• Digital Marketer

Ad Networks vs Ad Exchanges

What are ad exchanges? How are they different from ad networks?

If you have tried monetizing your site anytime you may have come across these two terms more often. You may have opted for an ad network thinking it's an ad exchange and vice versa. You may be wondering if this is an issue. Let us shed some light on these two terms.


When you want to buy a product, you generally go to a retail store and place your order. Likewise, a company that wants to sell its products may sell it directly or bring in an intermediary like a wholesaler or a distributor.

Similarly, when you want to sell your ad space you may sell it directly to an advertiser or an intermediary like an ad network. Again, advertisers may buy ad space from these intermediaries.


Again when you want a discounted price for the product you are buying you may go to a marketplace where there are many sellers selling the same product and you may bargain for a reasonable price which otherwise you would have bought for a fixed price. Similarly, an advertiser may opt to buy advertising space in bulk from a marketplace like that of an ad exchange and so can a publisher sell their ad space inventory to these ad exchanges for them to be sold at reasonable prices. The transactions of ad exchanges are transparent and you may know at what price your ad space was sold. Every buyer gets to bid and may choose to buy or not an ad inventory. With ad exchange, there is a probability that a buyer would buy ad space from multiple ad networks with real-time bidding.


While on the other hand, the ad network works for dedicated advertisers and publishers. These ad networks may be involved in the bidding process of an ad exchange but the end publisher and advertiser will never know at what price their ad space was sold.


Below is a list of ad exchanges, the ad networks have already been quoted in the blog "How to Monetize Your Website".



These are a few popular ad exchanges, which drive programmatic advertising. These sites also provide real-time bidding, which gives a fair chance to all bidders. The entire process of buying and selling ad spaces in bulk happens automatically. They are technically referred to as Demand Side Platform(DSP) for advertisers, Supply Side Platform (SSP) for publishers. The advancement in digital advertising can be leveraged to increase the reach of your content as well as make good profits at the same time.

For more content on digital marketing check my blog.

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