In the digital ad world, there is one thing you can always rely on: Change.  Sure, there are plenty of blogs and websites that stick a few AdSense ads on a page and are happy with the return.  Google has been pretty good presenting the air of stability with AdSense. So sometimes publishers can get a bit lazy and settle with it.

However, if you have dipped your toes into the other possibilities out there, you know there are hundreds of networks and management services out there willing to work with any website that has real traffic.  The problem recently has become the bar to entry into these networks for most websites.  For example, it used to be that you could pretty much rely on networks like Pulsepoint, Amazon CPM, Sovrn, Komoona, etc. to setup a big ad waterfall and generate great returns on a modest website.  These days, the networks have set-up a ton of restrictions on traffic volume, quality, and more.  So it’s very hard to get approvals and a stable revenue stream going.  One main reason is that the larger networks are leaving the re-selling arena and going straight to the owned websites (mostly larger sites though).  Hence why many websites are crawling back to AdSense.

So what is the illustrious website owner to do in order to generate higher returns?  Well, you go set-up your own header bidding technology, but that is very complex to set-up and often the learning curve is hard to deal with.  The good news is that we are starting to see the landscape of companies that manage ads grow.  Basically Company A will work with all of these large networks in their own complex header bidding set-up and get your site into the mix.  They add you into their own stream alongside sites that they own, adding value to them, and allowing you access to some advanced ad technology.  And you can let them deal with the server headaches and potential problems.

The ad management companies that are springing to life are injecting a newfound wave of publisherd who let the ad professionals handle it instead of having to figure it out for themselves.  We put together a small list of these ad management companies to give you an idea of the pluses and minuses of each of the majors.

Newor Media

Positives: Very responsive company with machine learning technology. Low barrier to entry and reportedly amazing revenue returns.

Negatives: Hard to find much about the company in terms of branding or feedback.



Ezoic

Positives: Certified Google partner with that is easy to set-up and very responsive.

Negatives:  Often reported to give low returns for sites that do not have a strong click-through rate.  Also, their technology is advanced but the tools are reportedly hard to use.

Sortable

Positives: Has a long history of managing ads and solid profitability.

Negatives:  Barrier to entry might be high for your average site.  They tend to only want to work with larger sites. Also the effort they put into the ad structure may depend on the size of your site.

FreeStar



P
ositives: Machine learning and lots of advanced technology.

Negatives:  Just like Sortable, they tend to only work with large sites and base their efforts on the size of the site, and we have heard cases where they tend to have a very strong pitch but under-perform in terms of revenue.
The bottom line is that if you do not know much about the ad world (and there is ALOT to know and learn), it may be better to let the professionals handle it.  The most important thing we can say is that there has been quite a bit of change in the ad world over the last 6-12 months, but don’t fret too much.  The advantages of these companies is that they do all the work for you and just skim a bit off the top.  So far, it seems like all of them are better than settling for AdSense.

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