The Top 5 Ad Management Companies Reviewed For 2021

Brian Babor

Brian Babor

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: June 24, 2021

Deciding which Ad Management company to partner with in 2021 is more important than ever. With an ever-changing ad tech landscape, cookieless advertising, GDPR, ad fraud, and all other challenges faced in digital advertising, you need a partner that looks after your best interest. You need to partner with a company that is transparent in its operations, does not cut corners or pursues shady practices, and most of all increases your ad revenue. 

In this article, we’ve reviewed five of the top Ad Management companies in the ad tech space. We’ll take a closer look at MonetizeMore, Ezoic, Freestar, Sortable, and Mediavine for our Ad Network Reviews. We’ll dive deeper into their operations, product offerings, features, and shortcomings to help publishers partner with the best. 

Top Ad Management Companies

1. MonetizeMore

MonetizeMore was started by Kean Graham in 2010 and has turned into one of the top ad optimization companies. They’ve partnered with hundreds of publishers to optimize their ad inventory. 

Monitize More

Besides being well known within the ad tech industry, MonetizeMore has been recognized as an authority by Google. In 2020 they officially became a Google Certified Publisher Partner for the North American region. They also received the innovation of the year award in 2020 for their work developing Traffic Cop, their invalid traffic solution.

Products, features, and pros of working with MonetizeMore

MonetizeMore offers a full range of ad optimization services and ad tech solutions to publishers ranging from hands-off to self-serve options. Here are the products offered by MonetizeMore:

Ad optimization services

With their ad optimization services, they cater to a wide range of publishers grouped in the following tiers:

Starter: focused on publishers with monthly revenue of $1,000+
Professional: focused on publishers with monthly revenue of $5,000+
Premium: focused on publishers with monthly revenue of $20,000+
Enterprise: focused on publishers with monthly revenue of $100,000+

Take a look at the image below for a comparison of the different features offered by each plan: 

Monitizemore Features

The PubGuru ad ops platform

With PubGuru, MonetizeMore enables publishers to monitor and manage their ad optimization operations within a unified platform. Within PubGuru, publishers get access to multiple reports and tools such as:

Ad Networks report

Gain an overview of all their ad network performance and compare results in a unified report.

Discrepancy report

Dive deeper into discrepancies between ad networks and save hours of manual work.

Revenue attribution report

Track and compare the ad performance of individual campaigns via UTMs.

Smart notifications

Notifies when there are errors within an ad setup and how to fix those errors.

Content policy report

Flags any potential content policy issues with AdSense and helps fix them before they lead to account bans.

You can find out more about PubGuru here

Here is a quick overview of the PubGuru platform: 

Traffic Cop

Traffic Cop is MonetizeMore’s invalid traffic detection and prevention solution. This technology integrates with PubGuru and gives publishers access to the IVT report, which shows them the percentage of suspected and blocked invalid traffic. What’s truly great about Traffic Cop is that it uses machine learning and fingerprinting algorithms to detect and prevent invalid traffic from seeing publisher ads. 

Most solutions only detect invalid traffic. This one actually blocks it. As a result, publishers get to keep their hard-earned ad revenue and don’t need to worry about getting banned from Google due to invalid traffic. Traffic Cop also won the Google Innovation of the Year Award, which further shows its effectiveness in combating ad fraud.

Find out more about Traffic Cop here

The PubGuru Ad Inspector Chrome Extension

PubGuru Ad Inspector is a free tool offered by MonetizeMore that helps publishers to troubleshoot any ad setup for any website. It’s also free, which is great!  

With this Chrome extension, you can take a deep dive into ads, bidders that won the header bidding auction, look at technical logs, check for GDPR compliance, and much more. It’s the swiss army knife for publishers looking to improve their troubleshooting tasks and cut down on wasting time with outdated tools.

You can find PubGuru Ad Inspector here

Some potential negatives of working with MonetizeMore

MonetizeMore is mostly geared towards larger sophisticated publishers that have a deeper level of understanding when it comes to adtech. Unlike Ezoic, they do not cater to small publishers. They’ve developed amazing technology such as their PubGuru platform, but there is some learning curve to understanding its full potential (although tutorials are provided for that). 

