Over the past few years, Ezoic has firmly established themselves as one of the top options for publishers when it comes to monetizing websites with display advertising.
It's well documented that their Ad Tester machine learning tool can quickly improve your site's ad revenue. But what is Ezoic Premium?
Ezoic Premium is a subscription based service from Ezoic where publishers pay a monthly fee to access ads from higher paying advertisers, which are mostly huge brands. The higher paying ads then get served on your site, leading to higher revenue for you, the publisher.
The pricing model for this premium service is a little unique compared to other advertising networks, so it can be difficult to know exactly what you're paying for and if it's worth it or not.
In this post, I'll give my thoughts on the question "Is Ezoic Premium Worth It?", and I'll share some real numbers from niche site projects of mine that utilize the service.
What is Ezoic?
Before we get too far into the weeds on Ezoic Premium, let's take a quick look at Ezoic and what it is exactly that they do.
They are a technology focused platform for websites with various tools that help publishers improve things like:
- Ad earnings
- Site speed
- Site layout testing
- User experience
- Enhanced security
Personally, I've found almost their entire suite of tools to be helpful and a value add to my websites. But with that being said, I'd be willing to bet that most publishers who use Ezoic primarily utilize the platform for the Ad Tester.
The Ad Tester is Ezoic's is a tool that helps publishers maximize earnings by optimizing ad placement via a machine learning framework.
Essentially, the publisher creates a bunch of different potential places for ads to be displayed on their website, and the At Tester tries out countless different combinations of ads and eventually hones in on the ad placements that provide the best combination of revenue, engagement, and user experience.
In my personal experience, and the experience of many other publishers I know, the Ad Tester does an excellent job at increasing revenue, especially compared to regular Adsense placements or Google Auto Ads. It's not uncommon for publishers to see a bump of 50-100% in ad revenue after optimizing with the Ad Tester.
What Is Ezoic Premium?
Ezoic Premium is an invitation only program which at the end of the day allows publishers to earn more revenue by giving them access to higher paying ads.
The higher paying ads come from pre negotiated deals that Ezoic has made with large household name brands. These pre negotiated deals are with specific advertisers who are interested in a specific set of publisher traffic.
Because the high paying advertisers want to be sure that their ad spend is going towards high quality, real traffic, Ezoic doesn't just shell out invitations to their premium program right off the bat, even if your site has a ton of traffic already. It takes time for them to verify your website is a fit for the program.
Plain and simple, Ezoic Premium is a subscription based model where publishers pay a monthly fee, and in turn get to earn more revenue from display ads. The program is designed in a way such that premium ad earnings will always be greater than the monthly fee (more on that in a moment).
Benefits of Ezoic Premium
The major benefit of a premium plan is the increase in ad revenue. No doubt about it - I would guess this is the reason 99% of premium users sign up for it in the first place.
With that in mind though, there are a few extra benefits to using Ezoic Premium beyond additional revenue:
- API access and priority reporting (this means you can see your ad/revenue data about 24 hours before regular users)
- Discounts on Ezoic Site Speed Accelerator subscriptions
- Optional monthly site review/expert session with a dedicated account manager
- Premium advertiser reports, which allow for you to see which advertisers account for your revenue
The early access to reporting is definitely a nice-to-have, but I think out of the above benefits the dedicated account manager has been a huge benefit of participating in Ezoic premium.
Generally speaking, I think Ezoic has great customer service. But since joining the premium program I've essentially jumped to the front of the line whenever I have a question or need help.
I reach out to our manager and the issue gets addressed and taken care of almost right away. Plus, it's great to have somebody to ask questions to about the platform and to make sure I'm getting the most out of the technology.
Another benefit that is worth pointing out here is that Ezoic does not place more ads on your page to make more money with premium. If anything, your site will be able to earn significantly more while displaying less ads than before.
Last but not least, Ezoic claims that premium users actually see a bump in "regular" ad partner earnings because the platform processes data of premium users first which supposedly leads to consistent revenue and UX optimization gains.
Drawbacks of Ezoic Premium
You Can't Manually Change Your Plan
This one made me nervous going in to committing to a premium plan. After you've chosen a premium tier, you're not able to manually downgrade - which I'm still not sure I completely understand the logic behind.
The good news though, is that the entire program is designed for the premium subscription to be a profitable proposition for the publisher. It wouldn't make sense for anybody to do it otherwise.
The obvious concern is what happens if my site's traffic drops month over month and causes premium revenue to drop below the price of the subscription? If this happens, Ezoic will downgrade your account automatically and credit your balance so that you continue to make more money than you would have otherwise without the program.
I have not experienced this yet, although it might happen in early 2021 with my niche site project. The site is coming off of a traffic high for the holidays and heading into a low season, so I'd be surprised if I didn't drop down a premium tier as a result.
