What is an Ad Network?

What is an Ad Network? The Importance of Digital Advertising

Final: What Is an Ad Network?

The digital advertising landscape heavily relies on ad networks to connect advertisers with publishers. Ad networks function as intermediaries between advertisers who intend to run their ads and publishers who want to earn from their websites.

Digital advertising is more effective than traditional forms of marketing like print, television, and radio. It’s a powerful marketing tool for any business looking to expand its reach. With the increasing popularity of digital platforms like social media, more businesses are taking the leap to increase their ROI.

Learn what ad networks are, how they work, and their benefits for both advertisers and publishers.


Key Highlights

  • Ad networks act as middlemen between advertisers and publishers who want to monetize their websites.
  • Ad networks work by aggregating inventory from publishers and offering them to advertisers for bidding.
  • There are four main types of ad networks: Horizontal, Vertical, Specialize, and Premium Ad networks.
  • Ad networks help advertisers reach a wider audience while spending less than traditional online advertising.
  • Ad networks give publishers access to many advertisers at lower risk while increasing their online revenue.
  • Various ad networks have different audience reach, performance, reputation, and payment terms.


What Are Ad Networks?

Ad Networks are digital marketing platforms that connect advertisers with digital publishers like websites, social media pages, and mobile apps. Ad networks aggregate ad inventory from multiple publishers, making it available to advertisers looking to reach their target audience.

Advertisers create campaigns to promote their products and services, and Ad Networks find appropriate publishers to host the ads in exchange for payments. They also track impressions, clicks, and conversions and manage the payment process.

Examples of ad networks include Google AdSense, Amazon Affiliates, AdPushup, and AdCash.

Ad networks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, offering more precise audience targeting options. Therefore, they have become an invaluable resource in digital advertising.

Before you start working with ad networks, you’ll need to build a website. If you’re looking to build one, HostAdvice can help you choose the best website builder to help you get started.


How Do Ad Networks Work?

Ad networks work by connecting advertisers with publishers who have available inventory for displaying ads. They offer a marketplace where advertisers can bid for ad inventory from multiple publishers and use it for advertising their products and services.

The process starts when the advertiser creates an account on the ad network, then selects the type of ads they want to create. They may decide to create banners, text, or video ads.

Advertisers can target their ads based on location, demographics, interests, and behaviors. They also specify how much they are willing to pay per click or impression.

After filling in this information, the ad network team will review and approve it before launching  the ad campaign. Publishers can earn revenue by displaying the ads on websites or mobile apps and earn a percentage of the ad income that’s generated from their inventory.


Types of Ad Networks

There are several types of ad networks. If you’re a publisher who owns a website, you need to understand the various types before choosing one to work with.

1. Horizontal Ad Network

A horizontal ad network covers a broad range of websites and topics. Such ad networks allow you to target potential customers across multiple industries and platforms.

Google Ads is an example of a horizontal ad network that allows you to create ads for any website or topic. Horizontal ad networks are ideal for businesses looking to reach a wide range of potential customers.

2. Premium Ad Network

Premium ad networks specialize in high-traffic websites or particular industries. These networks allow you to target more specific audiences. They also provide higher quality leads than other types of networks.

Premium ad networks include Facebook Audience Network, which targets social media users, and LinkedIn Ads, which targets professionals.

3. Vertical Ad Network

Vertical ad networks are those that specialize in particular industries or niches. They allow you to target specific audiences related to your industry or niche, such as healthcare professionals or gamers.

An example of a vertical ad network is Healthline Media, which targets healthcare professionals.

4. Specialized Ad Network

Specialized ad networks are those that focus on specialized areas like video content or mobile apps.

These networks allow you to target very specific audiences who may be interested in what you have to offer. They are ideal for businesses looking to increase their visibility among their desired audience segments.

Examples of specialized ad networks include YouTube Ads and AppLovin Advertising Platform, which specialize in video content and mobile apps, respectively.


Why Are Ad Networks Important?

Ad networks are an essential part of the digital marketing landscape. They are an invaluable time-saver for businesses looking to reach their target audiences online. Ad networks help businesses by:

  • Providing access to a wide selection of websites for advertising.
  • Allowing advertisers to expand their reach far beyond the traditional boundaries of their own sites.
  • Offering extensive targeting capabilities, allowing ads to be targeted to specific user profiles (which increases advertising efficiency).
  • Offering cost-effective advertising since you can buy more impressions and more inventory at a considerably lower cost than buying directly from sites.


Benefits of Ad Networks to Advertisers

Final: What Is an Ad Network?

Ad networks offer several benefits to advertisers who want to reach their target audience. Let’s look at some of the benefits of ad networks to advertisers:

1. Wide Reach

Ad networks have tremendous reach. They can span millions of websites and apps, allowing you to reach audiences in different geographic locations across several devices.

They also give you access to a broader base of potential customers than relying on one website or app. Plus, you can find the right audience that matches your brand.

