The 13 Pay Per Click Network Challenge

About the test:

In January of this year, I posted my extensive test results of 12 PPC networks. Since 8 months is an eternity in affiliate marketing, I decided to revisit this test with a brand new niche and see who performed best and worst. I also added 1 more network,, into the mix. The test ran for most of the month of August, and it took me the last 10 days to really analyze the data. Please don’t ask what the offer or niche was, I still need to make a living guys! The keyword list and ads were kept as close as possible on all the different networks. Some minor changes had to be made based on ad copy length restrictions. All landing pages were identical. Bid prices were adjusted to try to keep ad positions as close as possible throughout the duration of the test.

Scoring system:

I rated each network on 3 criteria. Traffic, conversions, and pricing. I had a scoring framework for the different point levels, but obviously some subjective decisions were made in determining each score. Traffic and concerversion rate were given the highest weight, and click pricing was give half weight.

• Traffic Volume (Highest volume = 10 out of possible 10)
• Conversion Rate (Best conversion rate = 10 out of possible 10)
• Click Pricing (Lowest pricing = 5 out of possible 5)

For a best possible total score of 25

The Results:

PPC Network Traffic
Yahoo 8 8 3 19
MSN 6 8 3 17
Google 10 6 1 17
Looksmart 3 7 4 14
ASK 3 5 4 12
Miva 2 5 4 11
Searchfeed 3 4 3 10
Adbrite 2 2 4 8
7Search 1 2 5 8
Enhance 1 1 5 7
Kanoodle 1 1 5 7
Search 123 1 1 4 6
Bidvertiser 1 1 4 6

Overall Winner:

Yahoo came out on top. With their strong traffic volume, and strong conversions, Yahoo surged to past rivals MSN and Google. Their moderately priced traffic and more lenient quality score (compared to Adwords) also helped Yahoo grab the top spot.

Traffic Volume Winner:

No suprise that Google Adwords is the leader in this category. As the king of search and a 2/3 market share for most keyword searches, they reign supreme as the volume leader.

Conversion Rate Winner:

Yahoo and MSN tied for the top conversion rates. The traffic from both of theses networks continues to convert better than Google for most of the niches we have tested. This may be surprising to some, but our data clearly shows big G behind the other 2. Also notable, Looksmart produced strong conversion rates.

Recommended list:

Based on the test results, these are the networks that I would consider testing any offer on:

• Yahoo
• Google
• Looksmart
• Miva

Avoid list!

These are the networks that are probably not worth your time. But you never know until you test!

• Adbrite
• 7Search
• Enhance
• Kanoodle
• Searchfeed
• Search 123
• Bidvertiser

Want to test these for yourself?  Check out these PPC coupons for some free seed money.

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Posted in Affiliate Marketing, General, PPA, PPC Smackdown, Pay Per Click by cdfnetworks on 09|18|07
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Comment by Tim
2007-09-18 16:06:46


That is absolutely an awesome and interesting post. Very different results from what one would initially think would be the case. I have recently had a suspicion that Yahoo is a “better” engine to play on in terms of conversion. It would be interesting to see your take on Yahoo quality score vs. Google’s. And your previous posts on MSN are right on in my limited experience. What’s up with those annoying emails?

Comment by Favorite Browser
2007-09-18 17:05:47

Yep, I would also avoid Miva and LookSmart as well.

Comment by kam
2007-09-18 21:38:52

i guess it all depends on what you are marketing. From where i stand Google while it eats up more money also brings it 2 1/2 times the conversion of yahoo and about 4 times as much as Msn. they key is that you have to watch ever single keyword on Google a lot of Google keywords are money eaters and the few that are conversion makers they give and keep on giving day after day the main point you have to manage your keywords so Google takes less of your money while giving you more conversions with yahoo and Msn you can be a little more liberal but they def. do well with low costs and great cost/conv rate. over all great post

Comment by CPA Affiliates
2007-09-19 02:24:38

great review man. as always though the big 3 are KEY :)

Comment by Nick Bakewell
2007-09-19 02:57:52

Very informative – I should stop focusing solely on Google and expand to Yahoo.

Comment by David
2007-09-20 04:09:34

Cool post! What im wondering about is which one left you with the most profit? Did Google’s traffic volume make up for its poorer conversions? Or did Yahoo & MSN’s great conversions leave you with more money in the end?

Comment by Chad
2007-09-20 04:23:22

MSN was the best profit margin. Google’s extra traffic didn’t make up for the lower CR with this particular offer I was promoting.

2007-09-23 15:37:24

[...] chart was compiled by CDF Networks. A single affiliate offer was run across all thirteen of these engines during August, and was then [...]

Comment by IMGem
2007-09-24 19:12:05

This has given me the idea where to promote my next campaign for better returns. Thanks!

2007-09-25 16:14:16

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2007-10-01 21:25:10

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2007-10-15 01:08:52

[...] came across this post – The 13 <b>Pay Per Click</b> Network Challenge – and thought it was worth sharing. I hope you find it interesting too and take the time to read [...]