Another side effect of catering to larger publishers is the onboarding process can be a bit longer than the alternatives because it’s more of a sophisticated setup.

Conclusion

With MonetizeMore’s customization, integration with publisher ad accounts, and sophisticated reports, it’s clear they are the best fit for huge publishers. Of all the ad ops companies, they have the highest minimums and seem to cater to a more sophisticated publisher. 

PubGuru, Traffic Cop, and even PubGuru Ad Inspector seem to have been built to be useful tools to complement in-house ad op teams. They help ad op teams to uncover revenue increase opportunities but also prevent clawbacks, policy issues, technical issues, and account bans.

Sign up to MonetizeMore here

Rating: 8.5/10

2. Ezoic

Ezoic

Ezoic offers a wide range of optimization tools to publishers within their ad optimization platform. Dwayne Lafleur started the company in 2010 after running one of the first Facebook ad networks called Cubics. 

During his time at Cubics, Dwayne had a revelation about the connection between UX and ad revenue. Ezoic grew from that idea. Like MonetizeMore and many other companies, they give publishers access to Google Ad Exchange and the premium pool of advertisers it provides.

Products, features, and pros of working with Ezoic

Ezoic positions itself as a company that uses machine learning and AI technology to optimize ad revenue for publishers. However, they don’t simply focus on ad revenue; they have various tools for improving user experience, site speed, and more, as we’ll discuss below.

With their machine learning technology, they make intelligent ad decisions for each individual website visitor to improve user experience and ad revenue. They make running tests and ad experiments easy by setting up advanced testing environments. Before we get into features, take a look at the image below for a comparison of the different features offered by each plan: 

Ezoic Monetizing Features

Here are the some of the features they offer:

Data Analytics

This helps publishers gain a deeper insight into content, visitor and revenue data as well as how they interact with each other.

Free SSL & CDN

For publishers struggling with technical aspects such as SSL set up and costs, this is a great benefit. They also provide access to a CDN for additional protection and speed improvements.

Privacy & Consent

Ezoic helps publishers become and stay GDPR and CCPA compliant, which is crucial to a successful publishing business.

Script Tester

The script tester enables publishers to run multivariate testing of scripts and widgets and to find out how changes are affecting website visitors.

Ad Tester:

The ad tester uses machine learning to optimize ad revenue and user experience.

Pre-Set Header Bidding

Their header bidding feature simplifies the header bidding process for publishers and helps them to get it up and running without spending thousands on custom development.

Google Ad Manager

Publishers can connect their Google Ad Manager account to the Ezoic system and incorporate AI testing with Google Ad Manager.

AMP Converter

The AMP converter helps publishers optimize their mobile page speed by converting mobile pages to AMP pages and then monetizing them.

Layout Tester

The layout tester uses AI to determine the best ad layouts for visitors, while optimizing user experience and ad revenue.

Direct Ad Orders

Ezoic enables publishers with direct deals to incorporate them into their platform. 

Progressive-Web-App

This feature allows publishers to turn WordPress websites in Progressive-Web-Apps.

Site speed

The site speed features they offer include a site speed accelerator that helps improve Google Page Speed Insights Scores and site load times. They promise a 90+ score, however, this is done in a misleading way which ultimately wouldn’t help SEO.

For publishers that love the idea of a less hands-on approach to ad optimization via machine learning, Ezoic is a great platform to consider. They’ve gone above and beyond to develop a long list of ad optimization and website optimization tools for publishers to help them in their business. 

Their pricing structure is also a little different compared to other ad management companies, and they offer a free trial for new users, a free version where you need to show an ad to their site, 10% commission on ad revenues after that, and more for enterprise publishers. 

Ezoic is a great place to start your ad optimization journey, especially if you’re a small publisher looking for some relatively quick increase in ad revenue and all the tools provided by them. 