2. Targeting Options

Aside from a broad customer base, Ad networks offer various targeting options. They can help you target your customers based on:

  • Demographic data: Age, gender, and location
  • Contextual data: Topics related to what clients are currently searching
  • Behavioral data: Past behaviors like purchase history
  • Retargeting: People who have already visited your website

With these targeting options, you can maximize ROI by ensuring that the right people are seeing your ads at the right time.

3. Gain Insights Into Your Audience

Another benefit of using an ad network is that it helps advertisers gain insights into their target audience.

Ad networks provide detailed analytics about who is viewing ads, so the advertiser can make more informed decisions about how best to reach their target audience.

With this data, marketers can create more effective campaigns based on the viewers’ browsing habits or interests.

4. Cost-Effective Advertising

Ad networks offer cost-effective advertising solutions for publishers. By joining an ad network,  they don’t have to worry about spending money on expensive campaigns to get seen by potential customers.

Advertisers can bid for ad inventory based on their budget and goals. They also connect advertisers to a wide range of publishers, which helps them get the best deals for advertising their products and services.

5. Campaigns Scalability

Ad networks also allow advertisers to scale their advertising campaigns efficiently without having to manually manage every aspect of it.

For instance, when targeting new markets or demographics, all they need to do is set up a few parameters in the ad network dashboard and let it do the rest.

This saves time and money as compared to traditional methods, where each campaign has to be managed separately.

Benefits of Ad Networks for Publishers

Ad networks offer several benefits for publishers who want to monetize their websites or mobile apps. Here are some of the benefits of ad networks for publishers:

1. Access to Advertisers

Ad networks give publishers access to a variety of advertisers, allowing them to monetize their websites.

With ad networks, you can monetize every page view and click on the ads featured on your website or app.

This means they can earn more money from each visitor than if you were simply relying on advertising sales alone. Many ad networks also offer incentives like higher rates for higher-quality clicks or impressions, which earns publishers even more money.

Ad network revenue is beneficial for publishers who don’t have the resources or time to establish individual relationships with multiple advertisers.

2. Increased Revenue

Ad networks provide a platform for online publishers to increase their income. Connecting them with advertisers enables publishers to aptly monetize their inventory and boost their income.

Ad networks also offer various payment models from which publishers can choose what suits their needs and goals. The payment models include CPM (cost per thousand impressions), CPC (cost per click), and CPA (cost per action).

3. Reduced Risk

For publishers, Ad networks help to lower the risk associated with working with advertisers directly. By connecting them with advertisers, publishers can monetize their inventory without establishing individual relationships with multiple advertisers.

Publishers, therefore, don’t face fraud and non-payment risk, as ad networks have effective processes to ensure payments are made on time.


Choosing Ad Networks

Choosing the right ad network is essential for the success of any digital advertising campaign.  If you’re looking for advertising hosting, HostAdvice can help you choose the best one for your marketing needs.

Let’s discuss how to choose an ad network that fits your advertising goals and budget.

1. Define Your Advertising Goals

Before settling on an ad network, define your advertising goals. What do you want to achieve with your advertising campaigns? Maybe you want to

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Generate leads
  • Drive traffic
  • Boost sales and subscriptions

Different ad networks can allow you to meet certain goals better than others. Ensure the ad network you choose aligns with and supports your business goals, objectives, and budget.

2. Identify Your Target Audience

Identifying your target audience is crucial for choosing the right ad network. Your target audience is the type of people you want your advert to reach.

Before choosing an ad network, you need to know your target audience’s demographics, interests, and behaviors to choose the right targeting options.

Some important demographics to consider when defining your target audience include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Ethnic background
  • Occupation
  • Economic class

For instance, if you’re targeting young adults who love fashion, you can choose a display ad network that has targeting options based on age, gender, and interests.

3. Research Ad Networks

Once you’ve defined your advertising goals and identified your target audience, it’s time to research ad networks.

There are several ad networks on the internet that you can choose to work with. Some of the most popular ones include:

  • Google AdSense
  • AdMob by Google
  • Yahoo Gemini
  • Amazon Affiliates
  • AdCash
  • AdRoll

Before making a choice, research thoroughly and weigh your options. Look for ad networks that offer various targeting options and ad formats that fit your advertising goals and budget.

Some ad networks specialize in specific ad formats or targeting options, while others offer a broader range of options.

4. Check Ad Network Reach

The audience reach is another critical factor to consider when selecting an ad network. You want to choose an ad network that reaches a broad range of audiences from different parts of the world.

This way, you can reach your target audience across different websites and mobile apps. Some ad networks have a global reach, while others focus on specific regions or industries. The wider the reach, the more money you can make online.

5. Check Ad Network Performance

Before you choose an ad network, check its performance. Look for case studies or testimonials from other advertisers and publishers using the ad network.

Check the ad network’s metrics like click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI). It’s important to work with an ad network that’s transparent enough to let you access such critical data.

Once you sign up with them, you should still have access to performance statistics, and help you see your monthly earnings.

6. Check Ad Network Reputation

Different ad networks have different reputations based on their features, integration, revenue potential, and how they treat their clients. When trying to make a choice, do your detective role and comb through the reviews to understand the reputation of each network.

