPMV also increased to $3.81 for the month of June and I expect it to continue to increase through the rest of the year. So far it has been true that Ezoic gets better with time as its machine learning churns through more of your websites data.
Overall I have been extremely happy with Ezoic after 1 month of working with them. Other than running into a little trouble with my site speed and caching plugin compatibility with Ezoic at first, set up was really easy to complete and now Ezoic is automatically collecting data and optimizing my ad configuration day in and day out.
Clearly, the best part about working with Ezoic is their customer service. I mentioned it before, but from the beginning, I was connected with an account manager who was there to answer any questions I had and to help me set up Ezoic.
They have even provided timely reports on the growth of my EPMV over time. Even though this is still a smaller site, my account manager doesn’t treat it like that whatsoever.
Ezoic is just starting to collect data from this website and there is still a lot of room to grow, so I’m excited to see the progress that is made. Based on their timeline, here is what I can expect in the upcoming months.