I'll be sure to update this post if that happens to share results and how it all shakes out - but at the end of the day I still don't quite get why manual downgrades wouldn't be allowed.
Up Front Payment
Currently, you're not allowed to pay for your premium subscription with existing ad revenue that you earn on the platform. You have to pay with a credit card (so at least you can get some points!). Depending on your billing cycle, you could be receiving premium revenue 30-45 days after you pay for a particular month's subscription.
This one I understand, although it would be nice to be able to have the subscription deducted from ad revenue. Ezoic doesn't collect payment from advertisers until the month following the month in which the revenue was earned.
So if they were to allow you to deduct the subscription from ad revenue, they would essentially be extending you free credit because they haven't actually received the cash from advertisers yet.
This one isn't a huge deal for me personally, but it's something to keep in mind and plan your cash flow around if you are considering Ezoic premium.
The Best Pricing Requires a Year Commitment
For many businesses, a year isn't that long of a time frame. On the internet, a year can be an eternity.
All of Ezoic's pricing tiers are 20% off if you commit to a year long contract. For the tier I'm on right now, that means about $220 per month.
This point is going to come down to your particular goals and what you hope to accomplish for your site. Going on a month by month contract can really eat into your profit potential.
If you are a buy and hold type of digital asset investor or plan to own your website for the foreseeable future, the long term contract shouldn't be a problem and will provide material savings.
It's really just a downside if you don't necessarily know if you want to commit to hold your asset for a year because the increased price for a month by month plan can really eat into your return.
Is Ezoic Premium Worth It?
For me, the answer is a resounding yes. I signed up for Ezoic Premium because I wanted to make more money from display ads on my site. That's exactly what I got.
The program is structured with different tiers (1 star through 7 diamond) and plans within those tiers (basic, preferred, and elite).
The best returns come on the highest tier your site is eligible for and the elite plan. I personally don't know anybody on a basic or preferred plan or frankly why they are even an option.
A Real Life Example
I've documented my Ezoic earnings on updates for my Million Dollar Niche Site project updates, but it's a great case study that illustrates the value that Ezoic premium can deliver.
Here is a visual of the earnings of my site - I originally signed up for Ezoic in April 2020 and was approved for premium in July 2020.
You can see that since July, my site has earned $5,227.25 with premium ad partners.
Cost wise, I've paid a total of $4,032.86 in premium subscription fees during that time, which essentially boils down to a 30% ROI.
Here is a month by month breakdown of the premium revenue and cost:
There's a lot going on in that spreadsheet, so here's the way I look at it.
Each month that I've been on premium, my premium earnings have outpaced the cost of my subscription, which is exactly how Ezoic said it would work.
Furthermore, my "regular" EPMV increased by almost 50% since joining Ezoic premium. I calculated this simply by taking the earnings per 1,000 visitors of ONLY the regular Ezoic earnings, ignoring premium revenue.
Some of that can probably be chalked up to higher Q4 rates for sure, but the bump happened almost immediately in August and September after I joined the premium program in July.
Ezoic mentioned that premium users' data gets processed faster which can lead to regular revenue gains - which has totally been the case for me. It's hard to put an exact dollar amount, but I think the financial benefits of Ezoic Premium so far have been even greater than simply looking at premium earning minus the subscription cost.
I mentioned earlier that I'm expecting this website to take a step back in January and February due to seasonality. I will be anxious to see how the program adjusts to less traffic and how profitable it remains through a drawback in traffic.
Annual vs Monthly Plan
You can see from my example that a 20% increase in cost for a month by month plan would really cut into profitability. My site would still be turning a profit with premium (especially considering the EPMV increase on regular earnings), but it wouldn't be near what it is now.
So with that in mind, I think Ezoic Premium is definitely worth it if you are comfortable to commit to the year long contract.
Month by month might still be worth it too. The good news is that there's no long term commitment, so if things aren't working out you can cut the cord pretty quickly.
Ezoic Premium FAQ
Is There a Free Trial?
Yes. At the time of this writing, Ezoic offers a 14 day free trial period for new premium users, which gives you a little bit of time to see the program in action.
How Long Does it Take to Get Invited to Ezoic Premium?
You can see from my example above that I was invited after two months on the platform. From what I understand, that is pretty normal although I have heard that you can get invited faster if your website is already bringing in 100,000+ users per month.
Do You Have to Join If Invited?
No, there is no obligation whatsoever to join the program if you don't think it's a fit for your goals.
How Much Does It Cost to Join?
It varies depending on how much site your traffic has, and cost will be set at a point where you are sure to make more premium revenue than your subscription.
With that being said, the cheapest plan starts at $70 per month and the most expensive, 7 Diamond Elite, is a whopping $18,000 per month.
For me, Ezoic Premium has definitely been worth it 6 months in. I'll continue to update this post with more data and thoughts as time goes on.