Comment by Steven Aitchison
2007-11-03 06:28:08

What a great post and very timely for me as I will be starting a ppc campaign this weekend.

Comment by Ed Kohler
2007-11-04 22:41:54

Wow, great analysis. I love the breakdown of the factors you used for the test.

2007-11-15 15:09:18

[...] big 3. There are many networks out there just waiting to send you more traffic. Check out my latest PPC challenge for [...]

2007-11-30 01:00:56

[...] some 2nd tier PPC services? I’m not going to vouch for any of these places, but I may have tested some of them in the past. At any rate, with free clicks you really can’t go wrong with [...]

2007-12-13 18:52:18


Thanks for sharing your results. We’ve used most of the sites you mentioned. As you said, mileage may vary depending on the niche or type of site and terms used. For one client, AdBrite has worked out well, just have to keep the bids low (.05 or so). MSN seems to be steadily delivering more traffic while maintaining good conversion rates. Unfortunately, my experience with Miva ever since FindWhat was sold has been most traffic doesn’t convert. Keep your bids very low on the 2nd and 3rd tier sites and it’s still hard to go wrong but make sure there’s some reasonable volume before going crazy adding terms. Setup a new account, add top 10 volume terms and see if it adds up to anything worthwhile before adding the hundreds or thousands of other terms in a campaign.

2007-12-15 18:27:33

Great Post… My clients in past tests have received very little return on the Miva network. We have found the proper application of SEO to a website pulls in more traffic and that long tail keywords convert the best.

Comment by Zshare Movies fan
2008-01-14 19:49:44

That will help a lot in deceiding future Advertyising strategies
Thanks for saving so much of trail nd error sessions :)

Comment by ClarkeW
2008-02-10 18:37:33

Nice report here, you definitely provide some valuable information. I was wandering about some of those networks and this report definitely helps.

Have you done anything with ABC Search? I’m trying them out right now and so far it’s hit and miss with them.

2008-03-09 06:08:33

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2008-03-09 11:23:14

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2008-03-18 10:31:34

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Comment by chuks ugoji
2008-03-20 10:58:40

thanks for the info, man!!!

Comment by MillionDollarCheck
2008-03-22 21:33:57

i am actually surprised that the conversion if better on msn and yahoo than google. perhaps i have been doing it wrong.

Does anyone know whether there is a difference in the demographics between yahoo and google?

2008-03-25 02:31:28

[...] Popular Articles The 13 Pay Per Click Network Challenge Anatomy of a winning PPC to affiliate campaign Breaking the $1,000 per hour barrier How to import [...]

2008-03-25 18:58:12

[...] kajian dari CDFNetworks ni mungkin boleh ubah persepsi kita kepada YSM dan MSNAdCenter: The 13 Pay Per Click Network Challenge | CDF Networks – Affiliate Marketing Blog dan ini: 12 Pay Per Click Networks Tested and Rated | CDF Networks – Affiliate Marketing Blog [...]

Comment by Mr. Software
2008-04-08 10:50:19

I think so man, but some product is defferance we must tracking wich is the best

2008-04-10 01:00:33

[...] are some real world testing results of many 2nd tier PPC networks to give you a head [...]

Comment by SEO web hosting
2008-04-11 01:51:13

Chad, I found the article from the John Chow link. This information is great. I’ve often seen posts on forums about 2nd tier networks but I’ve never seen such a good review. I’ve bookmarked this page. Thanks.

Comment by Michael
2008-04-13 19:39:20

Interesting results, I don’t really understand why so many people think that Google Adsense is the bees knees when it comes to PPC advertising networks, I’ve been using YPN for nearly a year now and make about the same amount of money if not more from YPN as I did with Adsense.

Comment by Mark
2008-04-26 23:10:46

Have you tried

They have a PPC program that I was thinking about joining. I was just wondering how you picked networks to try or if that was just a list of popular networks that you wanted to compare.

Comment by hot free layouts
2008-05-12 21:12:24

Great article, thank you very much

Comment by Jonathan
2008-05-27 18:09:00

Interesting results. I’ve tested several hundred dollars worth of ads on Miva and never got one conversion from all of it. Likewise, I’ve been running a few profitable campaigns on 7Search for a few years and although volume is low, they convert fairly regularly.

I know you’re not going to reveal the offer/niche you tested, but it would be great to see a large test with multiple niches/offers – I bet different networks would perform better or worse depending on the niche used. Such a test might provide some very useful information.

2008-06-01 11:00:49

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Comment by Nong
2008-06-15 08:27:19

I think there is none to fight with google in Asia.

Comment by Doug
2008-09-24 03:31:36

Be carefull with looksmart. They rotate the traffic and it’s usually garbage. If you complain, they will switch you to good traffic and for a while you will get conversions but you will get cycled back out again.

