Ezoic vs Adthrive Case-Study Results (2022)

Ezoic vs Adthrive Case Study Image

In early 2021 we were approached by Ezoic with bold claims about how they were confident if we switched to Ezoic we’d earn more than our sites were earning with Adthrive – ultimately we’re pessimists and this translated to us as “we’ll put more ads on your pages at the cost of user experience.”

As I’m writing this introduction I truly do not know the results yet, as while things feel positive I’ve not actually analyzed the data — I’ve chosen to keep myself intentionally ignorant to the results so I don’t feel compelled to fiddle with the format or other potentially metric-changing elements of the site we’re testing in this case-study.

We’ve now been with Ezoic for around a year for this case-study, if you want to skip to particular sections of this article rather than read through it as intended you can use the below buttons to go to the section you’re looking for in particular. We’d recommend reading through the first part of the case study though, as it’ll give better context and understanding on how we set up and conducted the case study and plan to move forward with it.

Table of Contents

What Are The Perimeters & Methodology of This Case Study?

Let’s establish some ground rules for this case-study first — we’re going to be using the statistics of the website in questions 6 months of user-metrics with Adthrive before switching to Ezoic, we’re opting for this as this gives Adthrive the best chance to compete against Ezoic as their ads had plenty of time to test and populate on the site before-hand (the site was with Adthrive for well over 6 months before this case-study).

We’ll be adjusting Ezoic’s EMPV metric to RPM to make the earnings more easily understandable, as most ad platforms use RPM rather than EMPV – to do this we’ll simply go into our google analytics data and pull the pageviews during the relevant time-period for Ezoic and then use that figure with the overall earnings to determine the RPM (the same method Adthrive uses). We’ll also rely on google analytics for user data rather than either platform’s data, to try to give them both the most unbiased and equal playing field.

Beyond data-collection being equalized, we’re not going to upgrade our VPS unless it’s hitting its limit and producing page-load failures. We also won’t be changing our hosting provider or our CDN settings unless there’s something drastic that occurs with either of them forcing us to change providers – we’re doing this to make sure we don’t accidentally fudge the data by changing to a faster or slower host/cdn and giving one of the ad platforms an advantage or disadvantage.

We’ll also avoid doing any redesigns or optimization for the first 3-6months of this case-study, as to keep the environment the same as the site had when we were using Adthrive on the site. To give an update on this, the refrained from making any real optimizations or resdeigns of pages/branding the whole case-study.

How Did Earnings Perform Switching from Adthrive to Ezoic? 
(Months 0-3)

While pretty much all of us care about user experience let’s be real — unless the user experience suffered drastically in this case-study then what really matters is how much more or less we earned using Ezoic instead of Adthrive in these last 3 months.

So let’s dive into the revenue change — to reaffirm the figures from Adthrive are from the same site during the previous 6 month period, which included the holiday season, which gives Adthrive a slight advantage due to seasonal RPM fluctuations.

Adthrive results for months July -> January (6 months)

  • Received 397,200 Mobile pageviews generating $3,338.19 in revenue at a RPM of $8.40
  • Received 64,148 Desktop pageviews generating $922.14 in revenue at a RPM of $14.37
  • Recieved 4,702 Tablet pageviews generating $45.49 in revenue at a RPM of $9.67

All in totals:  Received 466,050 pageviews generating $4305.36 in revenue at an RPM of $9.23 RPM in the previous 6 months using Adthrive (July -> January)

Ezoic Results for months January -> April (3 months)

  • Received 324,298 pageviews generating $3727.61 in revenue at a RPM of $11.49
  • Recieved 39,519 pageviews generating $1012.89 in revenue at a RPM of $25.63
  • Recieved 2,401 pageviews generating $24.09 in revenue at a RPM of $10.03

All in totals: Received 366,218 pageviews generating $4764.57 in revenue (excluding Ezoic Premium) for an all-in-total RPM of $13.01 throughout the first 3 months of this case-study.

If you want to include the totals WITH Ezoic premium, which in our opinion is the more fair way to do it, we spent $1,129.63 on Ezoic Premium for the site over this time period, generating $1,866.65 in revenue, meaning we totaled a $737.01 profit using Ezoic premium (not including credit-card rewards!).

