Ezoic vs Adthrive Case-Study Results (Months 0-3)

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.

What are the perimeters 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 last 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.

How Did Earnings Perform Switching from Adthrive to Ezoic?

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.

Ezoic vs Adthrive Casestudy Months 0-3 FAQs:

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.