Answering All Your Questions Regarding Customer Week, Levels, Grants and More

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As Customer Week comes to a close, we want to thank you all for joining! There were plenty of announcements made, and in turn, plenty of great questions from our customers. Ezoic CMO Tyler Bishop took to Facebook to do a 24-hour Q&A session. Any question you had, Bishop responded. There were 30 questions in the Facebook group alone! If you weren’t able to join, you can read the entire Facebook Q&A below.

If you’re looking for additional insights regarding Ezoic’s new Levels, visit our Levels FAQ page. For all information related to grants, you can learn more here. And if you missed any of the announcements throughout Customer Week, be sure to see all of our posts, videos, and more, on our Customer Week page.

Facebook Q&A With Ezoic CMO Tyler Bishop

1. Hi Tyler I’m sure you’ve gone over this but I missed it, how do we apply for a grant?

  • Spark grants

Applications will be available at certain points inside both Access Now (just for Access Now sites) and inside Level-Up Learning (there will be open calls for people participating to submit applications almost weekly in the program).

  • Growth Grants

These will be sent directly to sites via email and their Ezoic dash (we have a brand new messaging tool in the levels dashboard) that meet the basic criteria on a monthly basis. We send rounds out regularly, the applications will ask sites about how they’d use the money, etc. Filling out an application doesn’t guarantee anything, but, receiving one means that the chances of getting one in the future are high if you maintain your growth

  • Incubator Grants

We’ll announce these semi-annually, and have a call for all qualifying sites to submit applications. These will require a much more thorough evaluation process and may not be a fit for all. They are much larger investments and may not be a fit for all, but we’ll do a lot of fun stuff highlighting those who receive them and their progress.

2. Why are Premium earnings included as gross in the Ezoic Analytics stats and therefore artificially boosting the numbers (e.g page revenue & EPMV’s). By including the gross Premium earnings all the stats are exaggerated because there’s no allowance for the deduction of the monthly Premium fee (which is a substantial % of Premium earnings). Secondly, are all pages benefitting equally from Premium ads? If not, would it not make more sense to provide Premium earnings analytics separately?

I think we probably need to re-work how we present Premium to members; as it’s pretty obvious few understand how it works. That’s our fault.

It’s direct campaigns that run, and the logic that governs them is absolutely not something to control on a page-by-page basis manually, but realistically Ezoic is doing this in some cases in the background, but just on a per visitor basis.

Premium is partially about presenting revenue the way we think it should be to publishers. That’s YOUR revenue. Paying a technology cost, and then getting to keep 100% of your revenue is in the best interest of customers. We actually think that rev-share is broken, as it has been an area where ad networks and other nefarious parties have snuck away dollars from sites for a very long time. We are pretty big fans of transparency.

In most cases, anyone that is taking a rev-share may say they are reporting actual EPMV but in reality, they are double-dipping, and there’s no way to hold them accountable. This is the history of this space and initially one of the major motivations for creating Ezoic (our founder is a big nerd and had worked in this space a long time and wanted to make a tool that eliminated the trickery).

Believe it or not, we started the trend of using EPMV in reporting, because shady ad networks would not bid on certain visitors, artificially

inflating their CPMs, and the only way to actually see this inflation was by calculating EPMV (revenue per session-EPMV, not eCPM). Everyone else slowly followed our lead (even AdSense!)

Premium means that direct ads run alongside other programmatic on a site, and drive up overall CPMs, not just the ones show from direct campaigns. I know you didn’t ask about this but it does come up a lot, it is always additive and in more than one way.

3. Are all the attributes concerning the levels implemented on the day we received them or have they been there all along it’s just that it has been made official.

Good question! A little bit of both actually.

Meaning, we did a lot of this in the background internally. The segmentation was a little different and a little less formal than the way we organized it for Levels. But, this means that we have a better internal process to match the new external one. Specifically, whitelisting ad partners, etc., as it was not always internally consistent.

Additionally, the clarity regarding support and help resources was so poorly communicated on our end externally that no one knew what or who they should contact or how. This was something we had organized internally but was a major issue for customers because they didn’t know. It may end up being one of the most dramatic changes; as it will mean a lot of things get people’s attention in a more organized fashion so we can ensure everyone is getting the maximum value from our platform.

4. Is there a way to ensure I get stable EPMV’s?

Kind of?