So in reality we generated $5501.58 in profit on 366,218 pageviews for an average RPM of $15.02 with Ezoic, when you include the profits from Ezoic Premium (costs excluded).

These results make it abundantly clear – Ezoic produced more revenue than Adthrive  and not at all by a small margin — and their Premium membership is definitely worth it. With that being said, all that I can think of typing this is my user-metrics must have been obliterated to accomplish this, as there’s no way Ezoic just returned that much more than Adthrive, especially during a worse seasonal period.

How Did User-Metrics Perform Switching from Adthrive to Ezoic?

I’m a little worried starting this section, as ultimately user metrics are pretty much always affected negatively by an increase in revenue, which makes me wonder what cost may I have paid switching to Ezoic from Adthrive. Let’s see.

To once again clarify – the user metrics we’ll list below are the ones taken from google analytics, as I want a fair playing field. I won’t be using the metrics Ezoic gives through their big-data analytics for this reason.

With Adthrive we had the following user-metrics:

  • Average time on page of 3 minutes and 22 seconds
  • Bounce rate of 89.70%
  • Site-Exit rate of 82.95%
  • Average Page-load time of 9.45 seconds
  • Average Sessions per user of 1.21
  • Average Pages per session of 1.21
  • Average sessions duration of 42 seconds

Keep in mind due to the way google analytics tracks such events they may not reflect the actual material user behavior on a site, as if someone does not visit another page for example they will not be recorded, as they bounced from the site before giving google another data-point to calculate their time-on-page from.

However my goal in these user-metrics is to figure out if Ezoic is butchering my site just to spit out the more revenue they claimed they could provide — we should see a worsening of these metrics if that is truly the case, if they did sacrifice my user’s experience by shoving ads down their throat just to boost my revenue.

With Ezoic we had the following user-metrics:

  • Average time on page of 3 minutes and 19 seconds
  • Bounce rate of 89.59%
  • Site-Exit rate of 82.75%
  • Average Page-load time of 5.63 seconds
  • Average Sessions per user of 1.19
  • Average pages per session of 1.21
  • Average session duration of 42 seconds

To my surprise basically nothing has changed. Sessions per user is down slightly, but not an amount I personally find very significant – but it’ll be interesting to see if this will persist in the coming months of this case-study. It’s a little strange to me that average page-load time reduced so drastically, however user metrics didn’t increase positively (or negatively) to any significant degree.

How is Ezoic Producing such a higher RPM?

Overall I was/am extremely happy with these results – however it made me wonder how Ezoic is producing the higher yield, as I doubt it all boils down to the marketing of “adtechnology and ai placeholders.”

To solve for that I dived into the numbers just now and I think I found the reason: Before switching to Ezoic I asked Adthrive how many ads on average were on each page – they claimed it was around 5. My tests found 6 on average, and sometimes 7, so I’m not sure why the discrepancy, but that’s up for you to decide.

With Ezoic their ‘big data analytics’ tool shows the average ads per page, and during these first 3 months the average ads per page has shown to be between 6 and 7, with a few days going up to 8 during the period (then adjusting back down). When I ‘audited’ these numbers I found 6-7 ads on average.

This sort of explains the revenue increase, at least if you take Adthrive’s word for it that there were only 5 ads per page, but if Ezoic was stuffing so many more ads, then how come user-metrics didn’t show an effect? That just doesn’t make much sense to me.

My conclusion is that maybe while Ezoic may have served more ads than adthrive they did so in a more user-friendly manor, maybe with better quality ads or placement, or maybe they just had a faster system which enabled the faster load-times, which resulted in the extra ads not resulting in an overall negative impact on user-experience compared to when the site was using Adthrive.

What Takeaways can we draw from these first few months?

  • Ezoic produced more revenue for the site RPM-wise, even without Ezoic Premium included.
  • User metrics didn’t show any significant positive or negative effect
  • Page-load time improved massively with Ezoic after switching from Adthrive

I mean even though this is going off just 3 months of data, at this point I’m comfortable going against what my previous suggestions have been in the past few years — that someone should avoid ads until they can get Ezoic, then leave to Adthrive when they have the traffic to do so — I don’t know if I was simply wrong previously and got caught in the marketing of exclusivity that Adthrive portrays, or Ezoic significantly improved their technology in the last couple years, but all I can say is I no longer would tell someone to switch to Adthrive from Ezoic.