Comment by Yudhi
2008-10-02 05:40:57

So? Yahoo Search Marketing still the best right? i already read some similiar post like this and YSM still a winner

2008-11-25 16:25:17

[...] Popular Articles The 13 Pay Per Click Network Challenge Anatomy of a winning PPC to affiliate campaign Breaking the $1,000 per hour barrier How to import [...]

Comment by john
2008-12-05 08:51:00

A search engine may use hundreds of factors while ranking the listings where the factors themselves and the weight each carries may change continually.

2008-12-18 08:46:34

Great post!!! Thanks for sharing! :D

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2009-04-23 22:51:53

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2009-04-25 13:09:06

[...] Which Pay Per Click Do You Use? Here is a list of PPC networks tested: The 13 Pay Per Click Network Challenge | CDF Networks For me LookSmart and also MIVA converted. From my limited experience, I would not recommend [...]

Comment by opinijus
2009-05-29 11:42:06


Your articles are almost scientific studies as pupils read in the university :) Very useful. I think ROI criteria should be included in the ranking. And it ‘d be interesting to see actual numbers of roi and conv rates.

Comment by Lyubomyr
2009-07-09 18:44:17

List of pay per click programs:

Comment by Guy Gottlieb
2009-09-20 00:43:04

I drive traffic outside of search using targeted email, ask me how, I’ll be glad to share, seeing great CPA’s for Lead Generators in Debt, Loan Mod, and about 1300 other categories using the Adknowledge Targeted PPC Ad Network
Touch base for additional information.

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2009-10-24 16:21:46

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Comment by GCF Marketing
2009-11-06 20:07:18

This is pretty nice information to find for free. It does suprise me that 7Search did not perform better. I understand it to be a rather lucrative ppc marketing site.

2009-11-07 06:15:13

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Comment by Vitaly Grinblat
2009-11-08 06:24:18

This is excellent information, and reassuring that there’s a world of traffic outside of Google, and I should stop focusing so much on trying to make Google work 100% of the time.

Thanks for the great info.


Comment by Christian Music
2010-01-13 06:42:50

I believe Google traffic is far greater than this chart. Google’s a 10 then Yahoo is a 3. But I agree google is way overpriced and difficult to make a profit in most categories. Each term tops out at a break even point already established.

Comment by Frank Pipolo
2010-01-16 13:10:14

Great post and really shows what I see all the time where Yahoo and MSN bring higher conversions. Just wish you can get more of them from those guys.

Frank Pipolo – Search Engine Optimization

2010-02-12 12:24:14

[...] Comparison of 13 Pay-per-Click Networks [...]

2010-02-14 00:00:51

[...] Comparison of 13 Pay-per-Click Networks [...]

2010-02-16 03:27:25

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2010-02-16 16:52:06

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Comment by CpaCashForum
2010-02-17 23:51:10

Thanks for this.
I was searching for a list of PPC networks, and something that told me what was good or not. The thing is that it will depend on the offer. So pretty much we have to test if by ourselves.
What do you say about Facebook in the future!?

2010-02-18 20:12:11

[...] Comparison of 13 Pay-per-Click Networks [...]

Comment by Sonic Knife
2010-03-27 22:12:36

I have not even tried PPC yet as it scares the daylights out of me. I just don;t hav ethe confidence to jump into it knowing that I might lose money instead of making it.

2010-06-23 01:12:38

[...] There are other networks out there and is summarized in this neat article called The 13 Pay Per Click Network Challenge. [...]

2010-06-26 20:55:58

This is an interesting read especially to someone still trying to find their way around PPC. A lot of people say its brilliant but I don’t think I am quite ready for it yet.I think it needs a lot of traffic to pay.

Comment by Angel
2010-07-14 05:21:01

Yahoo and Microsoft should never be on top and they should never be included in the top 3 or the big 3 things. Just because those companies are big does not mean that their advertising network is the best. They are no where around google. The very basic fact that yahoo and microsoft does not accept publishers from other countries but only from US. Google on the other hand is global, accepts vast categories of websites, languages and countries. So those considering yahoo and microsoft nework as the best are being stupid. Google is aright.

Comment by Essay
2010-10-12 13:02:09

Eevery body is crazy about Google Adward. But as a PPC marketer, I know that yahoo sponsor search listing works much better than Google or any other network due to it’s low cost and hight conversion rate. I am happy to see that you conclude the same thing from your research.

Comment by Skang
2010-12-12 11:08:08

Hi Chad, seems like a great blog here with great info. Just wondering could you show us your landing pages examples? Always wondered what a PPC landing page that can convert looks like. Plz do contact me via email if you see this message! Thanks!

Comment by Mr. C
2010-12-19 13:35:20


This is totally awesome! I knew the buzz on 7searech and Adbrite was fishy! Have you run this test again, it would be great to see new results, heck it would be great to see ongoing results!


Comment by ex recovery system
2012-03-27 14:24:09

Yahoo! beat big G, can you imagine, unreal, but it happened!

Comment by Ex Recovery System
2013-02-11 20:14:08

Well what do you know, in these data MSN, yes, microsoft, beat g. So that means g was third place. Wow.

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