Realistically, I have yet to see any site not subject to some form of seasonality. This can be broadly checked here: https://adrevenueindex.ezoic.com/

The next question outside of seasonality is if your EPMV is inconsistent, perhaps it’s your audience that is actually inconsistent. Meaning, if the traffic is coming from different sources and landing on different pages week over week or day after day, it will be wildly inconsistent. Some pages on your site might vary by 500% in EPMV. If a high-earning page makes up 50% of your revenue one day, but only 10% the next day, the avg. EPMV for the latter will be far lower. That said, if you filter and look at your traffic by geo, landing page, device, and traffic source, I bet you’ll find IT IS VERY consistent.

5. What is your advice for someone who wants to start a website today? (other than start and be consistent)

I love this question.

I always tell people to start to pick something that allows them to use their strengths. For most just starting, they’re largely responsible for developing the site, creating content, and more.

This means if you are building the product — your content (or tool/web app) etc. — that you need to pick something you know you can speak to with passion, expertise, interest, or at least know that you can consistently feel good about working on.

Publishing can feel like a slog in the beginning.

The very first company I ever started (not Ezoic) was co-founded by a guy that ran a major financial firm, and I remember he said that all financial advisors in their firm struggled for about 2 years, and most quit because it was a lot of work and the pay wasn’t good yet. BUT, if they stayed past 2 years, the compounding of interest from all the clients they added week after week during that first 2 years, they’d start to see exponential increases in their pay. The ones that stayed past 2 years usually stayed for at least 10!

I think publishing is parallel in its payoff in many ways, so I think it is important to find something you don’t mind working on; especially when motivation and validation might not be there yet.

6. Somebody is sending bot traffic to my page – what can I do? Is Ezoic CDN safe enough for this problems?

Shouldn’t be a problem if it’s that low-tech.

Truthfully, bots in the way most think about them are not a problem by any stretch. There are good ones and bad ones, just like bacteria, and we all learn to work around them appropriately. There will always be bad actors out there, and no one can protect against that (it’s a problem no one solves regardless of claims); however, the infrastructure Ezoic Cloud provides rivals the most expensive CDNs on the planet. I won’t name names but we make fun of some of the big CDNs on the market that charge hundreds of thousands a year for stuff we provide our customers for free 🙂

To answer your question, if what you have described is the nature of it, then you shouldn’t have much to worry about.

7. When will a customer receive grants and is it direct paid to bank accounts? I am qualified for 2 grants in level 2? Does it mean I will get 2 grants?

Grants require applications. Receiving and completing an application doesn’t mean you’ll receive one either. However, getting a growth grant application means you’re on the right track and that eventually — even if your application doesn’t result in an award — you’re chances are pretty high.

The criteria for accessing an application is above in one of my answers .

levels.ezoic.com/grants/

8. Can I design and publish quotes for my Ezoic approved website? Nobody giving me clear answer.

That’s an ad policy question. I can’t speak to your site, but I know there are plenty of quote sites out there showing ads on them, including many of ours.

9. When is the t-shirt expected to be dispatched by Ezoic?

Who said we are sending shirts 🙂

Didn’t we just ask for sizes, hehe — I can’t promise everyone a shirt, but I can share that many of our customers who advance up a level, or have been using Ezoic for a lengthy period of time can expect us to do a much better job of validating their success along the way, including sending them things like shirts.

Also, I imagine there are much cooler things than shirts we’ll send our customers over time as they grow, succeed using Ezoic, and have been celebrating that success with us for a while.

The logistics of sending our tens of thousands of customers stuff is something that we had to spend a lot of time figuring out.

10. What if someone fails to maintain the level requirements? Do they downgrade to lower levels?

I answered this on the webinar and it’s here in the Levels FAQ

11. Can I add two websites on Ezoic hosting?

Yeah, we don’t have a limit as long as sites are monetized and cloud-integrated.

12. Should we meet both conditions of revenue and visits to be able to upgrade to next level?

Yes. See Levels FAQ.

13. Hi Tyler – nice job this week! I’m a bit confused about placing ads with the plugin versus the extension since I’ve been optimizing for a while. The article seems to indicate that there could be some problems if you start with the plugin after having ads optimized by the AI. Can you clarify that and will it be discussed on tomorrow’s webinar?

We are actually working on a super simple guide for…

1. Sites just setting up with Ezoic — using the Ad tester auto-placements in the plugin are likely your best option

2. Sites that haven’t been using Ezoic more than 6 months with EPMV below $10 (hard to say, this is something we are calculating and hoping to show each site individually) — this is when it may make sense to replace existing placeholders with those created by the plugin

3. Established sites using Ezoic for more than 6 months with EPMVs above $10 (again, we want to individualize this as its really different for many sites) — it likely wouldn’t make sense to replace placeholders with the dynamically generated ones.

