The CPM of the google adsense unit that was below my posts has recently fallen to below the $1.50CPM threshold I have set for banners, so I have removed it.
Removing poorly performing Adsense units quickly is very important, as they will drag down the earnings of your better Adsense units due to Google’s Smart Pricing. This is where Google will serve higher valued ads on sites with the best earnings potential, so removing poorly performing ads will in most cases mean that you will make more money overall, even though you are displaying fewer banners, as your better positioned ads will get higher value ads served and thus higher CPCs.
Choosing a replacement for the Adsense unit though has been difficult. I’ve already maxed out on my Tribal Fusion ads, so I needed to find another ad network. After some experimentation with some awful networks like AdBrite, I have settled on WidgetBucks. Their ads are performing so well, I might even switch out some of my Tribal Fusion ads as I think WidgetBucks will make me more money.
Approval is required to join. I don’t think WidgetBucks have a min traffic requirement; I think the gating is more about maintaining quality and keeping the dubious sites at bay. Once accepted setup is very quick and a $25 bonus is paid, which is a nice touch.
WidgetBucks serve both pay-per-click ads and CPM ads. Creating code is very simple and rather than having to scroll through dozens of pages, new code can be created in around 4 clicks. The ads can be targetted to specific product categories e.g. Technology, or you can allow WidgetBucks to serve contextual ads to try and maximise earnings. MerchSense evaluates your editorial information daily, so, as your content changes, WidgetBucks will dynamically offer the highest-yielding products.
Not only are the payouts from ads very good, there’s also a decent referral program that pays 5% of the earnings from any referral for 12 months. Not quite lifetime earnings, but 5% is a decent amount, particularly if you hit the jackpot and refer a big site.
If you haven’t tried WidgetBucks and you have some poorly performing (<$2CPM) units on your site then I highly recommend giving WidgetBucks a trial.