I was contacted by Ezoic in August 2017 and joined Ezoic September 2017. I had never heard about Ezoic before and was very excited to start using their services. There were two main features that interested me the most, the ad tester and the layout tester.

What is Ezoic?

Ezoic provides web publishers with automated website intelligence for their ads, content, layouts, and more. Source: Ezoic

This means that they try different ad locations and website layouts to find the most profitable setup. I will explain this in greater detail below.

There are a lot more features like the Site Speed accelerator, Big Data Analytics etc.  I will focus on the ad tester and the layout tester in this review.

Ad Tester

The ad tester is easy to set up, basically, you need to choose possible ad locations using your existing website layout. There is a add-on for Chrome that makes it super-easy. I was ad testing in no time.

Ezoic claims that the average website sees around 50-60% uplift in EPMV. EPMV stands for "Earnings Per Thousand Visitors" and is calculated differently than RPM which stands for "Revenue Per 1,000 Impressions".

If you compare Ezoic with other ad networks the EPMV numbers look better than RPM which makes rates seem better in comparison. I do like the EPMV number calculation better because it calculates the entire website visit or session instead of calculating the rpm of a single webpage.

If you calculate the RPM you may find yourself sub-optimizing. RPM number will be higher the more ads you put on your website, however, this may cause bad user experience creating lower time on site, higher bounce rate and less pageviews/visit.

The EPMV number shows the total revenue for a visit or session, optimizing for this will return more revenue. See Ezoic's article: What Is EPMV?

review layout tester EPMV growth year to year

Here is a chart of my EPMV growth indexed to 100, the average EPMV growth for 2018 is actually only up 16% compared to 2017. Ezoic says that the average uplift is 50-60% for the ad tester.

I am grateful for that but my expectations were higher. If you compare the Ad Revenue Index for Sep, Oct, Nov and Dec 2017 with 2018 you get this:

review ad revenue index

The Ad Revenue Index takes a statistically relevant sampling of global sites (of all sizes and demographics) and collectively indexes their ad earnings and displays them in a running real-time aggregate. The index can help publishers determine if their ad revenue increases or declines are the results of universal market conditions or the result of something occurring within their own site. Link

The chart shows much higher ad rates for 2018 in general compared to 2017. Compare that with my EPMV growth and you realize that my growth only was only following general ad rate growth. Nothing spectacular at all.

Why didn't my EPMV growth work out as I thought it would? I have a strong feeling it did work out great, however, the money didn't end up in my pockets. They ended up somewhere else.

How does Ezoic make money? They charge premium fees and my guess is that they deliberately try to extend the ad testing as long as possible to charge you as much as possible.

Layout tester

The layout tester is what sparked my interest the most about Ezoic. It allows you to try different layouts and see which one is the most profitable in terms of ad revenue. There are more than 90 layouts and when finished the layout tester selects a layout for a given segment.

Ezoic claims that, in general, a website sees 160% uplift compared to the Google Adsense earnings you had before you joined Ezoic. I really wanted to start layout testing right away but they told me my website wasn't compatible. I thought that it can't take more than a week or two to get it compatible but I was wrong, really wrong.

I had to wait 24 months before it was compatible, I now suspect they deliberately extended my ad testing period as long as they could.

A sharp improvement in results after testing 10 layouts

I started layout testing in August 2019, I read the articles in the Ezoic's Knowledge base and one article said that a single layout requires between 7000 to 10 000 impressions in order to reach full confidence. The article also said that you should see a sharp improvement in results after testing 10 layouts.

Full confidence means that the Layout tester has figured out what the average EPMV for that particular layout will be. The average EPMV can then be compared to other layouts in order to find a winning layout for a given segment. You can find that metric in Experiments (Big Data Analytics).

In September 2019  I had layouts receiving a lot lot more more than 10 000 impressions which I thought was unnecessary and more than 10 layouts had reached full confidence. I contacted the Ezoic success team and they gave me an answer that didn’t answer my question.

The Ezoic knowledge base article I read was gone the next day without any clarification, which I thought was very suspicious. This was in September 2019. What is going on?

4 to 12 weeks before you see a sharp improvement in results

Layout tester impressions 1

In January 2020 around 2 million impressions had been sent to the Layout tester. 25 layouts had now received up to 80 000 impressions each. I contacted my account manager at Ezoic and asked why it takes so long to see the EPMV improvements.

layout tester weeks 2

I also mentioned that there is another article in the knowledge base that says it takes 4 to 12 weeks before you see a sharp improvement in results”?

Here is the article:Understanding Ezoic Optimization - Timeline

My account manager didn’t answer my questions and wanted me to focus instead on the success I have experienced so far.

Me: Whaaaat? 

The chart above shows that in January 2020 I have been layout testing for 24 weeks, Ezoic says it takes between 4 to 12 weeks.

Distribute impressions across all layouts

Layout tester 100

The layout tester allows you to block specific layouts and I used that to distribute impressions across all layouts.

All layouts have now reached full confidence, It is beyond me why the layout tester is not doing this by default.

What happened to EPMV growth? Nothing at all.

Ezoic Community

us stop sign February 28th, 2020 I wrote a comment in the Ezoic community forum about my concerns.

I wanted to see if others were having the same experience as me.

My comment was not approved, perhaps my questions were too true and honest for Ezoic to handle?

February 2020

layout tester weeks february

Another 4 weeks were spent on the Layout tester without any results or improvements.

Layout tester impressions february

2.5 million impressions have been sent to the Layout tester since August 2019, I wonder how many are needed. All layouts have reached full confidence but EPMV growth is actually declining.

March 2020 - Layout tester finished?

review layout tester EPMV growth2

My account manager claimed at the beginning of March that the layout tester is finished testing and that the layout tester generated a 30% EPMV uplift. He says I can't expect more growth from the layout tester because I was ad testing before layout testing. I have no idea how he calculated that number but if you include the premium charges to the calculation the effective EPMV is actually down -3% compared to the same month a year ago.

The chart above shows EPMV growth since I started Layout testing in August 2019, these are effective EPMV values meaning Premium charges are included in the calculation.

The weird thing is that I found a comment in the Ezoic community made by one member of the Ezoic support team claiming the average uplift from layout testing compared to ad testing is 100%. I told Ezoic about this but apparently I am one of those that can't even reach the average uplift of 100%. It is actually declining, see chart above.

The layout tester is still distributing impressions to more than 80 layouts, this tells me that it is not finished. I have no idea why my account manager and Ezoic are lying to me but I have a feeling it has to do with money. My expectations were high, however, I have now lost trust in Ezoic.

Final notes

I will update this article every month so you can see how it develops.

The feeling I get is that Ezoic is taking advantage of my yearly contract and not giving me the results that I should have gotten. I am sure I will see some EPMV improvements the month before my contract ends in an attempt to get me to sign another year. I highly recommend others to not go for the yearly contract, in fact, skip Ezoic altogether.

I wish I didn't had to write this article, hopefully, this can warn others what to expect if you join Ezoic. My 12-month contract ends in November 2020 and I look forward to trying something else, like AdThrive or Mediavine etc.

Update! I have canceled my Ezoic contract and I will be leaving in May, I am happy.

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