Ezoic Review – My personal experience

About a year ago Ezoic starting a massive advertising campaign all over the internet. You may have seen some of these famous ads claiming to “Double your website’s ad revenue.” It sounded too good to be true – you sign up with them, they optimize your site for a small monthly price, and you get to keep your increase earnings.

What’s great about them is they offered a free trial. What’s to lose by trying it out? So I signed up and started my 30 day trial.

Setting up my Ezoic account

After creating my account with them, I received an email explaining even further:

Why use Ezoic?

  • Increased Ad Revenue: Typically 50%-250% more ad income daily
  • Happier visitors from improved user experience metrics (like time on site!)
  • Easy integration (no work required from you!)

Improving your website using Ezoic will make you more money and win you more traffic!

I didn’t immediately set up my site since they offered 2 ways of integrating and I wanted to be sure I picked the best one. Then someone from their team reached out to me personally to walk me through setting it up. He was super helpful (thanks again, Gavin) and answered all my questions. I explained how I didn’t like the JS integration since the javascript was obfuscated and that makes me not want to trust it. I opted to go with the nameserver integration instead. I know it sounds silly, as giving them DNS capabilities gives them more control over my site, I just hated the feel of deceiving-looking code on my site.

Gavin explained further:

“Once you integrate, we have a full technical team that reviews and sets up your site before setting it live. Once live, the testing is more or less automated but, I will be here as well as our tech team to look after it if anything unexpected arises. As far as testing goes, your original content and code is never touched. Our system will build new layouts with your original content. Imagine if you will, all the CSS is stripped away from your site leaving the content for Ezoic to re-wrap and package it into new layouts for your users. And if you ever want to revert back to your original, it’s all 100% reversible so you can do this at any time. “

Sounded great. I switched my name server settings over to Ezoic’s and while that propagated I asked a few more questions. Here’s what I learned:

  • Ezoic is pronounced how it’s spelled, simply: Ee-zo-ik. I thought it was supposed to be spelled out at first, like “E z, o i c”, as in, “Easy, oh I see”. Haha
  • They keep track of your ad revenue by taking over your adsense account. You have to authorize them to become a manager of your Google AdSense account (through Google AdExchange), and then all advertising revenue goes into their own account. In the future you’ll get paid by them instead of a check from Google. While that scared me a little bit, their minimum payout at the time was $20, so shouldn’t be too hard to reach the minimum and get at least one paycheck from Ezoic if I switch and decide to go back to Google directly.
  • They ask your permission to get all your prior AdSense and Analytics stats. I guess this makes sense because they want to know about your traffic and how best to optimize ads for it, but seemed a little invasive at first. I opted not to give permission, and sent them a screenshot of my analytics so that they could see I have the required amount of traffic.

I signed up on April 27th. I was hoping they’d start optimizing my site within a few days, but it wasn’t until May 29th (over a month!) that I finally got an email saying my site was ready. They told me that normally it only takes a few hours, but my site was special so they had to make some updates to their system to make it work properly.

Ezoic Previews

Along with the green light, they provided some screenshots showing what my site would look like as it was going through the testing process. Some looked okay, but many looked covered in ads. Check out this screenshot showing the mobile version of my site with over 50% of the screen in ads! Who puts 3 ads above the fold on a mobile layout?

ezoic-mobile-preview

I was pretty bummed out by a lot of the layouts they were going to test. I felt as though the site was unusable in many instances. Above you can see my site has been diminished into a collection of links and 3 ads. Where’s my content??

Here’s another view of how the site looked on the desktop. The square ad totally messed with the heading, making my whole site just look broken:

ezoic-desktop-preview

When I expressed that I didn’t like many of the layouts, they told me I could pick and choose which ones I wanted to opt-out of the testing in their admin. I did that, although they suggested I didn’t because they wanted the numbers (the ad revenue and visitor stats) to make the decisions instead. They were worried I could be turning off potential winning layouts. I ended up turning several layout off against their judgement.

At this point I was a little worried that this was not going to be worth it at all. However being in the conversion optimization industry I know the importance of running split tests and letting the results prove themselves. I gave them the thumbs up from my end and we activated testing.

Optimization Results

After ‘optimization’ started, I visited my site periodically, checking in on it, hoping some of the poor layouts would have lost and worked themselves out of the system already. I also watched my stats – both in Google Analytics and in the Ezoic dashboard. Things were not trending well. I also thought I noticed that my site seemed to be slower, acting more sluggish than it should.

