Last updated: December 27th, 2019
I launched Online Heaven a few years back with a full focus on building affiliate websites.
I figured affiliate websites were the simplest path to making money on the internet, and more people should know about them.
While affiliate websites are still excellent for driving revenue, I was genuinely surprised to see that Ezoic is outperforming Amazon Associates on one of my affiliate websites.
In other words, Ezoic’s automated advertising platform is beating Amazon’s affiliate program on one of my content-based websites.
To make this even clearer for you, display ads are generating more revenue than affiliate links on one of my web properties.
Of course, my results are not representative of the entire digital publishing industry.
For many niches, the affiliate model is still the best way to drive revenue.
But for this particular website, I’m seeing powerful results with Ezoic and I want to share my experience with you here on Online Heaven.
So let’s run through a quick micro case study to give you a better idea of what’s going on here…
A brief background of my Amazon Associates affiliate website
One of my most popular articles on Online Heaven exposes my process for building affiliate websites.
That article should give you a pretty good idea of why I’ve always focused on building affiliate websites.
In summary, when affiliate websites are built properly, they have the potential to:
- Generate sizeable online cash flow
- Make consumers happy
- Provide a great user experience
I still love building affiliate websites.
However, I’m a big believer in testing everything.
The #1 rule of internet marketing is to test everything, collect the data first, and then make a decision.
In the past, one of my biggest mistakes involved not thoroughly testing programmatic advertising.
I personally disliked display advertising, and I probably subconsciously pushed that belief onto millions of other people.
In reality, data shows that people respond extremely well to display advertising regardless of what they might say.
This was especially true in my case.
I finally tested display advertising on my affiliate website, and discovered the revenue-generating potential of programmatic advertising.
Here’s what happened when I added Ezoic to my affiliate website
I applied for Ezoic knowing that my affiliate website only has about 14,000 unique monthly visitors.
I honestly didn’t even know if Ezoic would accept my site.
My affiliate website was hit hard by recent Google algorithm changes.
This is a big part of the reason why I’ve had to test different monetization methods rather than stick with my normal affiliate shenanigans.
In the online business world, adaptability is key to survival.
Luckily, I was approved by Ezoic after just a few days, and I ran my first display ads on December 14th.
Here’s how my first week with Ezoic played out:
- December 14th – $6.85 in ad revenue
- December 15th – $8.33 in ad revenue
- December 16th – $7.07 in ad revenue
- December 17th – $4.61 in ad revenue
- December 18th – $5.30 in ad revenue
- December 19th – $4.79 in ad revenue
- December 20th – $5.34 in ad revenue
Of course, this is only 7 days worth of data.
I still need at least 30 days of data to get a clear picture of how well Ezoic performs for my affiliate website.
But as of right now, my earnings per thousand visitors (EPMV) is roughly $13.64.
Considering this web property gets around 14,000 visitors per month, it’s easy to do the math:
At this rate, I’m on track to generate $190.96 in monthly ad revenue ($13.64 * 14).
Keep in mind my EPMV is still low, as my website is nowhere near being fully optimized for display advertising.
So far, all I’ve done is apply for Ezoic and work with an account rep to run through a few easy processes. And my site was almost immediately generating an extra couple hundred bucks per month afterwards.
This is in addition to the affiliate revenue I’m still generating. Which is $78.22 based on the last 30 day of my Amazon Associates earnings, and roughly $30 in private affiliate program earnings. This equals approximately $110 in monthly affiliate earnings.
Overall, Ezoic is significantly outperforming Amazon Associates on my affiliate website.
What’s up with Amazon Associates in 2020?
As I mentioned above, I still think Amazon Associates is an excellent affiliate program for certain niches.
Amazon Associates still works great for anything related to home & outdoors, apparel, furniture, beauty, skincare, technology and more.
However, certain product categories like health don’t make much sense for Amazon Associates.
After Google’s recent scrutiny of the health space, health is now considered a high-risk niche in the SEO world.
Private affiliate programs in the health space usually offer 10% to 40% affiliate commissions.
You can compare this to Amazon’s 4.5% commissions for health & personal care products.
This is why Amazon Associates doesn’t always make sense.
In summary, if you’re interested in building affiliate websites in 2020, Amazon Associates is definitely still worth experimenting with.
But I don’t recommend making Amazon Associates your main source of income.
How to get set up with Ezoic
Assuming you have a website that gets thousands of monthly visitors, you should consider applying for Ezoic.
There’s a good chance you’ll be approved for the program.
After applying for Ezoic, you should receive an approval decision within a few days.
This is the point when your Ezoic account rep will reach out to you with an email.
You’ll get a nice welcome email with some clear instructions.
