UPDATE 12-01-2022: I am no longer recommending SetupAd.
I used their service for about 5 or 6 months, and despite the fact that my revenue had increased comparatively to Adsense, there much better alternative out there! Here is my updated review after a few months of using their service.
1. SetupAd require manual integration
Unfortunately, SetupAd does not have auto ads feature, which makes its implementation at scale very difficult, almost impossible. Most other solutions like Ezoic or Media.net let you implement the ads on your site with a simple line of code, or through a WordPress plugin, making the integration super easy. Other solutions use AI to manage the ads placement automatically to optimize your Ads revenue.
With SetupAd, you have to integrate each ad manually.. and you have to do your own test for earnings optimization. Every time you want to change the position of your ads, you need to contact them and have to wait for 48-72h before getting the new integration code which doesn’t make sense.
2. SetupAd use archaic technology
3. SetupAd is extremely slow
I have to be transparent and tell you the truth… SetupAd is extremely slow… Even with the “optimized code”. I’ve spent hours trying to optimize it on my sites to show you the screenshots in this article and even after heavy optimization, the speed was not consistent. Their servers are extremely slow and even with the best optimization, you will rarely exceed a page score of 45-50 in the Google PageSpeed tool.
Also, SetupAd will make your site fail with Core Web Vitals minimum requirements, which is now a ranking factor for SEO. Would you risk reducing your ranking to make a bit more money? Believe me… It’s not worth it.
I know that most of you dislike Adsense or Ezoic (and I am not a big fan neither) but the reality is that, if your site doesn’t have a lot of traffic, there is no really better option.
Using a secondary publisher won’t help you to monetize your site better. I recommend you focus on growing your site traffic first and then, moving to a premium publisher.
NOTE: The SetupAd review below is not valid anymore.
As an affiliate marketer, I’m always looking to add new monetization methods to my sites. My money pages are well monetized through my affiliate partners; however, I had many pages with informative content that were not monetized. It exists many ways to monetize a site, but the most popular is through advertising revenue. You can earn a lot of money through ads if your site has a lot of traffic. The most popular Ad formats are: Youtube ads (video ads) Native ads Anchor ads (text-based ads) Banner ads There more, but those are the most used ad format. When I started to look for an ads monetization platform, I looked at the most popular options that are: Google Adsense AdThrive Mediavine Ezoic At this time, I didn’t know about Setupad. I started to submit my sites to the two biggest ones; AdThrive and Media.net. However, after a few days, I was declined. The reason is that those platforms focus on the US market, and my websites had too much international traffic. So what were the options left? Ezoic and Google Adsense. I started to look at Ezoic, but the onboarding has been terrible. They connected me with a rep, and he wanted me to change my DNS to theirs; their reason was that their ads platform was working better when behind under their DNS. I replied I didn’t want to change my DNS (I’m with Cloudflare, why I would move to Ezoic? No way!), and their other solution was to see their WordPress plugin. The big problem I had with this solution was I couldn’t choose my own ad space and where I wanted them. Really? With Ezoic, it’s all-in or nothing else. No! You won’t spam my money pages with your tons of ads. No thanks! So, I decided to go with Google Adsense.
How Google Adsense worked for me?
Google Adsense has been super easy to set up. The approval has been quick (a few days only), and I was able to create my Ads, and put them only where I really wanted to (Yeah!).
However, even if the setup was fairly easy, there had many cons of using Google Adsense. Here are the main ones
- Low earnings.
- Pay per click (If your visitors don’t click on your ads, you will barely earn anything).
- Pay only in your country’s currency.
- Take a significant share of revenue (32%).
Well, I was aware that Adsense wasn’t perfect, but I could not move to another platform because of my situation.
How I discovered Setupad?
I discovered Setupad when they reached to me via one of my website’s contact forms, offering me a solution called Header Bidding. I had never heard about header bidding technology before, so it took my curiosity, and I started to do some research about this so-called great ad technology.
I started to search on Google about header bidding, reading a few articles trying first to understand what this technology was, then I ended up on Reddit reading some posts about header bidding.
So what is header bidding? Header bidding is an advanced advertising technique that consists of putting your ad spaces in a bidding system, where the ad server wins when bidding at a higher price. So basically, it shows ads from the network that pays the higher price per 1K impressions.