Some potential negatives of working with Ezoic

Ezoic is not always the most transparent ad management company when it comes to visibility on gross revenue. The publisher needs to give up their CDN access, meaning they relinquish full control of their site. This is never a good idea. Lastly, some publishers have complained of Ezoic slowing down their page load speed which can have adverse effects on SEO rankings and even ad revenue.

Sign up to Ezoic here.

Rating: 7/10

3. Freestar

Freestar Ad Management Company

Freestar offers tailored Ad Management solutions where they optimize publisher websites or apps using their suite of products for optimal ad revenue.

Products, features, and pros of working with Freestar

Freestar offers a wide range of custom adtech solutions for publishers for all platforms, proprietary header bidding optimization tools, real-time unified dashboards, and more. 

They do not provide much information regarding pricing, and different plans offered publicly on their site. However, keep in mind that they are positioned as tailored ad management solutions.

Let’s take a closer look at all the features offered by Freestar.

Yield management

When joining Freestar, you’ll get access to world-class yield management experts who constantly work to improve publisher website ad revenue while incorporating new demand sources. They conduct monthly, weekly and quarterly reviews of websites. Publishers get access to dedicated account managers ready to assist in whichever way possible. Their yield management services focus on the following:

Viewability

Seeing as viewability is becoming all the more important to advertisers, Freestar’s team optimizes ad layouts, tests new ads, and implements dynamic ad units to improve viewability.

Ad Recovery

Utilizing recovery technology, they focus one recovering ad revenue lost via ad blockers which is still a big issue within the ad industry.

A/B Testing

They A/B test ads, ad units, and ad optimization methods to determine the best setup for each individual publisher and to maximize their ad revenue.

Flex Size Placements

They’ve developed a proprietary ad unit called the SuperFlex to ensure greater ad competition and increase RPMs for publishers.

Real-Time Unified dashboard

Similar to what MonetizeMore offers with PubGuru, Freestar gives publishers access to an advanced unified dashboard where they can see ad revenue stats in real-time. Publishers can utilize the dashboard to monitor demand sources, deliver reports automatically via email, get page level insights using UTMs and more. This gives publishers an advantage in optimizing their ad revenue.

Header bidding wrapper

Their header bidding wrapper is built to integrate with a publisher’s ad stack effortlessly and scale with publishers as they grow in size.

App monetization

Freestar also works with app developers or mobile publishers and offers a lightweight SDK that leverages their proprietary adtech to maximize ad revenue for publishers.

Some potential negatives of working with Freestar

Freestar often has long lock-in periods with publishers, making it difficult to move away if there are any potential issues. As a publisher, you could be testing out Freestar and get good results first, but what if, after the testing period, results decline? Then you are locked in and can’t move to a different ad ops company.

Publishers have to run inventory via the Freestar Google Ad Manager account, which means you lose control of inventory ownership. They also have some questionable tactics in increasing revenues as they’ve been known to use bid shading techniques to push up bids for the short term, but this is not an effective long-term solution.

Sign up to Freestar here.

Rating: 7.5/10

4. Sortable

Sortable

Sortable was started by Christopher Reid in 2014 after being a publisher himself with a product comparison portfolio of sites and apps. With his experience in the industry, he launched Sortable to help publishers achieve the same success through machine learning and ad optimization techniques.

Sortable empowers publishers with a wide range of ad optimization tools including header bidding, ad placement algorithms and viewability tools, while giving them access to multiple demand partners and ad products to optimize ad revenue.

Products, features, and pros of working with Sortable

Not only do they focus on maximizing ad revenue, but user experience is also very important to them, so publishers won’t be left standing with issues after they’ve implemented their ad optimization practices. They also focus on providing full transparency in their reporting tools as well as reliable customer support. That’s just a quick overview; let’s dive deeper into features.

Features offered by Sortable include the following:

Analyzable

This feature enables publishers to optimize their ad revenue using a variety of tools developed by Sortable. This includes analytics and page-level insights, real-time performance metrics via UTMs, and custom page segments for A/B testing. Publishers can use these tools to make informed ad optimization decisions.

Videoable

Sortable helps publishers gain access to out-stream and sponsored video ads without jumping through various hoops to set up and gain access to demand. This makes the process very simple, and you don’t have to create your own video content, which helps save time while increasing ad revenue.