To get set up with Ezoic, you will ultimately need to:
- Integrate your website with Ezoic by changing your nameservers or installing a WordPress plugin
- Apply for Google’s Ad Exchange
- Choose your preferred ad networks
- Add your PayPal address to receive monthly payouts
- Run through a few more steps, and you’ll be good to go
It took me very little time to integrate my website with Ezoic, and my Ezoic account rep was extremely helpful during the process.
The downsides of using Ezoic
So far, Ezoic has been an excellent ad partner.
But I didn’t like switching my website’s nameservers over to Ezoic’s preferred nameservers.
My website already uses Cloudflare.
So I probably shouldn’t have changed my website’s nameservers to Ezoic’s Cloudflare nameservers.
After making this change, I read that it’s possible to integrate with Ezoic without changing your website’s nameservers.
If you decide to integrate with Ezoic, I recommend speaking with your account rep about the possibility of keeping your existing nameservers or using your own Cloudflare nameservers that you control.
To be fair, Ezoic offers multiple integration options that don’t involve changing your nameservers.
You can install a simple WordPress plugin that makes integrating with Ezoic extremely easy.
So you don’t have to change your nameservers.
Changing your nameservers is just Ezoic’s preferred integration method at the moment.
I also don’t like having to pay a monthly fee to use Ezoic’s site speed accelerator
I don’t understand why Ezoic’s site speed accelerator isn’t a native feature available to every Ezoic publisher.
If every Ezoic publisher uses Ezoic’s site speed accelerator, every Ezoic publisher will generate more ad revenue, which means Ezoic will generate more ad revenue too.
One of the top complaints about Ezoic is that Ezoic has the potential to slow down your website.
So it only makes sense to make the site speed accelerator available to everyone.
I asked my Ezoic account rep if I could have my site speed accelerator fee deducted from my monthly payout. But he said it wasn’t possible to make this adjustment.
After running an online business experiment in the health supplement industry, I’m no longer a fan of having too many recurring monthly expenses.
I now value simplicity over complexity.
- Best case scenario, Ezoic should offer their site speed accelerator to all Ezoic publishers, and Ezoic will generate more ad revenue for their company too
- Worst case scenario, Ezoic should allow publishers to automatically deduct the recurring monthly site speed accelerator fee from their monthly payouts
These simple changes will benefit everyone in Ezoic’s ecosystem.
The advantages of using Ezoic
I like that nearly any website publisher can integrate with Ezoic free of charge in just a matter of days.
When you integrate with Ezoic, you don’t have to take on any monthly fees.
This is a major advantage of using Ezoic.
You technically don’t even need a credit card to use Ezoic.
Of course, Ezoic has to generate revenue for their company too.
So if you have an account with Ezoic, you have a few different payment plan options:
- Let Ezoic run a small ad on the bottom of your website (revenue sharing structure)
- Pay a small monthly fee to Ezoic based on your monthly ad revenue
If you’re a new website publisher, you might start with Ezoic’s free plan, and eventually switch over to a paid monthly plan.
I imagine this is what most publishers do.
Another advantage of using Ezoic seems to involve generous payouts.
To be perfectly honest, I was not expecting to have an EPMV of $13.64 after just 1 week of using Ezoic.
Ezoic is on top of their game when it comes to split-testing ads on your website, and using machine learning to maximize your website’s earning potential.
Ezoic is a very easy, low-effort method for monetizing websites that have small or large amounts of web traffic.
Ezoic’s edge is ease of use.
As of today, I definitely like how Ezoic is performing.
I will continue to optimize my website for Ezoic’s programmatic advertising, and try to find the best Ezoic configurations for my website.
If all goes well, my EPMV should increase over time in accordance with my website’s traffic stats.
This means I should be able to generate thousands of dollars per month in ad revenue this year.
I will definitely report back to let you know how Ezoic performs throughout the rest of 2020.
Ezoic vs. Amazon Associates conclusion (the results of my micro case study)
Overall, this has been a really fun case study to write about because we’re comparing two noob-friendly website monetization methods.
Nearly anyone can launch a website, learn how to drive free organic traffic via Google, YouTube or Pinterest, and make money online with Ezoic or Amazon Associates.
It just so happens that I’m currently having a much better experience with Ezoic than Amazon Associates.
I personally believe Amazon has already peaked in the USA when it comes to e-commerce.
This means Amazon Associates is probably past its prime as a website monetization method.
There are many excellent ways to monetize a website in 2020
Between Ezoic’s programmatic advertising, private affiliate programs and private sponsorships…you have plenty of website monetization options available.
If your goal is to build a cash-flowing web property, you should try to think extremely long-term.
Build something that will provide people with massive value even if Google or Pinterest no longer existed.
Would people still visit your website if Google or Pinterest went away?
This is how you know you’re on track to building a massive cash-flowing online business that changes your life forever.
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