What Are Advertising Networks And How They Work?

by | Nov 22, 2023 | Digital Marketing

Advertising Networks (Ad Networks) are the unsung heroes of online advertising, acting as savvy middlemen between publishers and advertisers. In a century-long partnership, publishers and advertisers have been the dynamic duo, generating billions. Then came ad networks, the cool rescuers. When publishers have unsold ad space, ad networks step in, offering it to companies for slick ad campaigns.

Going straight to the publisher may seem tempting, but ad networks, with their bulk ad space purchases, make online advertising technology cost-effective. They’re like matchmakers, ensuring different types of ads reach the right audience in style.

Advantages Of Ad Networks

1. Broadened Reach:

  • It helps to connect advertisers with secure buyers, expanding your audience tenfold compared to direct advertising.
  • Using multiple networks taps into diverse demographics, giving you access to various ad exchange(s).

2. Laser Focused Targeting :

  • Ad networks offer impressive targeting options beyond the basics.
  • From location and age to interests and specific hobbies, many ad networks like Google AdSense and Adwords target multiple ad networks and sell inventory.

3. Better Accessibility:

  • Modern ad networks prioritize simplicity and integration.
  • No coding knowledge is needed; point-and-click solutions are needed to create, fund, and launch ad campaigns.
  • Algorithms handle data analysis and testing, allowing marketers to go live with multiple creatives and a modest budget for efficient testing.

Traditional Ad Networks vs. Programmatic Advertising:

1. Transaction Method

Traditional: Supply-side platforms where manual negotiations and direct transactions between advertisers and publishers.

Programmatic: Automated real-time auctions where ad space is bought and sold instantaneously.

2. Bidding and Placement

Traditional: Manual bidding for digital ad space with placements based on direct agreements.

Programmatic Advertising: Automated bidding and placement using algorithms for efficient and dynamic real-time optimization.

3. Targeting Approach

Traditional: Personalized direct deals between advertisers and publishers for specific ad placements.

Programmatic: Data-driven targeting leveraging algorithms to reach precise audiences based on behavioral patterns.

4. Optimization and Reporting

Traditional: Limited real-time optimization, with changes to ad campaigns taking time.

Programmatic: Demand Side Platforms (DSP) with automated algorithms, accompanied by real-time analytics and reporting.

Advantages Of Advertising Networks

Different Types Of Ad Networks And Examples

1. Display Networks:

  • The world’s biggest ad network, Google’s Display Ad Network, for instance, reaches a whopping 90% of all internet users globally.
  • Display ad formats are like the pictures you see on websites – banner ads, animated gifs, and even videos.
  • Most of the popular advertising network(s) run automatically, thanks to smart algorithms optimizing where and how they appear at the publisher sites.

2. Search Networks:

  • These are the search engine heroes. Google, Microsoft, and YouTube are the cool kids in the digital ads category.
  • You pay only when someone clicks on your ad (pay-per-click or PPC), and it focuses on contextual targeting based on ad impressions.

3. Video Networks:

  • Have you ever seen those short ads while watching YouTube? That’s video advertising, and it’s huge.
  • YouTube, Hulu, and Amazon videos are the popular kids in this playground.
  • Video ads are the cool cats of advertising, with digital marketers choosing top-tier publishers and networks like UnRuly to serve ads.

4. Mobile Networks:

  • These are special types of ad inventory for mobile apps or any portable devices. Picture ads are popping up in your favorite apps.
  • Mobile networks gave a fresh vibe to push ads, especially in e-commerce and gaming.

5. Social Media Networks:

  • Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, and TikTok are the social media stars where marketers show off.
  • Direct deals with platforms are cool, but social media ad networks use AI to show your ads to the right crowd.
  • Tracking what people do online helps these networks nail retargeting – showing ads to people who’ve shown interest before.

Navigate the advertising space seamlessly with the expertise of the best social media marketing agency.

How Do The Ad Networks Work?

Ad networks serve as a dynamic tool, benefiting both advertisers and publishers. Here’s a simplified breakdown of the traditional ad network model, acknowledging that these steps may evolve with advancing technology:

1. Publisher Aggregation:

Ad networks bring together a multitude of publishers, each with an available unsold ad inventory.

2. Advertiser’s Campaign Creation:

  • Advertisers craft campaigns using the ad network’s campaign panel.
  • Details such as budget, target audience, and more are specified during campaign creation.

3. Publisher Integration:

Publishers embed ad network tags on their websites to integrate with the network.

4. Match and Ad Deployment:

Ad networks enable the connection between an advertiser’s campaign and a publisher’s site’s available inventory.

5. Revenue Generation for Ad Networks:

Ad networks make their profit by either:

  • Taking a percentage cut from the generated ad revenue.
  • Applying a markup on the inventory before selling it to the advertiser.

6. Performance Tracking for Advertisers:

Once the ad is live, advertisers monitor and manage its performance through the ad network’s campaign panel. In essence, ad exchanges act as the glue connecting publishers and advertisers.

Ad Network vs. Ad Server

Understanding the contrast between ad networks and ad servers can be tricky, given their simultaneous entry into the demand side platforms and the intricacies of the online advertising world. Let’s break it down:

Ad Server Overview:

  • An ad server is like the command center of digital advertising.
  • There are two types: first-party ad servers (for publishers) and third-party ad servers (for advertisers).
    • First-party ad server(s) empower publishers to manage their ad revenues, handle direct deals, sell unsold inventory to popular ad networks, and track ad performance.
    • Third-party ad server(s) assist advertisers in storing ad details, gauging campaign success across multiple publishers, and verifying metrics against publisher’s direct sales.

Ad Network Insight:

  • An ad network is another piece of advertising tech but with a different role.
  • It acts as a mediator, facilitating transactions between advertisers and publishers.

In essence, while ad servers manage and report on campaigns, ad networks specialize in making the transactional magic happen. Ad servers are like the organizers, ensuring everything runs smoothly, while ad networks are the facilitators, connecting advertisers and publishers for a seamless exchange of ads and spaces.

Craft compelling connections through ad networks with the best digital marketing agency by your side. 

Pro Tip For Choosing The Right Ad Network

Selecting the best ad network demands careful consideration. Begin by defining your target audience, allowing you to narrow down potential networks aligned with your campaign goals. Investigate the network’s inventory and targeting capabilities, opting for reputable names to ensure your ads land on high-quality websites.

Seek reviews and feedback from experienced digital marketers to gauge the network’s real-world performance. Cost considerations are crucial, so understand pricing models and evaluate the impact on your budget.

Wrap Up

As technology advances, advertising networks continue to evolve, promising a future marked by user-friendly experiences and AI-driven enhancements. The impact of user-friendly ad networks underscores their significance as the driving force behind effective, targeted, and efficient advertising campaigns. 

Does this seem overwhelming, leaving you feeling a step behind?

The Best time to start was Yesterday. The next best time is Now!

Almaas saleem

About The Author…

Almaas Saleem – A software Engineer by profession, worked as an Automation Test Engineer and cleared the international level testing exam (ISTQB). Almaas has a sharp eye on everything about the web, technology and innovation and also is Engaged in Technical writing for new businesses managing various entities. Her Area of Expertise includes Web development and design, Automated test software(s), ethical hacking, cybersecurity, cryptography, and digital marketing. Being committed and efficient towards her work is what makes Almaas stand out from the crowd.

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