Comparing Ad Networks with Google Adsense

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Cognitio has several web sites, where the (by far) biggest are:, and (in Swedish). These pages started many (in internet time) years ago, mostly as a hobby and a proof-of-concept and have since then grown in both content and visitors.

These pages are being economically supported by ads and without the ads the pages would not exist. There are probably several hundred of ad networks out there, and most of them wants to show their ads on your page. Knowing which one to use can be time-consuming and also make you loose money displaying ads from badly performing ad networks.

So when we find a network that we think might be interesting we will test them before deciding if we shall continue to show their ads. And it is the result from these tests that we will show here.

The ad networks that we are looking for is the ones with automated ad displays. These web sites are not our main area and we do not have time to check each ad and product to select the ones that we think will be best for the site. So these tests will only show the result of the automatic ad serving. If we had time to look for specific ads that would perform on the site, the result would probably be completely different.

How the tests are executed

Depending of the network we decide which of our sites the new ad network will be tested on. Then the top banner (it is often the best performing ad space) on the site will alternate the new ads with Google Adsense ads so they are displayed roughly the same number of times. If the tested ad network is not performing absolutely rock bottom, or displaying ad with offensive contents, it will normally be tested for about a week.

The number of times the ads are displayed are tracked with events in Google Analytics. It will count the number of time the ad network script was run on the site, regardless if it actually displayed an ad or not. But an ad network not displaying ads every time is also a waste of ad space.

We cannot keep track of the number of clicks in Google Analytics, so we have to rely on the ad network for that.

The revenue of the ad network is what it all comes down to. No amounts will be displayed. Instead we will show how well the new ad network performed compared to Google AdSense in percent. If the tested network displays it revenue in a different currency than Google AdSense, the amount will first be converted at

These tests actually only measures how well the different ad network perform on the tested site during the measured period. It does not show how its performance is on other sites or other periods, but it gives a hint of how the ad network performs compared to Google AdSense.

Network page:
Results can be found at:

Network page:
Results can be found at:


Tested program: Zanox Ad Server
Tested on site:
Tested period: Jan 2012 – Feb 2013