After about a week I had seen enough and turned off the testing. I reverted the nameservers back to my host and my site was back to normal.

Here are the results of the testing I saw when Ezoic was enabled (From June 2 – June 9):

  • Bounce rate went up from average of 48% to 62%. Increase of 29%
  • Pages per visit went down from 4.4 to 3.0. Decrease of 31%
  • Server response time (Time to first byte) went up from 200ms to 600ms. Increase of 200%
  • Page load time (DOM load) went up from 1.5s to 4.0s. Increase of 166%

These are all bad things. Bad for users, bad for search rankings, bad for revenue! Here are charts showing exactly what happened. I’ve highlighted the time period that Ezoic went live in some images. In other images it’s pretty obvious when performance started to tank:


Bounce Rate

ezoic-bounce-rate

Pages per session

ezoic-pages-per-session

Server response time

ezoic-server-response

Page load time

ezoic-page-speed

Googlebot crawl stats

ezoic-seo-stats

These images come from various sources – Google Analytics, WebPageTest, and Google Webmaster Tools – and they all consistently show poor performance in many areas once Ezoic was enabled.

I have forward this information to Ezoic, including these screenshots, and they assured me that the increase in visitor abandonment is due to testing (I can understand that – there may be poor variants before you find positive ones), and that the increase in load times is due to their CDN propagation. However I’ve used CDN’s before and they should take hours to propagate, not weeks.

I understand that split testing comes at a performance cost, but it shouldn’t be this high. As someone who prides themselves on fast, usable sites, Ezoic was not for me.

As a side note, I had met with the CEO of Ezoic while my site was getting set up (we lived in the same town and was gracious enough to accept my lunch invitation). He’s a super nice guy, with an extremely successful background and lots of great stories to tell. I had a great lunch with him (and if I recall correctly he even picked up the bill). It was apparent that Ezoic has great leadership and talent on board, however at that time its technology simply was not up to my expectations.

10 thoughts on “Ezoic Review – My personal experience

  1. Your experience with Ezoic was exactly how I pictured it, and why I never tried it. I figured that the user metrics would decrease significantly because the software doesn’t care what the site looks like, it just cares about getting clicks. Also having to switch over to their nameservers was another feature that scared me. Maybe over time the Ezoic product will improve.

    • Hey Chris! Yeah, although in their defense they do claim to look at bounce rate and other user metrics so it’s not just optimizing on clicks alone. Let me know if you ever do try them and have a different experience!

  2. I too began testing with Ezoic, and although my site saw a big improvement in terms of visitor interaction and earnings, everything is going DOWNHILL now. Earnings are really bad, EPMV keeps deteriorating, and I just don’t see it getting better any time soon, let alone any more.

    They have nice people on their management team though, that I have to say. But the bottom line was that their improvements are not really all that great in the long run, especially once you are with them for 3 months. You don’t get to see the detailed statistics, like CTR, or CPC from Ezoic unless they specially show it to you. So for all I know, the CPC has turned to crap.

    A lot of this has to do with mobile. Google has no friggin idea how to monetize/handle mobile traffic, neither do they care about the numerous publishers now struggling after converting their sites to mobile just to follow Google’s “directive”. Whatever clicks from mobile are automatically given a low CPC.

    • Hey Jason – Great point. However I’m not sure this would be an apples-to-apples comparison. Ezoic automatically optimizes your site, while with AmpedSense you create the tests you want to run and have more control over how many / where / etc ads are shown. Because of this, there’s not going to be a general effect of testing ads with AmpedSense that can be compared to other services, and each test will have its own set of results.

      However, from a performance point of view I can tell you that AmpedSense will be faster, as everything is served locally from your own wordpress environment, as opposed to relying on a third party script to process on another server.

      Does that make sense?

  3. A spot on assessment. I tried ex for quite a few months.
    I just cannot understand why adsense allows them.
    As many as 7 and sometimes 8 ads on a mobile site.
    I think outfits like this make fall into the hands of ad blockers.
    Great people on the uk set up. Could not want nicer, but this is business…

  4. I started using ezoic on my web site 3 days ago. I think my website has slowed down. The page also look very bad with so many ads. Moreover, my account is not showing earning from adsense . The earning has come down. I am thinking to remove it.

  5. I had the same bad experience with Ezoic and left after a couple of months. Happy to say traffic and all returned to normal once I started running my own Adsense again. Like you, I don’t understand why Google tolerates this, except maybe that they’re all so charming at Ezoic.

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