Ad network
An ad network serves as the intermediary between advertisers and publishers, helping advertisers land optimal ad inventories for their campaigns. This process is completed as ad networks aggregate available ad inventories from the supply-side (publishers) and match them with sources on the demand-side (advertisers) until they reach the targeted users.

What is an ad network? 

Ad networks are the mediators of the ad inventory sales process that occur between advertisers and publishers. Once advertisers upload upcoming campaigns to their preferred ad networks and specify certain parameters such as budget, target audience, and frequency caps, ad networks come into play. Ad networks will run through their collection of inventories purchased from publishers to determine the ad inventory most suitable for each advertiser, ultimately bridging the two together to come to a deal. 

Types of ad networks 

There are several types of ad networks advertisers and publishers can choose from depending on their needs and/or specializations:

  1. Horizontal ad network: This network is not topic specific and can be applicable to various industries. These networks are more focused on reaching a broader audience with scale and reach and can be beneficial for advertisers pursuing cross-channel advertising campaigns. 
  2. Vertical ad network: This network appeals to a specific and distinctive niche, such as fashion or sports. By specializing in a topic, these networks focus more on targeting particular advertisers and publishers that share such similar interests and needs. 
  3. Premium ad network: This network is considered exclusive, as it limits its partnership with top-tier publishers. Advertisers can pay a premium price in return for access to high quality inventories and better conversion rates.
  4. Inventory-specific network: This network specializes in particular inventories or formats such as video, mobile ads, etc. 

Benefits of ad networks  

1. Increase ROI for advertisers, instant revenue for publishers

Because ad networks provide advertisers with a clear-cut matching process, advertisers are guaranteed the most profitable deals out there - that is, ad networks will help ads gain maximum exposure such as more views and clicks. Similarly, as long as publishers are enrolled in ad networks with designated ad spaces on their web pages, apps, or platform of choice, they can generate instant revenue, which can easily help cover operational costs. 

2. Widened audience pool 

Ad networks allow both parties, the advertisers and publishers, to increase their audience base. Ad networks will give advertisers with a larger pool of publishers to choose from, all within their desired budget, until they secure the optimal inventory. For publishers, the real-time bidding (RTB) system generally used among ad networks will guarantee an increase in their ad inventory exposure to multiple advertisers until it reaches the highest-paying bid. 

3. Time + cost efficient   

Ad networks use an automated system to filter out ad inventories and proceed with the matching process. Hence, advertisers and publishers no longer have to do the manual work, which saves an immense amount of time and effort. At the same time, the network ensures both parties land with the most lucrative deals, making it cost-effective.

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