One of the best ways to find out the reputation of an ad network is to check their ratings and reviews on review sites like TrustPilot.

You can also check the discussions on Quora to see what other people say about the network. Weight the negative and positive reviews to help you narrow down your search.

7. Compare Pricing and Payment Terms

Ad networks have different pricing models and payment terms. For instance, some networks charge per impression, while others charge per click or conversion.

Regardless of the payment model, different ad networks may charge different prices for their services. Some ad networks may require a minimum budget or a monthly commitment before you start working with them.

It’s important to compare pricing and payment terms to choose a network that fits your budget and payment preferences. Always consider the size and scope of your business before setting a budget for advertising.


Characteristics of a Good Ad Network

Final: What Is an Ad Network?

Now that you’ve done your research, you’ve probably narrowed down and chosen one ad network. But how do you know that it’s the ideal one?

Here are the characteristics of a good ad network to look for before making your final choice:

  • Range of Inventory

A good ad network should offer a range of inventory to help you reach your target audience wherever they may be online.

For instance, it should have access to multiple traffic sources, including different types of websites and various mobile platforms. It should also offer several advertising options like banner ads, video ads, text, etc.

  • Cost-efficiency

Ad networks vary in terms of cost-efficiency. It’s, therefore, important to compare different networks before picking the most affordable one.

An ideal ad network should offer competitive rates and provide value for your money. Look at its pricing model and understand how much you’ll pay for each impression or click.

You want to ensure you’ll get the most bang for your buck when advertising on a particular platform.

  • Analytics and Reporting Capabilities

You can judge the quality of an ad network by how much data it provides about performance metrics. A good ad network should provide detailed analytics reports to enable you to track your campaigns’ performance in real time.

You should be able to access important data such as impressions, clicks, and conversions. This will enable you to measure RIO and optimize your campaigns for better results.

  • In-time Payouts

An effective ad network should be able to pay out its fees quickly and on time. This ensures that publishers receive their payments promptly without delays or complications. It also shows that it values its relationships with advertisers and publishers.

  • Audience-Targeting Capabilities

The ability to accurately target specific audiences is essential for any successful advertising campaign. A good ad network should, therefore, be able to provide detailed insights into your potential customers and what type of content they’re consuming online.

This allows you to create campaigns tailored specifically to them, increasing their likelihood of engaging with your ads.

  • Integration with Other Platforms    

A good ad network should also be able to integrate seamlessly with other platforms like social media sites. Integrating with social sites like Facebook or Twitter enables you to reach potential customers across multiple channels.

This helps maximize reach while minimizing costs for running separate campaigns on each platform.

  • Flexible Pricing Models

Finally, an ideal ad network should offer different pricing models to its customers. This is because different businesses often have different advertising budgets.

Some businesses prefer pay-per-click (PPC) models, while others may prefer cost-per-impression (CPM) models.

So it’s important for an ad network to offer flexible pricing models so businesses can choose one best suited to their budget.



Ad networks offer a cost-effective and risk-free way to reach a wide range of audiences with less hassle. Whether you’re a publisher or an advertiser, ad networks should be essential to your digital advertising strategy.

Publishers who own websites can easily monetize them and make more passive income through ad networks. Therefore, if you’d like to join an ad network, start by building an effective website. Get hosting from the best web hosting providers, build your website using the best website builders, and start making more money online.


Next Steps: What Now?

Now that you know what ad networks are and how to choose one for your business, here are some practical steps from this article:


Further Reading – Useful Resources

  1. Web Hosting
  2. Cloud Hosting
  3. https://www.adjust.com/glossary/ad-network/
  4. https://clearcode.cc/blog/what-is-an-ad-network-and-how-does-it-work/
  5. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-are-ad-networks
  6. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2021/07/19/questions-and-solutions-for-determining-whether-website-builders-are-worth-it/

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Ad Network Example?

An example of an ad network is Google AdSense. It allows advertisers to place ads across multiple websites that are part of Google’s network. The ads are coordinated by Google and displayed on partner websites within the network.

What Is an Ad Server?

An ad server is a platform advertisers use to store their campaigns, track performance metrics, and optimize campaigns. They also enable advertisers to manage their advertising budgets, target audiences, and monitor campaign delivery. Ad servers have reporting capabilities to enable marketers to understand how their campaigns are performing.

What Is the Main Difference Between an Ad Server and a Network?

The main difference between an ad server and a network is that an ad server provides tools for managing online advertising campaigns, while an ad network helps connect those campaigns with potential customers. Ad networks place adverts on various websites or apps for them to be seen by the right people at the right time.

What Are the Differences Between Ad Networks and SSPs?

Ad networks allow advertisers to buy advertising inventory from multiple publishers or websites simultaneously. On the other hand, SSP (supply side platform) acts as a middleman between publishers (inventory providers) and buyers (advertisers). They help advertisers find the right inventory for their advertising needs at competitive prices.

What Is Network Advertising?

Network advertising is online advertising where ads are placed on multiple sites within one network. So instead of just displaying your ads on one site at a time, your ads will be seen across many sites within the ad network.

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