Updated Nov. 19, 2015—
Thinking about advertising on your WordPress blog or website? You’ll likely need an ad management plugin.
This year, I decided to open one of my sites up for advertisers to buy spots, but didn’t want those tacky-looking Google Adsense text-ads and didn’t want to pay commission on each sale to one of those ad management services out there that help connect advertisers with those selling ad spaces (Like BuySellAds).
That being the case, I found several plugins that claim to help webmasters and bloggers, and soon narrowed it down to Adpress and Adsanity.
I first purchased Adsanity, but after a month of testing it out and having multiple problems trying to customize features that should have come standard on the plugin, my web designer recommended I try Adpress instead.
I couldn’t believe how much more user-friendly and customizeable Adpress was in comparison to Adsanity, so I quickly switched — but I didn’t stay long.
I dropped using Adpress, due to its click and impression statistics for ads being grossly inflated and unreliable (Adsanity had the same issue). In good conscience, I couldn’t “show” advertisers how their ad was performing if I didn’t believe the stats myself — so I chose to not sell ads until I found a reliable ad management system.
After testing out other ad managers like Advanced Ads, Google’s DFP (Double-Click for Publishers), and Broadstreet Ads in an attempt to find a system with reliable and accurate stats to show advertisers how their ads are actually performing — I found only two management systems have accurate stats.
To check the stats for accuracy, I compared the reports generated by each management system with my Google Analytics pageview count, and also added a bit.ly tracker link to each ad to cross-check click reports.
My findings: Only Google’s DFP and Broadstreet Ads stats are anywhere close to accurate. But only Broadstreet is user-friendly AND accurate.
DFP is accurate, but not user-friendly, and also not friendly to responsive ads at all (terrible for those who want to have mobile-optimized ads, which show a smaller ad shown on mobile devices, and larger ads on desktop and tablets).
So I’m now with Broadstreet Ads due to load speed, personal support, user-friendliness, and accurate statistics on clicks/impressions (I was surprised to see it also tracks “hovers”). I was also happy to see that Broadstreet Ads is free to test out on a site and has a ton of extra features (although they do come with a price tag).
Downsides to Broadstreet:
Cost: Although standard ad hosting of images or 3rd party code comes at no extra cost, certain ad templates carry a price tag to use — from $1 up to $25 or so. There’s also a 25% commission mentioned, although I haven’t been billed yet so I’m not sure if this applies to all ads at this point. To avoid this cost while still having accurate stats — I tried to make it work with DFP, but gave up due to the headache and lack of features.
For me, I am willing to pay the extra price for Broadstreet because of the headache it removes from the ad management process. Before finding Broadstreet, I had come to the point where I was willing to pay someone 50% commission to manage ads and remove that headache — Broadstreet is definitely cheaper than that.
Mobile ads: Broadstreet’s ad insertion features are vastly superior to DFP, but are still lacking for in-post ads (which happen to be the highest performing ads). So I use Broadstreet alongside a free plugin called “Ad Inserter.”
If you want to check out DFP, here’s a link: Google DFP. If you want to check out Broadstreet, here’s a link: www.BroadstreetAds.com (This is a referral link, meaning I will get a commission from it. I rarely do this, but if I find a quality service or product I already am willing to recommend, and I find out they also offer commission, why not? Adsanity and others also offer commission, but you won’t see me using their referral links unless I can recommend the product on its own.)