Once I understood that heading bidding could be a great way to increase my earnings, I started to look for the best header bidding partner and found this sheet that lists all companies providing header bidding.
To help you understand the data provided in this sheet, you have a list of platforms that whether are:
- Ad networks (Best option because no tier takes a margin on your revenue)
- Resellers (Help you to integrate heading bidding to your site and take a share of your revenue)
- DFY platforms (For advanced users only)
Ideally, if you really want to increase your revenue, you have to avoid having any tier between you and the ad exchange. However, most ad exchange platforms have requirements that are really tough to meet, like a minimum of 1 million impressions per month.
Another thing you want to consider is using a platform that supports prebid.js, a technology that limits the number of requests in the bidding process. This makes your website load much faster!
After reviewing all the platforms from this sheet, I realized that Setupad was listed there and was the only platform supporting Prebid.js, had its own ad network, and finally, didn’t require to have 1 MM impressions per month to get approved.
I didn’t know, but Setupad was a big player in the header bidding industry. So I replied to the email, and it’s where everything has started 🙂
How Setupad works?
Setupad straight connected me with a rep directly on Skype. We discussed my needs and figured out the best ad locations & sizes to put on my website to increase my ad revenue. Once we agreed on everything, my rep sent everything to the dev team, and I had my ad codes ready in 48h.
Once your ads are live on your website, you can start seeing your data from the Setupad dashboard. Please note that it can take a few hours before seeing your stats. The stats are updated hourly.
Why Setupad over any other platform?
Seriously there many! But to name a few:
- They only take a 20% rev share (Adsense takes 32%, Ezoic 30%. To see a list of platform rev share, check this sheet).
- They have an extensive ad inventory, a total of 16 SSPs (Publishers network).
- The support is excellent. Having a direct connection with a rep is a big must!
- Can helps your site being whitelisted by Adblock (More on this later).
Their rev share is 10% less than any other platform. That means that for each 1K generated in ad revenue, you make an extra $100. Just for this reason, it’s an excellent reason to choose them!
They also have a big publisher’s ad inventory, so more people are bidding on your ads, making your earnings increase.
Setupad has many great features that you can have access through their dashboard, their chrome extension, or through their partnerships. Here are the best features from the Setupad app:
Easy-to-use analytics dashboard
I’m not sure if you are like me and like simple things? If yes, then you will be pleased with Setupad! It’s not another Google Analytics-like software where you have to search for hours just to find a simple thing.
Their dashboard is pretty minimalist, but honestly, you don’t need anything else. You have access at a glance to all the essential data; Earnings for a specific date range and/or per site, revenue distribution by network or country, and more.
In the earnings report, you have an overview of all your earnings and your website’s performance for any desired date. You can also compare your earnings with any precedent period.
You can filter per site or even by ad to check which ones are your top performers.
Revenue distribution by ad network
Another great functionality they are offering is the capability to check your earnings by the ad networks. Personally, I like having access to this data.
It just shows me how many monetization opportunities I was ignoring before moving away from Google Adsense. There plenty of ad network out there… Why limiting us to Google only? Yes, Google is the biggest player, but they are not always the higher bidder!
Revenue distribution by geolocation
If you have international traffic on your website, you will like this feature! You can see easily from which country your earnings are segmented.
Knowing which visitors are generating more revenue, you can create more content targeting this country and, hence, increase your income!
Google Analytics integration
If you are using Google Analytics as your analytic platform, you may be happy to know that Setupad offers a direct integration. When you connect your Setupad account to Google Analytics, you can access extra data like your revenue per 1k visitors, sessions, or pageviews.
This little Chrome extension is pretty cool. When enabled, you can directly see which ad network has placed the higher bid for any of your ad, directly from your website.
Setupad vs Google Adsense
Setupad and Google Adsense are two ad platforms that can help you monetize your website through advertising; however, they work very differently.
Setupad puts your ads in a bidding system where many SSPs compete together, guaranteeing a higher RPM. With Setupad, you are paid for impressions, so even if your visitors don’t click on your ads, you will be paid.
On the other hand, Adsense shows ads only from his network, and there is no bidding system. With Adsense, you are paid for each click generated by your visitors. Adsense is paying barely anything for impressions.
Adsense also has this installation option but they also have another method called “auto ads” which generates ads dynamically on your web pages. Personally, I don’t like this method because you have no control over where to display the ads.
