What is the Mediavine?
First, we want to make one thing clear. We’re not an “ad network.” We’ve learned that in this industry that’s a very loose term being thrown around.
Generally they’re just run as black holes where all you know is someone is putting ads on your site and sending you a check.
What you often don’t realize is how little they’re doing, and how little value they’re bringing as middle men to middle men.
In fact, we’d argue most of them are actually destroying value by taking your valuable website and lowering the value of your ad placements.
What we’re doing is offering full-service ad management. We want to help you represent your advertising inventory in the best way to the best advertisers for the most money to you.
We’re going to do this by managing your ad server, helping you optimize placements of ads, putting in better price controls, and removing middle men and working directly with advertisers on your behalf.
Why do you need exclusivity to my ad inventory?
In the past, ad networks worked kind of like a pyramid. All these individual publishers fell under one big ad network, and then they would add “waterfall” networks behind that first one.
When you do that, each ad network - the big one and all the little ones in your waterfall - get the authority to list your site on the ad exchanges. Each at their own price.
Let’s put it this way - if you went to the grocery store, and the exact same apple was 1.99, .99, and .39 based on which checkout lane you went through, wouldn’t you still go through the .39 lane, even if it it had the longest line and took you longer to get in front of that checker? That’s exactly how your ads have been working.
A lot of advertisers will choose to go for the lowest rate offered on a particular site’s inventory, even if it means they’re sitting in backfill. They’re still getting the audience they want, and at the cheapest price possible. Especially since they know there’s no way the higher-tiered networks are operating at 100% fill.
What’s worse is if you have multiple ad units with multiple partners, you have a bunch of these pyramids. Or going back to the grocery story analogy, by putting a bunch of ads at the bottom of your sidebar, you’re actually letting a Wal-Mart and other discount stores sell those same apples on your site for even cheaper.
By giving Mediavine exclusive access, we’re going to list your website one time on all the ad exchanges, at one price. We're not an ad network, and we don't operate like one.
If advertisers want your premium demographic of traffic, they’ll have to pay that one price. And believe us, they will.
Why do we know this works? We’ve been doing this on our own sites since the 2015, and more than 2800 publishers since then, and it’s working spectacularly. So well, in fact, that Google agreed to us being a Certified Publishing Partner.
There’s another, more technical reason for the exclusivity too. The deals we’ve been able to obtain right out of the gate with super big advertisers are entirely prefaced on having exclusivity on any of the sites we bring to the party.
We simply can’t include you, contractually, in those super high paying deals, without an agreement of exclusivity in place.
So that’s why the contract you’ll sign is written that way. However, remember that this exclusivity applies to display ads only.
The biggest difference you’re going to notice is you’re not running traditional ad tags with Mediavine. You’re running a single script. That’s because as part of that full service advertising representation, we’re not just running the ad server and ad deals, we’re also optimizing ad placements.
How well your ads perform (think about all those metrics you’ve heard about over the years - viewability, click-through rates (or CTRs), etc) is how well you’re going to do. That, and we’re selling deals across Mediavine as a whole, so we need consistency.
With each site, we start out with our standard ad placements, which we’ve decided on based on years of research, both in the industry and our own experiences.
Our goal is to trial each placement to see what makes you the most money while still providing a great user experience and meshing well with your site’s design.
We’re always work with you until you’re happy with an ad placement or remove it if we can’t make it work.
Here are our standard placements:
These units will appear at the very bottom of the page on mobile, desktop, and tablets. They are highly viewable and great performers across Mediavine.
Above the Fold Sidebar Ad
This unit will appear at the very top of your sidebar. It will render as either a 300x250 or a 300x600.
The Leaderboard and Top Sidebar ads are the only two ads that we sell as “above the fold” and they’re also the only two ads that will load when your site loads, to increase your site’s speed. Everything else is “lazy loaded” - meaning it won’t try to load until a user scrolls near it.
Sticky Sidebar Ad
This unit will appear the end of your sidebar. As the user scrolls past the end of the sidebar and there’s content to continue reading, it will stick to the top of the screen.
The key to this unit’s performance is as short of a sidebar as possible with nice, long content, so that as the reader scrolls down through your content, the unit stays with them for a good long while. This leads to higher viewability, which leads to much higher CPMs.
Since it is lazy loaded, it will not load until a user scrolls near it. Again, the way to maximize this ad is to have it load soon on the page, and scroll with the user a long time.
That means shorter sidebar + longer content = more money for you. Keep that in mind as you write new posts, and reformat your older, most popular ones.
In Content Ads
These 300x250 ads will appear inside your actual content. They work off of paragraph logic, which is customizable in your dashboard to turn up or down the frequency in which they appear.
An easy way to optimize for these ads is to write shorter, 2-3 sentence paragraphs, instead of longer ones, so that you have more opportunity for them to show.
Especially on mobile, where these are the main money earners, this is an important consideration. Many of your fellow publishers will tell you, if you can optimize your content for these ads, they will be instrumental in making you the most money possible.
If you’re a food blogger with a recipe card, the recipe card ad:
A 300x250 that will appear within your recipe card. Users are most engaged with your content inside the recipe card, so this will be your strongest performing unit and if you have mostly recipe content, it will be a large percentage of your revenue.
Believe it or not, how close this ad is to the print button will actually have a big impact on its performance. “Bouncy” users coming in from Pinterest and Facebook tend to head straight for your recipe card, hit print, and bounce out again.
If they’re not engaging with your actual content, you still ought to be making good money off them - after all, you’re giving them a free recipe!
So placing the ad near the print button makes sure that it gets into view for those users, maximizing your earning potential.
How long does this take to make me more money?