My thoughts may change in the coming months, as this case-study continues (I plan to do another 2-3 updates on it over the next year), but at this moment I can’t recommend Ezoic enough — especially if you previously were with Ezoic or have a high-quality site that would get approved for their premium program.

If you’ve found this case-study helpful and want to give Ezoic a go yourself you can sign up through this link and support this ongoing case-study and our site, or you can of course simply go to Ezoic’s homepage and sign up normally. If you end up switching feel free to contact me if you publish a case study of your own on the topic for me to reference to it — especially if you do a case study switching from Mediavine or another adnetwork like that.

How have Things Progressed After The Honeymoon Phase? (Months 3-6)

Okay calling the first three months the honeymoon phase is a bit ridiculous — usually the first 3 months with a new adnetwork result in the worst earnings as their system begins to learn your website and the advertisers they work with begin testing ads on your site, so really it’s usually not a blissful honeymoon phase, but rather walking on eggshells — more like a first date.

Anyhow lets get into the Data for these 3 months — I’ll keep it in the same order as before and put the Adthrive comparison numbers down here as well to make them easy to reference, hopefully making the read easier on you.

Adthrive results for months July -> January (6 months)

  • Received 397,200 Mobile pageviews generating $3,338.19 in revenue at a RPM of $8.40
  • Received 64,148 Desktop pageviews generating $922.14 in revenue at a RPM of $14.37
  • Recieved 4,702 Tablet pageviews generating $45.49 in revenue at a RPM of $9.67

All in totals:  Received 466,050 pageviews generating $4305.36 in revenue at an RPM of $9.23 RPM in the previous 6 months using Adthrive (July -> January)

Ezoic Results for months April -> July (3 months)

  • Received 458,265 mobile pageviews generating $5938.07 in revenue at a RPM of $12.96
  • Recieved 50,054 desktop pageviews generating $1606.35 in revenue at a RPM of $32.09
  • Recieved 2,715 tablet pageviews generating $35.53 in revenue at a RPM of $13.08

All in totals: Received 511,034 pageviews generating $7579.95 in revenue (excluding Ezoic Premium) for an all-in-total RPM of $14.83 throughout the second 3 months of this case-study. Plugging those numbers in after calculating them out, WOW I was shocked, but that was largely because I messed up my calculations at first — upon review and recalculating everything I’m still pleasantly surprised — I didn’t think RPM’s would have went up after they already outperformed Adthrive in the first 3 months so well.

If you want to include the totals WITH Ezoic premium, which in our opinion is the more fair way to do it, we spent $2,194.04 on Ezoic Premium for the site over this time period, generating $3,513.17 in revenue, meaning we totaled a $1,319.13 profit using Ezoic premium (not including credit-card rewards!).

So in reality we generated $8899.08 in profit on 511,034 pageviews for an average RPM of $17.41 with Ezoic, when you include the profits from Ezoic Premium (costs excluded of course), for our second 3 months of this case-study.

Once again I’m incredibly impressed with these results — however the doubt in the back of my mind screams that there is no free lunch, and to get the better earnings they must be sacrificing user-experience in favor of profits…Right? Maybe it’ll appear in the data in this part-2 of the case-study, or maybe I need to lay my doubt down and leave it behind — lets find out.

How Did User-Metrics Perform during the Second Three Months?

This section doesn’t need more introduction — I’ll simply go over the adthrive numbers again to make it easy to compare them to the numbers in these last few months of the case-study. For reference, during the first period of the case-study Ezoic didn’t actually manifest in worse user-metrics, which supprised me given the massive revenue increase they gave compared to adthrive.

Same methodology will apply — all data will be sourced from a neutral source (google analytics) rather than Adthrive or Ezoic, to ensure the events/tracking is done in the exact same way without room for recording error.

