Review Information Last Updated on: September 8th, 2016
Conversant (formerly ValueClick Media) is a large display advertising network, rivaling Google AdSense and Media.net in terms of quality. In addition to their display ad network, Conversant is the holding company for CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction), Conversant Ad Server (formerly Mediaplex), Conversant Tag Manager (formerly Master TMS), and Conversant Enterprise Solutions (formerly Dotomi). This review will focus specifically on Conversant’s display ad network. (Click here for our review of CJ Affiliate by Conversant.)
Conversant Tech Implementation Rating: 4 out of 5.
Conversant Publisher Reporting & Admin Control Panel Rating: 4 out of 5.
Conversant Payment Rating: 4 out of 5.
Conversant Account Help Rating: 3 out of 5.
Conversant is a relatively new brand that includes a number of well-known monetization partners. This company includes the operations of ValueClick Media (display ads), Commission Junction (affiliate marketing), and a few other companies. It is essentially the old ValueClick network rebranded as new company.
Since Conversant covers multiple monetization avenues–including display ads and affiliate marketing–it may be appealing to publishers looking to simplify and use a limited number of networks.
Overall, Conversant is a decent monetization option for publishers though it falls short of “top tier” ad networks such as AdSense.
It’s relatively easy to get approved, create ads, generate reporting, and manage ads. But the relevancy of ads simply is not as high as other networks, which leads to poor performance. Signing up for Conversant is a straightforward process; besides having to set up a few silly backup questions, there’s nothing challenging here.
Most sites with more than 100 daily visitors will be approved within 48 hours; once you get the approval email, you’ll be able to log in to the Conversant dashboard and begin setting up ads.
The ease of use is definitely a positive for Conversant; generating new ad code is very straightforward and takes only a few seconds to accomplish: from the “Ad Code” panel, be sure to select your site name when creating a new ad, even if you only have one.
Most publishers will use the Recommended Conversant ads–standard 728×90, 200×250, and 160×600 ad units. Conversant also offer a couple “combo ad units,” which can accommodate multiple sizes (specifically, there is a 728×90 / 468×60 ad and a 120×600 / 160×600 ad). Using these ads lets Conversant serve ads of either size through this code, which should lead to improved performance. In our experience with these “flex” ad spots, both sizes appeared on the site.
Conversant ads are generally very high quality, with major brands (such as Microsoft and Angie’s List) running campaigns through this network. There are, however, some lower quality advertisers in the Conversant network, meaning that if you don’t set up any filters you risk serving ads like these:
It is possible to block advertisers within the Conversant dashboard or also to make a whitelist of the advertisers you’d like to be allowed on your site. You can also block certain types of controversial ad types (such as drugs / alcohol or casino ads) or certain creative types (such as User Initiated Audio Ads or Auto Expandable Ads). The process for blocking certain types of ads isn’t quite as easy as it is with AdSense, but it can definitely be figured out.
Aside from the Block / Approve features, the reporting dashboard is pretty clean. Figuring out how specific ad units are performing is easy enough, making it pretty easy to see how different ad units are performing.
For most publishers, the performance of Conversant won’t be nearly as good as ad networks with better contextual targeting such as AdSense and Media.net that serve up ads on similar topics to a site’s content. The result is that while the ads look good, they don’t perform nearly as well. In our experience, Conversant delivers effective RPMs that are only a fraction of what’s available from AdSense and Media.net. Specifically, most RPMs for above-the-fold ad units will be $1 or lower. If you can’t use AdSense or Media.net for some reason, or if you’re looking to supplement those networks with additional ads, Conversant is a good option. But it’s probably not a good primary ad network.