Monetize website traffic without sacrificing performance and user-experience through Google AdSense and CDN.

Jacquelyn Tandang
Jacquelyn Tandang
Oct 08, 2023

In our previous post, we discovered that monetizing through Ezoic may not affect speed as much as Google AdSense but because Ezoic ads are too aggressive, it has a negative effect on user experience.

Ezoic ads are tiered. Websites with less than 10,000 visits per month do not have access to higher paying ads. After efforts to increase revenue by improving user-experience and increasing ad density, we have only achieved a rate of $0.58 RPM (earning per thousand views) or $1.00 ePMV (earning per thousand visitors/sessions).

In this experiment, we tried to get access to higher paying ads from Google AdSense. To overcome the issue in performance, we will serve our pages in Cloudfront CDN just like Ezoic. Let’s see if we can improve revenue without sacrificing performance and user-experience.

Serving mobile pages in CDN displaying only Google Ads

Since we are already on Ezoic, we can use Cloudfront CDN from Ezoic but serve all mobile ads from Google AdSense. To do this, under Ezoic Ads > Split Testing, we set tablet and mobile to 0%.

How to turn off Ezoic ads on mobile

This means, users on tablet and mobile devices will not serve Ezoic ads. Since we have Google as our alternative source, our website will serve only Google ads when on tablet and mobile devices.

After switching all mobile ads to AdSense, our average mobile performance score in Diib.com increased by 8 points from 82 to 90.

Average mobile speed on diib.com after turning off Ezoic ads

Turns out, Ezoic ad partners were taking around 8 points in our mobile performance score.

Average mobile speed on diib.com after turning off Ezoic ads

By serving our pages through CDN and displaying ads only from Google, we were able to monetize our website traffic without significantly affecting performance.

Google AdSense Revenue

Below is the graph of our revenue from Google AdSense.

Revenue graph from Google AdSense

On July 18-28, using only auto-insert ads, we got an RPM of $1.46.

Revenue graph from Google AdSense on auto-insert

After increasing ad density by adding more ads using placeholders, there was a slight increase in our RPM from $1.46 to $1.57. That’s $0.11 increase in revenue!

Revenue graph from Google AdSense on placeholders

User experience

It is possible to increase revenue per page view but lessen total revenue. Putting too much ads on a page can cause poor user-experience and cause users to bounce off your website. This is where the rate per thousand visit metric comes in. A user can view multiple pages at a time. If a user will view more pages during their visit and view more ads, the more revenue we can get.

An increase in RPM is valuable only if an increase in revenue per thousand visit also increases. From Google analytics 4, our total number of sessions for the month of September was 2,133.

September total sessions in Google Analytics 4

From Google AdSense, our total revenue for the month of September is $3.44. Computing for our revenue per thousand visits/sessions, we get $1.62 which is 62% more than what we were getting from Ezoic. It is safe to say that an increased ad density in Google AdSense did not negatively affect user experience thus giving us a greater revenue.

Reduced performance after increasing Google AdSense ad density

After adding placeholders, our average mobile performance score in Diib.com went back to 82. Google search console started flagging our pages failing on Cumulative Layout Shift.

Google search console flagging CLS issue

We are unable to determine which causes layout shifts by testing individual pages but the 28-day report reflects the same issue.

28 day report flagging CLS issue page speed report having good CLS

It could be because different users will get different sets of ads. For some reason, I am not getting much ads when I visit our web pages but this may not be the case for other users.

It could be that the more ads are inserted, the more layout shift the user will experience because the ads will push the contents downwards causing a layout shift.

This can be fixed by reserving enough space for ads whether or not they show up or not.

Results

Serving ads from Google AdSense provides more revenue than serving ads from Ezoic. Our website was earning $0.58 per thousand views from Ezoic ads but earned $1.57 per thousand views from Google AdSense.

By serving pages through a CDN, we are able to monetize without greatly affecting performance. With the same performance score of 82, we are earning $0.99, around a dollar more per thousand views in Google AdSense.

Summary
  Average mobile speed (diib.com) Revenue per thousand views (RPM) Revenue per thousand visits (ePMV)
Ezoic 82 $0.58 $1.00
Google AdSense 31 $1.46 --
Google AdSense over CDN 90 $1.46 --
Google AdSense over CDN with increased ad density by adding placeholders 82 $1.57 $1.62

The more Google ads are shown on a page, the greater the risk of getting a layout shift but this can be fixed by reserving spots in your webpages for advertisements.

The cheapest virtual private server in Digital Ocean is $4. A website getting at least 3000 page views per month earning at least $1.50 RPM will be able to pay for its own hosting.

By further improving our RPM or increasing our monthly traffic, our website will be able to pay for its own domain name as well. We are right on track to self-sufficiency! :)