With Adthrive we had the following user-metrics:

  • Average time on page of 3 minutes and 22 seconds
  • Bounce rate of 89.70%
  • Site-Exit rate of 82.95%
  • Average Page-load time of 9.45 seconds
  • Average Sessions per user of 1.21
  • Average Pages per session of 1.21
  • Average sessions duration of 42 seconds

Keep in mind due to the way google analytics tracks such events they may not reflect the actual material user behavior on a site, as if someone does not visit another page for example they will not be recorded, as they bounced from the site before giving google another data-point to calculate their time-on-page from.

However my goal in these user-metrics is to figure out if Ezoic is butchering my site just to spit out the more revenue they claimed they could provide — we should see a worsening of these metrics if that is truly the case, if they did sacrifice my user’s experience by shoving ads down their throat just to boost my revenue.

During the Second 3 Months with Ezoic we had the following user-metrics:

  • Average time on page of 3 minutes and 26 seconds
  • Bounce rate of 88.57%
  • Site-Exit rate of 81.29%
  • Average Page-load time of 5.79 seconds
  • Average Sessions per user of 1.24
  • Average pages per session of 1.23
  • Average session duration of 47 seconds

So breaking this down — the site got slower in these last few months, which could be blamed on Ezoic, or one of the other sites on the virtual-machine that runs the site with the case-study over doubled in traffic during the last few months (this website), which may have contributed to the worsened load speed. I cannot be sure, however regardless of this the data speaks volumes — even with the slight slowdown in page load times (which may not be caused by Ezoic) compared to last period all other user-metrics improved.

To put it clearly — even if we take the bad faith assumption and put the blame on Ezoic for the slow-down, which may or may not be the case, their ai-based ad placement tech, which I used to think was largely marketing, ACTUALLY works — and not just to squeeze out more revenue, but it learned where to place the ads to increase all the relevant user-experience metrics.

Another thing to keep in mind is, assuming Ezoic was the one at fault for the slower page load time relative to the first 3 months with them, they’re still wildly beating Adthrive’s page load time, and quite honestly what matters is not how fast the page loads, but how much users like their overall experience. 

Maybe Ezoic’s AI figured out an extra ad, which increases page load times, actually would improve user experience for some strange reason, and this not only generated more revenue but also improved user-experience at large, even with the decline in page-speed load time relative to the previous 3 month period — regardless I like taking a data-approach to things, and if the users are more happy with a slower loading page then it shouldn’t be a problem to me.

What Takeaways can we conclude from the second 3 months?

  • Ezoic’s ‘Ai-Intelligent Ad Placement System’ isn’t just marketing bs, but is real and quite exceptional
  • Over Time Ezoic DOES improve it’s revenue and user-experience metrics thanks to their AI-thingy
  • Ezoic Premium (When on a Yearly Plan) Provides Clear Increases in Profits and is worth it if you plan to stay with Ezoic
  • If someone is not fully satisfied with their initial Ezoic experience it may be worth holding out a few months for their AI to do it’s magic

I’d say I’m confident at this point in saying Ezoic, at least currently, seems to be the best adplatform on the market — at least for websites that are involved in the food, health, recipe, etc, sort of niches like the case-study site primarily is involved with, as these results are blowing every other network I’ve used for this website out of the water, and not by a small margin.

Before I was on the edge, no longer recommending people switch from Ezoic to Adthrive — now I’d actively say the opposite, that people should switch to Ezoic and at least try them out again, as they’re really doing much better than they used to — I’m not sure if they acquired a better ai from another company, or what changes they’ve made in the last year or two to make them so much better than they used to be, but whatever they did had a huge impact.

If you’ve found this case-study helpful and want to give Ezoic a go yourself you can sign up through this link and support this ongoing case-study and our site, or you can of course simply go to Ezoic’s homepage and sign up normally. If you end up switching feel free to contact me if you publish a case study of your own on the topic for me to reference to it — especially if you do a case study switching from Mediavine or another adnetwork like that.

If you do decide to switch, or try out Ezoic I’d encourage you to give them a good 3 -> 6 months of testing before making a decision on if you should stay with them or not, as it’s clear to me now that they do perform better over time once their ai ‘learns your site,’ and that’s not just marketing.

How Did The Final Few Months of this Case-Study Perform?
(Months 6-9)

By this time Ezoic has had more than enough time to learn the site, get approval-for-placement from their private ad clients, and test all their different ad placement suggestions, so these last 3 months (well we have 2 bonus months we’ll cover later as well) should give a good idea on how the ongoing revenue Ezoic will provide in relation to how much it provided in the first 6 months using them.

