CPM stands for Cost Per Mille, or thousand, and is a form of advertising where views matter. As a publisher, you own a site you want to monetize, so you want to sign up for a CPM traffic network. You bring in traffic, that traffic sees the ads, and the ad network pays you based on the people who see it.
There’s a lot of nuance to this kind of advertising. You might earn a different amount for your traffic depending on where the traffic comes from, with traffic from the USA, the UK, Australia, and other primary English countries coming as a premium, while traffic from India, Pakistan, and other low-tier countries earning you very little. You may have variable pay rates depending on the volume of traffic, the placement of the ads, and other factors.
The two most important factors to consider when looking at a CPM network to join, however, are the minimums.
There are reasonable rationalizations behind both minimums, but they definitely bias those CPM networks towards certain kinds of sites and certain sizes of communities. It makes it quite hard for those of us with smaller sites to properly monetize, and without good monetization, how can we expect to grow? There’s a self-fulfilling prophecy here, a circular feedback of mediocrity.
CPM ads work best when you’re running a site that doesn’t really click through affiliate links or buy products, but is more readily willing to view ads as incidental to content. When you’re bringing in a lot of people, even if those people aren’t exactly the most engaged. It’s also very good for sites that have a relatively low income audience. They might not have the spare money to buy products, but they’ll at least view and maybe even click ads when they know it’ll help you out.
There are a lot of lists of the best CPM ad networks out there in terms of the amount they pay, but there aren’t as many available lists of CPM traffic networks that lack these restrictive minimums. What I’ve done here is tried to find as many of each as I can, and listed them for your perusal. Hopefully you find one here you can use.
First up, let’s look into some CPM ad networks that don’t require your site to have exorbitant levels of traffic every day. Some of these may be a little iffy, though. The first one is a prime example.
RevContent is the first CPM network on my list. It’s iffy in that I’ve seen quite a variety of different requirements bandied about on various forums and in blog post reviews of their network, but I haven’t been able to find specific requirements on their site itself. Some people have claimed to be accepted with virtually no existing traffic, while others say they need 3 million impressions per month. That’s one hell of a variation, right?
RevContent’s sign-up sheet makes me think they’re open to a wide variety of different levels of site traffic, since you can plug in the rough amount of traffic you get, and one of the options is under 1,000 hits. Whether that’s per day or per month, I don’t know.
What I suspect is that they maintain different tiers of network within their overall program. They’ll always be open to the high tier sites, but the smaller ones may have limited space available. When they need to purge out a few of the underperformers or the inactive or cancelled accounts, they’ll be open to replacing them with other small sites.
AdCash is the second entry on this list. This is the first one that very definitely has no minimum traffic requirements, but they’re also pretty much entirely self-serve. You sign up for your publisher account, they give you some tags to add to your site in whatever locations you want your ads to display, and you earn money based on those display ads. It’s all very simple.
AdCash has been around for over 11 years, they serve over 600 billion requests per month globally, and they have tens of thousands of active campaigns going at any given time. All that combines to virtually ensure that you’re never letting ad space go empty, so long as you have the views to make it worth running. I can’t estimate your prospective CPM values, of course, since that will vary based on your traffic and your sources, but they’re far from the worst network out there.
AdCash is not without some restrictions, however. First and foremost, they do not allow adult websites in their network. They have additional rules against sites with violent content, hate speech, hacking and cracking content, illegal item sales, and so on. It’s the usual slate of “if it’s illegal, we won’t monetize it” rules you probably expect from other sources.
Clickadu is a pretty decent and flexible network compared to many of the others on this list, so it’s right up top. They have a variety of different ad formats, including some mobile ad formats and video pre-roll advertising that aren’t offered on other kinds of CPM networks. They have no minimum traffic requirement, at least not as of the last time I checked.
Clickadu is also unique on this list in that it’s one of the only CPM networks that is available to anyone that also does not restrict adult content. They have the usual “no illegal products, no hacks, no piracy” rules, but they don’t specify anything against adult content.
RevenueHits is another pretty great CPM network that partners up with a few other networks, like Propeller Ads, Clickadu, and Link Shrink. You can sign up as a publisher with ease, they don’t even ask for a ton of information. They’re a self-service ad network platform, developed by Intango. They’re also definitely on the list of publisher networks with no minimum traffic requirements.
