Ad Network Recommendations

Dear Fellow Games Site Webmaster,
We almost all use AdSense to make money from our arcades and they’re great, but there’s other great networks out there too and using a combination of them can more than double your revenue if done successfully.

Casale Media
Casale have been around for a long time and aren’t specifically focused on any one niche of sites. They can be quite difficult to get into but it’s worth the effort as they tend to have good CPMs from brand name advertisers. I’ve seen CPMs on skyscraper units of over $1.50 with a 60% fill rate on a site with a lot of international traffic. They only offer 4 ad formats, leaderboard 728×90, Skyscraper 160×600, Rectangle 300×250 and Popunders. All the ad formats are worth trying but my experiences is they are best for towers and popunders. Their popunder CPMs are less than advertised by game specific networks but they tend to have a better fill rate and the pops are less likely to be for rival sites.

CPM Star
CPM Star, despite its name, actually is more of a mix of CPM, CPC and CPA ads that their system optimises to make money money from your site. Some months it gets this amazingly right and you’ll earn a ton from CPM Star, other months you won’t make as much. They offer a wide range of ad formats from the traditional ad sizes, to popups, editorial ads (that look like your games) and site skins. Their one of the few networks offering site skins so give them a go for this alone, but also try their leaderboards which can be highly paying at times. If you monitor your stats and see CPMs increasing try giving them more traffic on your site.

Intergi offer the standard banner ads, but most people use them mainly for their pre-rolls which typically have the highest payouts and highest fill rates. These are typically 15 to 30 second video ads a user has to sit through to get to their game. Annoying to some users, but as youtube moves to this model they are increasingly ready to put up with this. Plus the pay rates are excellent especially for Western traffic. Occasionally intergi will have really high rates on banner ads for specific countries, watch out for their emails and if you’re using a script to display different networks to different countries prioritise intergi for those countries when you get the email.

To most Mochi are a way that game developers make money from their games. But arcades can also make a small cut from the ads on them too and while the revenue isn’t that much, it does add up. There’s not much reason not to sign up as it’s not adding any additional ads to your site, but does give you revenue from any games you’ve placed that have mochi ads in them.

ValueClick Media
One of the oldest ad networks out there, they go through phrases of being hard to get into. Their ad rates really do fluctuate and recently I’ve seen them focusing on CPC ads more and more, which actually tends to deliver better revenue to publishers than their CPM ads, although less stable. You often find yourself making 5 times as much one day as the previous one, then back down again. They offer lots of ad sizes, plus popups, interstitial ads (that don’t really pay enough sadly) and more recent ‘in text’ ads that look like a good additional way of getting revenue from your site without really interrupting the users experiences, although clearly these would work better on sites with more written content on.

Epic Game Ads
These really are the kings of the arcade popups. Of the time of writing they’re offering $11 CPM on US popup traffic. They also do banner ads of various sizes. They’ve got a unique payment scheme where a percentage of your first half of the months revenue is paid quickly, ranging up to a 100% of it if you’ve had an account there for a few years. Great if you’re short on cash.

Tribal Fusion
These are a hard network to get into, but offer great CPMs on traditional on page ads like leaderboards and skyscrapers. As well as high traffic requirements they also like your arcade to be somewhat unique in design and feel, and they need you to help promote your site to advertisers by writing a description of it for their sales material. A bit of effort does pay off though and their a solid network that can deliver CPMs others network can’t compete with at times.
A new kid on the block that’s made a massive impact. A big online firm from India that’s in a lot of markets including being one of the largest domain registrars decided it wanted to make an adsense competitors and has done quite well at it considers how new it is. It’s partnered with Yahoo! to bring a large selection of advertisers. They’re great at customizing ad spots on your site to how they think they’ll preform best, so revenue might not be as good as it will be for the first few weeks while they test different things out. Putting a link block by them directly below a game works quite well.

Left this to last as almost everyone already uses them. Remember to read up on their guidelines though as they do have lots of rules regarding advert placements. Also ensure your privacy policy matches their guidelines on all your sites showing their ads. They are one of the best networks to be in, but don’t think they are the only network. If your traffic reaches 500,000 game plays a day then you can apply for their special product called AdSense for Games which shows preroll text ads and video ads before games, many big sites use it although some report earnings from Intergi are actually higher due to Intergi having a better fill rate.

There’s other game specific networks out there we haven’t tested yet like Ads for Games, and other general networks that we haven’t had a game site in like Burst Media and If you can get in try them out and give us feedback to put in this article.