Anyhow lets get into the Data for these 3 (+2) months — I’ll keep it in the same order as before and put the Adthrive comparison numbers down here as well to make them easy to reference, hopefully making the read easier on you.

Adthrive results for months July -> January (6 months)

  • Received 397,200 Mobile pageviews generating $3,338.19 in revenue at a RPM of $8.40
  • Received 64,148 Desktop pageviews generating $922.14 in revenue at a RPM of $14.37
  • Recieved 4,702 Tablet pageviews generating $45.49 in revenue at a RPM of $9.67

All in totals:  Received 466,050 pageviews generating $4305.36 in revenue at an RPM of $9.23 RPM in the previous 6 months using Adthrive (July -> January)

Ezoic Results for months July -> October (3 months)

  • Received 408,099 mobile pageviews generating $5370.39 in revenue at a RPM of $13.16
  • Recieved 53,375 desktop pageviews generating $1429.15 in revenue at a RPM of $26.77
  • Recieved 3,014 tablet pageviews generating $28.63 in revenue at a RPM of $9.51

All in totals: Received 464,488 pageviews generating $6,826.16 in revenue (excluding Ezoic Premium) for an all-in-total RPM of $14.70 throughout the second 3 months of this case-study. Basically no-change from the months prior, so those weren’t particularly good months or anything unique – but rather is the new standard. This makes me think Ezoic does take a couple months to ramp up RPM’s, but once there they are quite stable.

If you want to include the totals WITH Ezoic premium, which in our opinion is the more fair way to do it, we spent $2,377.45 on Ezoic Premium for the site over this time period, generating $3,832.81in revenue, meaning we totaled a $1,455.36 profit using Ezoic premium (not including credit-card rewards!).

So in reality we generated $8,281.52 in profit on 464,488 pageviews for an average RPM of $17.83 with Ezoic, when you include the profits from Ezoic Premium (costs excluded of course), for these last 3 months of the case-study. 

So it does appear there are slight improvements taking place in regards to overall RPM, resumably because Ezoic’s system has continued learning the site, the premium partners who want to advertise on that site in particular have increased, and likely a variety of other smaller factors. 

How Did User-Metrics Perform during the Final 3 Months of the Case-Study?

This section doesn’t need more introduction — I’ll once again simply go over the adthrive numbers again to make it easy to compare them to the numbers in these last few months of the case-study. For reference, during the first period of the case-study Ezoic didn’t actually manifest in worse user-metrics.

That surprised me given the massive revenue increase they gave compared to adthrive, and in the subsequent (second) 3-month period the site experienced slight slow-down in speeds, but overall user-metrics remained strong and the site was still faster than it was with adthrive.

Same methodology will apply — all data will be sourced from a neutral source (google analytics) rather than Adthrive or Ezoic, to ensure the events/tracking is done in the exact same way without room for recording error.

With Adthrive we had the following user-metrics:

  • Average time on page of 3 minutes and 22 seconds
  • Bounce rate of 89.70%
  • Site-Exit rate of 82.95%
  • Average Page-load time of 9.45 seconds
  • Average Sessions per user of 1.21
  • Average Pages per session of 1.21
  • Average sessions duration of 42 seconds

Keep in mind due to the way google analytics tracks such events they may not reflect the actual material user behavior on a site, as if someone does not visit another page for example they will not be recorded, as they bounced from the site before giving google another data-point to calculate their time-on-page from.

However my goal in these user-metrics is to figure out if Ezoic is butchering my site just to spit out the more revenue they claimed they could provide — we should see a worsening of these metrics if that is truly the case, if they did sacrifice my user’s experience by shoving ads down their throat just to boost my revenue.

During the Second 3 Months with Ezoic we had the following user-metrics:

  • Average time on page of 3 minutes and 31 seconds
  • Bounce rate of 88.85%
  • Site-Exit rate of 81.98%
  • Average Page-load time of 6.87 seconds
  • Average Sessions per user of 1.24
  • Average pages per session of 1.22
  • Average session duration of 46 seconds

So breaking this down — the site’s user-experience metrics stayed more or less the exact same with the exception of time-on-page creeping up slightly (good thing), and average page-load time jolting up around a whole second — which is absolutely horrific.