Displayable

With Sortable’s Displayable feature, publishers get a wide selection of ad types to choose from and run on their sites. This enables publishers to find the right balance between ad types and leave room for optimization and testing. Ad units include anchor, banner, native ads, and more.

Demandable

Sortable is uniquely positioned to give publishers access to over 30 advertising partners such as OpenX, Amazon, Google while using their own server-to-server demand to ensure the highest bids win ad impressions. 

Privacy standards and compliance

Similar to what MonetizeMore and Ezoic offer, Sortable helps publishers to become or stay GDPR and CCPA compliant. The difference is that they do it via third-party solutions such as Quantcast.

Ad fraud protection

All demand partners integrated with Sortable run through their proprietary ad quality protection via Confiant to ensure ad quality and to protect publishers from Malware.

Hosted ads.txt

They make the process of optimizing and managing your ads.txt effortless as it’s hosted with their systems. This means as they update their ads.txt file, the publisher’s ads.txt gets updated too. This means less work and more time saved.

Some potential negatives of working with Sortable

Some have complained of lower performance from Sortable compared to other ad management companies. They often have long implementation times, which is not ideal as it translates to lost ad revenue. Additionally, Sortable has a required centralized setup and contract clauses that punish publishers from opting out early.

Sign up to Sortable here.

Rating: 6.5/10

5. Mediavine 

Mediavine Ad Management Company

Mediavine was confounded by Eric Hochberger, Amber Bracegirdle, Matt Richenthal and Stephen Marsi in 2004. They position themselves as a full service ad management service for content creators. They optimize publisher ad revenue so that publishers can focus on content creation which we all know is the lifeblood of any online business. 

Products, features, and pros of working with Mediavine

Mediavine was built by publishers for publishers and understands that there needs to be a balance between user experience and ads and maximizing ad revenue. With this in mind, they’ve developed a range of publisher focused tools to simplify the optimization process for publishers. 

Here are all the features Mediavine offers.

Transparency

Mediavine is dedicated to being transparent with publishers in their operations, without hiding costs and ad revenue. Their intuitive dashboard provides publishers with up-to-date information ad revenue.

Mediavine dashboard

Like many other ad management companies, Mediavine offers a dashboard where publishers can analyze their ad revenue, traffic statistics and get the information needed to optimize their ad inventory.

Site speed

Their ad technology automatically runs lazy loading to ensure ads are served at fast rates, without slowing down the site and hurting user experience.

Video Forward

With Video Forward, publishers can utilize a video player and easily monetize their video content on their sites.

Dynamic Ad Placement

This feature automatically places ads within a publisher’s website to optimize viewability and user experience while staying within the parameters of the Better Ads Standards.

To join Mediavine and use their platform, publisher websites need to generate a minimum of 50,000 sessions per month to gain access to their exclusive demand partners. They look to partner with publishers who understand the value of long-form original content.

You also need to have an AdSense account that is in good standing without account bans. The revenue share publishers pay Mediavine decreases as publishers grow in size.

Some potential negatives of working with Mediavine

One of the biggest negatives for publishers is that you’re giving up total CPM exclusivity to Mediavine. This means you can’t run any other ad network or monetization service with Mediavine. Which can be a big turn-off for publishers with existing ad partner relationships but is great for those of you just getting started.

Another complaint from publishers is that their reporting platform lacks depth. Publishers work in Google Analytics all day and are comfortable with creating complex reports to dive into the nitty-gritty of audience data. Mediavine’s dashboard lacks the granular-level reporting most want.

You need to be able to build custom reports across different dimensions to analyze page-level RPM, geo-specific monetization, and ad unit performance. This is something you would expect from an all-inclusive ad partner.

Sign up Mediavine here.

Rating: 8/10

Brian Babor
For the past 7 years Brian has been a partner and the traffic acquisition specialist at MonetizePros.com. In addition to teaching others how to make more money from your website, they also buy and have built their own portfolio of niche sites mainly focused on audience acquisition campaigns.

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