I have seen a big difference between Setupad and Adsense ad revenue. In my case, a whopper increase of 95%! Check below the earnings comparison for a period of 5 days. (8-12 March vs 22-27 March).
Setupad: 279.58€ (equivalent to 413$CAD at today’s rate)
Yes! It’s a huge difference. Almost the double in earnings for one week. (My website doesn’t have much traffic on weekends, here’s why I made a comparison of weekdays).
Please note that it can vary depending on your audience. If you have a lot of clicks on your ads and your site is in a competitive niche, then, in this case, Adsense could generate more money. If you don’t have many clicks on your ads or have international traffic, I highly suggest you to try Setupad!
Important: Please note that Setupad takes 3 or 4 weeks before giving the best earnings! When you start, you are getting only ads from the Google network, and over time, you start getting ads from other publishers.
This happens because Setupad needs to get your website approved by its partners, and it can take up to 4 weeks before getting approved by all platforms and get the best advertising revenue.
After one week, I had similar earnings as with Adsense. However, I followed my rep’s recommendations, waited one month before taking a decision, and gladly I did. Now I’m making an extra 800$CAD per month, which is about $630USD.
If you are in the website flipping world, you know what this represents! Investors pay 30x the earnings of a website at current market value, so simply in moving my website to Setupad, I have increased my website value by 19KUSD.
Google Adsense pays in your local currency and pays every month. On the other hand, Setupad pays in EUR (They can also pay in USD upon requests). Setupad pay also every month but have a 60-day locked period. You will start getting monthly payments after 60 days.
In contrary to Google, Setupad doesn’t generate ads only from their network. They depend on many ad networks and they need to get paid from these networks before sending your earnings. Here’s why the 60-day waiting policy.
The impact on load time is the biggest con of header bidding… It’s nothing that Setupad can’t control, unfortunately (or almost); it’s all about the header bidding technology’s nature.
When your site loads, the Setupad servers send a request to the auction bidding system and have to wait for the higher bidder before showing the ad. Well, written like this, it looks like it’s a task that takes a lot of time but don’t worry, the auction bidding process is counted in milliseconds. However, even milliseconds are enough to affect your pagespeed score.
The good news is that I’ve talked with the guys from Setupad, and we have worked on a variant of the code that will improve your loading speed a lot! But before, let me show you a comparison of Adsense vs the original Setupad code.
Setupad (original code)
Setupad (original code)
Like you see, the optimized code made a massive difference! With the original code, I’m not sure if I would have kept Setupad because I’m someone that worries a lot about my website’s speed, but with this new code, the performances are almost the same! I don’t care to be a bit slower to make an extra 90% in earnings!
If you use Adsense or any other advertising network, you know that you will have to sacrifice your loading page speed. It’s the cost to make money through online ads.
I also decided to make some comparisons with GTMetrix between Adsense and Setupad, including the difference between Setupad original and optimized code.
GTMetrix: Adsense vs Setupad
GTMetrix: Setupad original vs optimized
I would suggest you to ask Setupad having Mareks Flugrats as a rep. He is offering great support and is aware of the optimized version of the integration code.
Bonus: Unblock more earnings with Adblock whitelisting
Another great reason to choose Setupad for your advertising needs is that they are partnered with AAX Media, an official partner of the popular Adblock browser extension.
Upon request, Setupad can ask AAX Media to monitor your traffic, and if you are eligible, you could be whitelisted from Adblock servers.
Adblock Plus is the most popular ad blocker and counts over 10 million users. Showing the ads from your site to ad block users could significantly increase your advertising revenue.
Setupad Review: Conclusion
Setupad is definitely an ad platform that you should consider if you have a site with decent traffic. Their minimum traffic requirement is 100K sessions per month, but they do a lot of exceptions. They approved many sites for me that had under 50K sessions per month. If your website is close to 50K sessions, You should definitely give them a try!
What I really like from Setupad is the personal touch. They consider you like a real client and are always ready to help you. Their system is solid, and they really make a difference. I can’t promise you will make a 90% increase in earnings (but if you do, I will be happy for you!). However, even if it’s 30-40%, I think it’s still considerable!
If you have a problem getting approved, don’t hesitate to contact me, and I will check what I can do 😉