With that being said, when scrolling up to write this section comparing it to adthrive’s numbers, the average page-load time with Ezoic is STILL over 2 seconds lower than it was with Adthrive, so this isn’t really an issue, just like it wasn’t in the previous few months.

Bonus months Results & Conclusions About Ezoic vs Adthrive (Months 9-12)

While originally I planned this case-study to be only 9 months in length, I was too busy to update the case-study until around the new year so I have a few months extra of data I’d like to share before I close out this case-study for good — no further updates beyond early 2022 will be made in the data, as the website is now under-contract for sale, and will be out of my hands next month.

In these last 3 months prepping for the sale of the site the user-metrics have stayed more or less identical, with the exception of speed – which has improved slightly over the last months, coming out at 6.67 page-load speed times — earnings has stayed more or less the same as well, with a slight decrease due to lower traffic but more or less identical RPM’s (within 5% of previous periods figures), so my speculation before that numbers likely were stabilising was correct.

Overall I’m very satisfied with how Ezoic performed compared to Adthrive, and will continue using them for this site for the foreseeable future for this website, my primarily website now – not just for the CPM benefits but more-so for the extra features and data Ezoic provides compared to the other adnetworks, as well as the ability to disable ads by page which is extra-useful when dealing with high-commission affiliate offers that you may not want ads placed on.

Ezoic vs Adthrive Casestudy Frequently Asked Questions:

If you have any questions you’d like answered for this Ezoic vs Adthrive case-study feel free to contact us through our contact page and we can answer them for you — but here are some questions we’ve either been asked many times in the past about this article or think many people might have about it.

Why didn’t we split-test Ezoic vs Adthrive, to have results for them both during the same time period?

This is because Adthrive refused to let us do this — Ezoic was open to the offer and said they’d even work with the Adthrive team to make sure Split-testing was being done in a fair manner. In the end Adthrive wouldn’t budge, and that was extremely disappointing to me.

What if I don’t go premium with Ezoic, will it still be worth using?

Absolutely — that was one of my concerns, that Ezoic would be worse than Adthrive unless you had premium — this is why I controlled for Ezoic’s premium revenue and separated it in the case-study.

Ultimately this wasn’t the case, and even without Premium Ezoic showed better results than Adthrive, making Ezoic the clear winner in the revenue department.

What about changing from Adthrive to other providers such as Media.net or Mediavine, or from Ezoic back to Adthrive?

With Ezoic you can change whenever you want, with Adthrive you’ll need to give a 30-day notice before leaving them. As for moving from Adthrive to another adplatform that isn’t Ezoic, this case-study can’t answer that, but ultimately in the past my experience has been that other adnetworks produce mediocre results compared to both Adthrive and Ezoic.

Mediavine is a decent alternative, but generally in my experience it performed about the same as Adthrive, so my expectations for it would be that Ezoic would likely outperform Mediavine currently — especially if you did manage to get Ezoic Premium membership.

What’s the average RPM of Ezoic and is it better than adthrive?

This varies entirely by the site you have, the niche, the type of content, the length of the content — but generally from our experience you can expect from $8 to $20 RPM for most websites with Ezoic — for websites primarily targeting non-western countries (USA, Canada, Australia, UK, Germany) you’ll probably have a lower RPM, but for some niches like finance you may get more, around $30 -> $40 in our experience.

As for how it compares to adthrive, as demonstrated in this case study comparison, we’ve personally had much higher RPM’s with Ezoic lately than with Adthrive.

Is Ezoic Premium Worth It?

Without a doubt, after a year with Ezoic and the vast majority with Ezoic premium, we’d definitely say it’s worth it. Without it Ezoic is just another adnetwork with more data-analytics, but with it Ezoic is an absolute CPM beast — the only reason we’d say NOT to use ezoic premium is if you plan to sell the website in the next few months, at that point it wouldn’t always be worth renewing or joining Ezoic premium, as you may need to pay to get out of the contract upon sale of the site, but otherwise it’s an absolute no-brainer.