So we like to say when you sign up for Mediavine, you’re pressing the reset button on all of your ads. You were previously listing them for sale for as cheap at $0.01 CPM for ad impression. Now we’re asking more than 100-400 times more than that. It’s going to take time for advertisers to learn why they should be spending more on your inventory.
Generally, it will take about 30-60 days of consistent traffic for our advertisers to learn your site’s demographics, traffic and inventory and for us to spot places to optimize further.
We ask for an initial 90 day commitment because we know that we need to give the advertisers time to relearn your site, and for us to be able to work with you to make sure that every placement is making sense in how your unique website operates.
But for our new style of representing your advertising inventory to truly work, we’re going to need at least 3 months for advertisers to learn to appreciate your ad inventory as premium. You should watch a nice slow and steady increase in your CPMs and total RPM over the months you’re with us.
Can I run X advertiser on my site?
With Mediavine Direct you now have the ability to sell ad space on your site to any brand you'd like. The brand will buy into your current auction, ensuring you don't have additional ad placements up, and you are never under-selling yourself.
How do I disable ads on a page?
Often with sponsored posts, the brand is going to want 100% Share of Voice (SOV) — AKA disable all other ads on a page. Or maybe you just want to disable ads on your About Us page. Either way, we can accommodate this. There is a code you can generate right from your dashboard and insert into your post or page you'd like the ads removed from. You can read more about it on our How To Disable Ads on Specific Pages guide.
So there’s generally two major ways you can run ads - synchronous or asynchronously. That little “a” makes a big difference. Synchronously are how traditional ads are run - they stop the entire page from loading as the advertisement loads. They’re the reason most sites are slow and can take up to 20 seconds to fully load! This is also the default that most ad networks run.
Asynchronously means that the ads load at the same time as the the rest of the site. That means your full page can load - images, etc included at the same time as the ads. We use this for our sites. Just check out the site speed of Food Fanatic. Nearly 4-5 times faster on some of those page views.
So why would anyone run synchronously?? The reason they do it is ad performance. If an ad loads synchronously, it has to load before a user can scroll past it. That means higher viewability and chances for a click, so a higher click-thru rate. It pays more, but it completely destroys a site from both a user experience and search engine ranking.
It’s also a lot easier. Setting an advertisement to asynchronously means you need to focus on the rest of the page’s speed. If anything else is loaded synchronously it could load before your advertisements, making the ads load after the page instead of at the same time.
We decided to take the harder, more correct path here - asynchronous. It’s going to lead to happier users and more traffic for everyone. But it also means, we’re going to need to work with you a little closer to make sure your site is optimized to be able to run ads asynchronously.
What’s my cut, what’s your cut?
Our revenue share is a base of 75% to you, the publisher, and 25% to Mediavine, on ads where we have the expense of the ad server. You receive 75% of gross proceeds paid by advertisers and networks as reported by our ad server, while Mediavine receives 25%. There are no other fees for administration and hosting, sales commissions or adjustments for discrepancies.
Revenue shares may increase from 75% based on the following:
- If your site produces 5 million ad impressions over the previous 30 days, your revenue share increases to 80%.
- If your site produces 15 million ad impressions over the previous 30 days, your revenue share increases to 85%.
With these changes along with our loyalty bonus, your revenue share on Mediavine display and video ads has the potential to reach 90%.
We offer full transparency. Most agencies only provide you reports after ad serving fees, commissions, discrepancies, etc. For us, that’s coming out of our 25% (or 15% or 10%, depending on your ad impressions + loyalty rate for the last 30 days).
Again, we do not adjust earnings at the end of the month for discrepancies or ad serving fees. What you see in your dashboard is what you get.
What about partnerships, like GumGum and ZergNet?
With these partnerships, the revenue share remains 80% to the publisher and 20% to us. We do not have the expense of the ad server, and that split - negotiated on behalf of all Mediavine publishers - is better than an individual publisher could receive, even with our 20% commission.
In your dashboard, partner earnings are also shown with the commission already calculated. You will receive the full amount of the earnings displayed here.
Anything defined in your dashboard as "Mediavine Display Ads" is calculated at the variable revenue share rate listed in your dashboard. Anything defined as a "Partner" as a line item is calculated at the 20% rate.
How and when will I get paid?
First — the how: Mediavine Payments powered by Tipalti, a service that allows us to take on the cost of some transfer fees, and lets international publishers choose between U.S. Dollars or your local currency.
You might be eligible for fees depending on the payment method you select in your dashboard. Please follow these steps for selecting a payment method. You can review this guide to help you determine which payment method is right for you.
Second — the when: You will be paid NET 65. That means any money you earned in January will be paid April 5, etc. Just add 2 months and 5 days to the end of that month’s earnings to know when you’ll be paid for it.
Here’s our payment schedule:
Taxes — who pays what?
You’re responsible for taxes on all revenue you earn through our arrangement. Sorry, it’s the law! Here's our guide to 1099s.
How long am I locked in for?
Initially? 90 days.
After that, the contract will extend every 30 days, automatically.
If either side wishes to terminate, written notice (i.e. email) must be given 30 days in advance of the auto-extension date.
Basically we just want a month-to-month partnership, but we need that initial 90 days to make sure you’re fully optimized.
We’re not in the business of making you be our partner for a year if you don’t want to be - but we’re really hoping this is a long-lasting venture that both of us will love.
We ask for that initial 90 day period because that’s about how long it takes for us to get your site approved with all of our partners and to start getting advertisements optimized for your site.
We’d really hate for you to judge our performance on just the initial month, because sometimes it takes that long for a single silly, slow moving ad partner to realize you’ve gone live under our umbrella, no matter how we beat it over their heads, and then suddenly, boom, all the money.
After that if you’re ever unhappy, this will be the easiest contract you ever had to get out of. A simple email, wait 30 days, and remove our script. That’s it.