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Google wants you to make more money. Of course, to do so, it must sell more ads — and make more money itself (Google is OK with that).
But there’s a problem: Your site is crappy. And no one clicks on your ads.
Those are exactly the challenges that Ezoic, Google’s first-ever North American Adsense partner (and only, to date) aims to fix. And, in doing so, it plans to bring better usability, improved aesthetics, and the science of multivariate testing to even the smallest and lowest-tech websites on the planet.
While bumping your revenue by 240 percent.
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AdSense is Google’s program for allowing web publishers to put Google ads on their sites. Unlike its partner program AdWords, which is allows advertisers to place ads, AdSense has never had stateside third-party partners. Until now.
“Think of an automated Optimizely, but for publishers,” CEO Dwayne Lafleur told me via email about his startup, Ezoic.
Much of the best content on the web, Lafleur says, is still on small to medium-sized websites and blogs published by passionate hobbyists and individual experts. Unfortunately, while they may be subject-matter gurus, they’re not necessarily focused on providing the best website experience. And even if their site is not Geocities-bad, it’s almost certainly not anywhere near optimized for making a few extra bucks.
Point your domain to Ezoic or paste a line of code into your headers, and the company will take over the delivery of your site, much like Cloudflare or another content delivery network might. But the service will also deeply understand your content, mash up your elements, make it mobile-friendly, insert ads where appropriate, and test multiple versions. Automatically.
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“We understand that Text A is a heading that goes with paragraph B. Or image Y goes with caption X,” says Lafleur, a transplanted Canadian living in San Diego. “Once it has separated the content from the layout and understood it, we are then able to create new layouts with the same content on all devices quite easily.”
The technology works with any content management system, including the ubiquitous WordPress, because Ezoic grabs content at the HTML layer, after it has been output by your website.
“One of the big advantages of our approach and our technology is that not only is it CMS and technology agnostic on the publisher end, it makes all this great content available on all platforms (mobile, tablet, desktop) and will on any new platform that may emerge (iWatch, Google Glass, VR, etc) without the publisher having to do the work to support it themselves,” Lafleur says.
Google killed its own version of a website optimizer in 2012, and opening up the AdSense partner program to third-party companies could be a way of replacing some of that functionality, Lafleur speculates.
In addition, with increased competition from social networks and mobile ad networks, Google’s dominance of the digital ad industry is no longer as secure as it might have been three or four years ago. So offering publishers help to better monetize their content makes sense as a long-term competitive strategy as well as a short-term revenue strategy.
The average site sees a 240 percent increase in revenue, Ezoic says, plus lower bounce rates and more visitor time on site. One site, inspirational quote site Wow4u.com, took revenue from a few thousand dollars to over $20,000.
While the program sounds great for small sites, it’s not just for them, Lafleur says.
“Generally speaking, it’s designed for websites that don’t have the resources or expertise in-house to do their own testing, but it works for sites of all sizes. The largest website running right now gets just shy of 10,000,000 visits per month.”
Ezoic is based in San Diego, Calif., and has taken in $5.6 million in funding from Balderton Capital, New Amsterdam Capital, and private investors.
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