Either way, we have some really powerful new ad placeholder AI optimization stuff planned before the end of the year.

Goal is to make the plugin more individualized to your site to give you suggestions.

AND.

Allow sites to use AI to auto-optimize certain placements when we think you could make more money by making a few modifications… It’ll do it automatically 😮

14. Thanks for answering all of these questions… hope you’ve had a supreme size coffee! I’m just wondering why I am able to see this button “apply to next level” but I am no where really near the next level requirements. Is it just to make me drool. Thanks so much.

Really good question.

In putting this together over the last year, we had to think through so many different scenarios so that we could provide the best service/products, etc., to all our customers.

Even if a site may not be close to the next level, there are circumstances in which they may be ready… i.e. they add an additional site that would put them in the next level (and if it’s in the middle of the month, they’d have to wait essentially two months until the previous month reflected traffic aligned with the level they are positioned for).

There are other exceptions, too, but we plan to add those stats and details in the form of more dashboard widgets and progress bars that will make it easier to see what could be pushing your site’s growth faster and why we’d want to get you into a higher level if you were able to optimize those components (i.e. a change may improve your EPMV so that your revenue will hit the mark – even if it doesn’t at the moment).

15. I added placeholders with the chrome extension a couple months ago on a new site. Should I use the ad setting feature in the Ezoic WordPress plugin? Or should I leave my placeholders as it is?

I answered this above, so checkout the answer there .

The answer is maybe…. but in most cases not. If you setup all the placeholders yourself and haven’t touched them since, it may not be a bad idea. If you had help or have optimized them over time, it might not be worth it. We hope to give more direction on this soon.

16. Hey Tyler, I’m on level 3. Shouldn’t that put me on a fast track to get on Premium? I’ve been a publisher since 2018, never for once been invited to try it out.

Typically, yes.

Level 3 will generally be invited to premium already or be invited shortly after reaching that level.

There are a few best practices there to visit:

– Consistent traffic month over month

– Consistent revenue month over month

– Cloud integration

– Have remained with Ezoic “on” for 3+ months.

^ both in line with the thresholds for your level. 

17. Hey again Tyler, I just want to thank you and Ezoic very much for your accessibility and willingness to help us publishers through our troubleshooting and growth curves. Cheers.

Thank you.

I truly believe that we can make everything we have built better and that we can make it easier to use for everyone as well.

That said, as an executive, I think our best marketing is education.

If a publisher knows more, I have zero doubts they’ll use anything other than Ezoic on their sites for monetization. What’s more, I hope we can make Ezoic valuable beyond just monetization so that we can help our sites grow traffic and their brands as well. I am really excited about what we have planned on that front.

18. Thinking about adding video ads. Is there a limit or sweet spot in terms of how long the video should be?

I’d use Big Data Analytics to look at some of the info there.

Generally, content that is valuable to the audience is the golden rule.

I know everyone wants a number or a specific direction, but it really varies. I replaced the battery in my wife’s Jeep recently and tried an article with a super long video the other day and went back and found another article that had a much more succinct video. I may be unique for that kind of content but the latter article certainly would earn more with the video on it if my experience is common. But, that depends on the intent of the visitor.

19. Mediavine have recently introduced something called the ‘universal player’. An ad slot that lets any site benefit from video ads, whether that site produces video or not. Any plans for something similar?

No. Not ever for every visitor. It is a death sentence for long-term revenue. It’s awful for visitor experience and dilutes ad rates. It can be done in some instances and there are some Level 3 and up ad partners that make this achievable (but it has to be done with our machines to not cause harm).

Look at SportsIllistrated.com articles.

They are an example of what happens when stuff like this is done over time. All other ads get diluted and advertisers bid less and less over long periods of time.

This causes ad ops folks to get more and more desperate to hit previous revenue numbers, so they add more ads and the ads get more and more aggressive. Eventually, pages are unusable and ad rates are in steady decline. The veterans of this space know this too well.

20. I’m not 100% sure if I understand what the level means? If I am level zero – traffic less than 10,000, does that mean no revenue? What does level 1 mean?

Monetization is available for every level as long as policy requirements are in place.

Access Now.

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

VIP

21. As levels suggest that with climbing each level there will be more premium advertisers will be added… Does it mean that with climbing each level, as a publisher we should increase in our EMPV as well as earnings?

Yes. More ad partners = more competition = higher bids $$$

22. When will DNS integration be removed by Ezoic?

Hopefully never, it gives our customers so many advantages. Allows us to help in ways that gives everyone strategic advantages in the future as well.