RevenueHits is interesting in that their system is very simple. You create a placement on either a desktop or mobile version of your site and they give you the code tag to add to your site. Once it’s up and running, your ad space is filled with ads from advertisers and you earn based on your traffic. It’s all very easy.
While there are no minimum requirements for traffic, they do have the usual sort of restrictions on site content. No adult content, harassment, illegal weapons, or other illegal content. It’s the usual, basically.
Adsterra is next on the list, and I have a soft spot to for it simply because the big A on their homepage is fun to play with. They’re another very simple, more or less self-service ad platform for publishers with no minimum traffic requirements. The do have some requirements, but they’re quite simple. No sites under construction, no sites with no content, no sites with 15+ banners or 5+ pop-ups on them, and no sites with an alexa rank greater than 1 million. Those are basically “don’t be deindexed and don’t be malicious.”
Adsterra has the same content restrictions as other sites as well. No hacking, no piracy, no porn, no hate, no illegal activity or items, and so on. Other than that, there’s nothing really unique to know about this network compared to the others already listed.
Criteo is possibly the most unique network on this list, in that they aren’t standard display ads. Rather, they offer a unique style of retargeting ads. Visitors on your site see Criteo ads, and those ads point to products or businesses that the visitors have visited recently and expressed interest in. Remarketing and retargeting are important forms of marketing today, so it stands to reason that there would be a newcomer that is willing to open up to small sites.
Other than that, Criteo has many of the same requirements as the other networks on this list. Don’t promote anything illegal, don’t serve malware, you know the drill by now. Their mechanism may be unique, but their service is not.
Conversant is another “maybe” on this list. Conversant is the company that you may have heard of for CJ Affiliate, one of the top affiliate networks out there. Conversant also has a private exchange for CPM advertising, and they have fairly low requirements. I say low because, while they have a minimum traffic requirement, it’s only 3,000 hits per month. That’s really not all that much, only around 100 hits a day, which isn’t too difficult to achieve as long as your site isn’t terrible.
Media.net is on this list as a “maybe” in that they don’t list their minimum requirements, and some other reviews have said if they have traffic requirements they are fairly low, but that’s not necessarily meaningful. They do mention that you must have primarily English traffic from the US/UK/Canada markets, and they have traffic quality standards as well, so they’re really more of an honorary mention than an actual recommendation.
Dishonorable Mention: Chitika. Chitika was once one of the top no-requirement ad networks in the world, so much so that back in 2010 when Yahoo shut down their own CPM network, they recommended people migrate to Chitika. So why are they in a dishonorable mention now, without even a link? Well, this link might elucidate some things. As of April 30 2019, Chitika is shutting down. In fact, they’re basically already shut down. Their advertisers are gone and no earnings for the month of March were paid out at all. Another one bites the dust.
This is where things get tough. The fact is, virtually no ad network out there is going to pay you for a few dollars without some specific exception. Many networks have a clause where, if you’re closing your account, they’ll pay you whatever remaining balance you had, even if it’s under their minimum threshold. Still, though, pretty much every ad network HAS a minimum payment threshold, it’s just a matter of how flexible it is.
AdCash is a great example of this. They’re a very large and simultaneously very open ad network with thousands of advertisers and publishers active every day. They’re also very flexible with payments, giving you the option to get paid via bank transfer, PayPal, Payoneer, Skrill, WebMoney, and even in Bitcoin. Even with all of this flexibility, they still limit you to a minimum of $25 USD or 25 Euros in your account before you can request a payment.
Every other network I’ve listed up above either has a $25 minimum or higher. Some like Criteo have different thresholds, like 50 Euros or $150 USD. Some of them have different thresholds depending on the payment method you choose. Some CPM networks that I didn’t include had even more complex payout schemes, including fees depending on the bank you use. Overall, there’s not really a good option if you want under $25 payouts, unfortunately.
Over to you folks now. Are there any good CPM networks you’ve used that have no minimum traffic requirements and no minimum payout thresholds? I’d like to hear about them if so.
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