What is Ad Network? Types, Pricing Options and Ad Formats

An online ad network or advertising network is company that connects both the advertisers and publishers to host the online advertisements.

In the online advertising industry, you may also hear calling ad network, mobile ad network advertising network, display ad network, and using similar terminologies. You can recognize an ad network that mediates the sale of ad inventory between both the publishers and advertisers.

The ad network uses the advertising technology or AdTech that broadly used in today’s online advertising industry. These ad networks usually backfill the remnant or unsold inventory of publishers and maximize the revenue instead of serving the house ads.

The ad networks are lifeline for smaller advertisers to promote their products with affordable price instead of paying premium price to serve the ads on well know websites. The advertisers usually get various packages based on their requirements.

The ad networks started supporting from 90s when we started seeing a rapid growth number of websites and change in advertiser marketing strategy. The new publishers were looking for a convenient way to sell their unsold inventory to maximize the revenue. At the same time advertisers were looking for a way to reach their desired audience to promote products and services with affordable ad cost.

The ad networks initially selling the unsold or remnant inventory from the publishers with discounted prices to the advertisers to run their ads. However, the trend has been changed drastically and ad networks started selling the premium inventory with premium price as well.

Types of Ad Networks:

The types of ad network are based on the several criteria, in particular, the categorization depends on the business strategy, quality of the ad networks, and volume of the inventory decides the ad network types.

Based on the business strategy, ad networks can be divided into three categories on how they serve the advertiser and publisher requirements.

Vertical Ad Networks: These ad networks represent the publisher’s inventory and provide complete transparency for advertiser to know where their ads are serving. The vertical ad networks provide high-quality traffic with affordable prices to advertise on the premium websites.

The pricing model would be revenue share and offer ROS (Run of Site) advertising across the specific channels Ex: Automobile, entertainment, travel, etc. 

Blind Ad Networks: These ad networks offer the inventories with cheaper price to serve an ad to the advertisers. However, there is no transparency in where the ad serving and most of the time these ad networks offers the Site Opt Out deal to the advertisers.

The ad campaigns usually run as Run On Network (RON) and comes with low pricing through bulk purchase. The inventory typically consists of remnant inventories from various websites with conversion optimization and ad targeting technologies.

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Targeted Ad Networks: These ad networks are also called as “next generation” or “2.0” ad networks. These ad networks offer specific targeting technologies like behavioral or contextual targeting which are available on the ad servers. These targeted ad networks are specialized in using the user’s data to enhance the value of the inventory that they purchase. Also, these networks include the social graph technologies which increase value of ad inventory using the user connections in social media networks.

Here’s an article to know 7 types of Online Advertising to understand the Ad Networks better!

Ad Network Pricing Options and Formats:

There are many questions around selecting the right ad network and using the easiest ad format to promote the products and services. The common question that we come across from various advertisers is “Which ad format is easiest to create and edit, and has the widest reach on the display network?”.

According to the various researches conducted by the ad networks and digital marketing agencies, ad format varies from text ad to rich media ads based on the type of ad network that advertiser selects. However, the online advertising industry suggestion is to use the native ads with in-image ads, in-video ads, content recommendations, and in-text ads that fit into majority of the websites.

The ad networks are staple for all types of ad inventories which including video and mobile ad network, but the pricing options for these inventories may vary. The ad networks offer fixed CPM, revenue share, and auction based pricing models to buy the ad inventory.

Here are a few pricing options that generally ad networks offering the advertisers to buy the inventory.

  • Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)

  • Viewable CPM (vCPM)

  • Cost Per Click (CPC)

  • Cost Per View for Video (CPV)

Conclusion: A clear understanding of what is an ad network, types of ad networks, pricing models and ad formats helps the advertisers to choose the right ad network based on their campaign budget and the type of product or service they wanted to promote may differs. However, there is a challenge in track the ad serving activities if you are not selecting the right ad network type to promote. Let us know your ad network experience and recommendations in the comment section. We would love to hear from you!

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