23. I confirmed with my publishing manager that ads will not show up in between bullet points of a list (only between paragraphs). Is there a way to insert ads in between bullet points of a list?

Probably… I think you can hard code them that way on a page-by-page basis for sure in those locations using HTML, but at scale I bet there’s a way. You can ask your account rep or support and maybe they can help better than me.

24. Hi Tyler, to start, thanks for your time and all you do for the publishers! My question: As a Premium user, I would like to know if it wouldn’t be easier for all if the Premium payment was directly deducted from the revenues. Instead of getting an invoice every month, it would be easier to just get the payment minus the Premium fee. (even from accounting point of view). Do you think it’s something you can consider for the future? Thanks for your answer!

Sure. I have talked about a few of these advantages from the customers view above (i.e. keeping all your revenue, no long net payment delays etc.).

But, I will share that I know of hundreds of publishers recently that we literally gave them Premium free for… a WHOLE YEAR! 😮

^ typically, for long-tenured customers on Premium for a long period of time in Level 3 and up, but in those cases, most are saving $10,000+ a year. They get on our annual plan and we literally let them keep 100% of the revenue for up to a year.

We really care and we give back to those that have stuck around and grown using our tech. We need to tell those stories more often.

25. Hey Tyler. Don’t have a question, just want to say thanks for investing in us publishers.

Thank you. I really appreciate that.

This was something I pushed very hard for and everyone here felt like it was the right decision.

When you believe in your product and company, that means you believe in your customers.

We have so much data that says when our customers stick around THEY GROW. So, why in the heck wouldn’t we want to help them do that faster.

Keep up the great work, Tony.

26. What if I reach $2500 earnings with 100K visitors considering high EPMV due do Tier 1 Traffic. Will I be eligible for level 4 or need to get 250k mark? I have gone through the FAQ but need a word from your side.

Traffic and revenue are the criteria for each level.

27. Why is your support so poor, the worst in the industry?

I strongly disagree, but understand sometimes that if the right channel isn’t utilized or communicated that it can be frustrating. For example, when has anyone ever talked to someone representing AdSense? Our Level 3 and up sites get dedicated reps and experts.

In VIP, we literally have SEO and developers that do real work for our customers. No one else on the planet provides that… and we are a technology company… most others are either ad networks or service businesses that “compete” without business.

One of the main motivations of levels and the new dashboard upon our initial launch has been making the channels and resources available for support easier to find, access, and utilize so sites can get answers faster, no matter the size.

28. Is adding Ezoic Privacy Policy Mandatory? I already have a Privacy Policy page, which includes Adsense policy.

Ad policy states sites must have a privacy policy page on their site. You don’t need our auto-generated one, you can go to the privacy tab in your dashboard and simply input the URL of your current page, and that way we can reference it if any ad policy folks ever come knocking.

29. Good job Tyler! Proud to be part of Ezoic and to reach the VIP level. Is Ezoic planning to go to stock exchange in the future? And will we get shares then?

Hehe. Super-happy to hear and thanks for being a customer.

I’ll put it this way, companies that are extremely valuable typically aren’t led by people who set the goal of creating a company that has a high valuation. They are led by people who want to make a great product that they believe is badly missing or unavailable in the market.

I can tell you that myself and others tasked with being stewards of our company are proud of how responsible we’ve been with our capital and our customers have benefitted immensely in ways most probably don’t know.

For one, we have financial backing and a form of stability that means in the event of a major industry shake-up, we’d be able to mitigate any financial risks to our customers in a way that few others are capable of. This is probably not something a lot of publishers think about, but the veteran ones that have seen shady ad networks go bankrupt can appreciate the value it has.

Last, $12.4M going to our customers is really only the kind of experiment you can afford to try if you have a product that you truly know can help bring that ROI back to the business through customers long-term. We have that and because of our responsibility with our operations, we can do unprecedented things like this.

30. Are my account manager and publisher success manager the same or 2 different people?

Initially, with Levels, we knew that we may need to shift onboarding specialists and Publisher Success Managers a bit for some customers. As we have sites level-up and different members of the staff see uneven books of customers that they are tasked with helping, we want to make sure that no team member is overloaded (that’s not good for anyone).

As the rollout site in the rearview, we expect there to be a little more stability there in terms of not seeing too many different names change in that area unless you level up and get additional team members or experts at your disposal.

By Tyler Bishop

Tyler is an award-winning digital marketer, founder of Pubtelligence, CMO of Ezoic, SEO speaker, successful start-up founder, and well-known publishing industry personality.