Has anyone ever lost money with Mediavine? As I was considering the switch to their ad network, I searched the internet desperately for this information. I couldn’t find it anywhere so I ultimately learned the hard way because I did, in fact, lose money with Mediavine.
What is Mediavine?
Mediavine is a programmatic display advertising network that helps publishers and content creators. It is a Top 20 Comscore property, which means that they serve a lot of high-value publishers. In fact, they claim to reach over 125 million visitors per month through their ad network.
In addition to their programmatic advertising, Mediavine also creates themes and plugins for content creators.
What are Mediavine’s requirements?
In order to work with Mediavine, you must meet strict criteria on your website.
- You must have had at least 50,000 sessions in the previous 30 days.
- You must be in good standing with Google AdSense.
- You must publish original content in ANY niche.
- You must publish engaging long-form content.
You may still be rejected even if you meet all of those requirements because all applications are reviewed by the Mediavine Publisher Support Team and their advertising partners.
Mediavine’s ad network is great for most people.
Most people who switch to Mediavine report astronomical increases in revenue. In theory, Mediavine’s advertising network pays higher than other networks like AdSense. When I was considering the switch, I was thrilled to see reports from publishers who saw an 80% or higher increase in their ad revenue through Mediavine.
In fact, Mediavine is especially well-suited to food bloggers. They offer special monetization tools recipe cards, which makes it especially lucrative for people who publish a lot of recipes and food-based content. They also offer special tools for monetizing videos, images and more.
Although my personal experience with Mediavine was a disaster (as I’ll explain below), I do want to stress that most people will see fantastic results when they use this service.
You may lose money if you make a lot from CPC ads.
If you are asking the question, “Has anyone ever lost money with Mediavine?” then you need to know the answer is YES. I personally lost money with this advertising partner and there are definitely some cases that you should not use it.
The #1 indicator that you will lose money with Mediavine is if you make a high percentage of your revenue from cost-per-click (CPC) ads. Mediavine does not offer any CPC ads because they only use CPM ads. This is why I lost so much revenue when I switched to their service.
Obviously, it’s important to understand the difference between CPM and CPC ads.
Cost-per-click or CPC ads pay when an ad is clicked, no matter how many times the ad is seen. If you have a very high click-through-rate (CTR), then that’s a good thing because you can make more money with less views.
On the other hand, cost-per-mille or CPM ads pay when an ad is viewed, no matter how many times the ad is clicked. If you have a very low CTR, then that’s a good thing because you’ll make money when ads are shown even if they are not clicked.
Most publishers have very low CTRs. People just don’t click on ads very often in most niches. However, there are some niches that can drive a lot of advertising clicks. If you have one of those rare websites with a high CTR, then you may lose money when you switch to a CPM-only advertising model.
My Mediavine experience was a disaster.
I switched to Mediavine based on a recommendation from a friend, who knew someone who was making over $70,000 per month on the Mediavine ad network. That sounded great so I decided to check it out. In all my research, I was unable to find a single person who said they’d lost money with the transition.
I decided to make the switch on a Friday. That was a disaster! Because Mediavine only updates your revenue in the mornings, I was unable to see the changes until the weekend. When I logged in on Saturday, I had expected to see a drop in earnings. Mediavine had warned me that the transition period could be rough. But what I saw blew me away. I had made $36 the entire day – less than 3% what I had been making per day. I had already lost hundreds of dollars with Mediavine.
Over the next few weeks, things improved. After about two weeks, I was earning about half my usual revenue per day. After some extensive back-and-forth with the people at Mediavine, I was advised that this was likely the highest my revenue would go and it was unlikely they’d ever be able to match my prior RPMs.
Fortunately, the people at Mediavine waived my contract commitment and let me leave the service after about a month instead of making me wait the entire 60 days. In their defense, they did seem genuinely shocked and they stated that it was the first time in the company’s history that anyone had ever lost money after switching from AdSense.
Signing up for Mediavine is a huge commitment.
One thing you need to be aware of before you sign up for Mediavine is that there is a huge initial commitment. You are asked to commit to 60 days with the company before it becomes a month-to-month commitment.
Before you implement Mediavine ads, you have to remove all other display ads from the website. You can keep your affiliate ads but everything else must go.
That is a huge commitment, especially for a large publisher that relies on advertising revenue. Make sure you understand what you are getting into before you start.
You also need to understand that Mediavine pays on a Net-65 plan. If you are used to being paid through AdSense, then you are used to a Net-21 schedule. If you switch from AdSense to Mediavine, you will have to go an extra 44 days without a paycheck. If you rely on that ad revenue, you may want to switch mid-way through the month so that you’ll have a partial payment from AdSense to tide you over.
There are some tips for transferring to Mediavine that may make it easier.
Although I lost money with Mediavine, I still think it’s a great fit for many publishers. If you are going to try it out, you can learn from my mistakes and make it a little easier with these tips:
Know your metrics.
Before you switch, make sure you understand your current situation. You need to know your average RPM over the last few months. You also need to know how much of your revenue comes from CPC vs CPM ads. That way, you’ll be able to more clearly measure the impact that Mediavine has.
Join all their official social media groups.
Mediavine has some great social media groups that can help you network and build backlinks with other creators. These groups are heavily and aggressively moderated but they serve their purpose well. This is one of the great benefits of Mediavine, in my opinion.
Use their special tools.
Mediavine has created a host of themes and plugins that can help WordPress creators. I’m especially fond of their Grow tool, which is limited to people using their advertising network so I no longer have access to it.
Ask a lot of questions during your onboarding process. Make sure that you understand what you are getting into. I wish I had asked more questions before I launched, because I lost thousands of dollars during the time I was with Mediavine. If I had understood that all of their ads were CPM, for example, I wouldn’t have jumped on board as readily.
Do not switch on Friday.
If you earn a considerable amount of ad revenue, do not switch on a Friday. You won’t be able to see your earnings until Saturday morning, and they have limited staff available on weekends to help you out. You’ll save everyone a lot of trouble if you transition earlier during the week.
Do not switch during Q4.
I made the move just before Q4, when revenues are already expected to rise. Even despite these expected increases, I still couldn’t match half of my usual revenue. Make the transition during a more stable part of the year so you can more accurately gauge any improvements.
Ironically, I saw many posts in the Mediavine social group about not switching to their competitors (like AdThrive) during Q4 for the same reason.
Don’t hesitate to use Mediavine’s other products.
Even if you do not use Mediavine’s programmatic ad network, you can still use their other products! I am especially fond of their Trellis theme which an help you pass Core Web Vitals easily.
So, has anyone ever lost money with Mediavine?
The answer is yes but it’s complicated. Unless you make a lot of money from CPC ads, you are likely to earn more money through the Mediavine ad platform.