Big Difference: Ad network vs Ad exchange

Big Difference: Ad network vs Ad exchange

If you are engaged in online advertising or are interested in it, you have probably come across two terms: "ad exchange" and "ad network". Although these terms may seem interchangeable, there are fundamental differences between them. We will tell you more about Ad network and Ad exchange, talk about the best ad networks and exchanges and explain to you how to distinguish one from the other.

Advertising marketplace

The question “What is an ad exchange?” can be answered figuratively: it's a virtual trading platform.  Using it, advertisers can find a place for their ads, and site owners can offer their inventory. Ad exchange is a place that facilitates the trading of digital advertising inventory in real-time bidding (RTB). The work of the exchange is automated, which allows you to place ads efficiently and quickly. This happens according to the auction principle: the advertiser is offered the most effective and profitable offer from the publisher.

Connecting sellers and buyers

An ad display network is a space where advertisers who need to find a platform to create ads can contact publishers who have these platforms. Advertising networks usually operate at basic cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-mille (CPM) rates. These resources work with a variety of criteria for setting up an advertising campaign. There are different types of networks, for example video ad network.

And now a little history

The first advertising networks were DoubleClick and 24/7 Media, founded in 1995. Their work was similar to the work of modern networks: they bought advertising space from publishers and then sold it to advertisers.

After 10 years, these companies had competitors who soon headed the top ad network list: DoubleClick Ad Exchange and Rich Media. These were the first advertising exchanges that did not purchase inventory in advance, but conducted transactions in real time at specific tariffs. Thanks to the joint work of these pioneers, the advertising world has become reliable and transparent.

So, what are the key differences between ad exchange and ad network?

Ad exchange vs ad network fundamentally differ in functions, services offered and work features. More specifically, we can distinguish such differences:

  • Method of trading advertising inventory. Perhaps this is the biggest difference. Ad exchanges use RTB to automate the process, while ad networks usually rely on pre-agreed deals.
  • Audience coverage. Advertising exchanges often offer more advanced targeting options and the ability to reach an audience on multiple platforms, including mobile devices.
  • The quality of ads. Ad networks specialize in highly targeted ads that are most interesting to users.  Ad exchanges offer a larger selection of inventory, but not all units are of high quality.
  • Inventory volume: ad exchanges contain advertising inventory from many developers of websites and applications. In advertising networks, the list of publishers is more limited.
  • The cost of inventory. Advertising networks usually set stable tariffs for their services. On advertising exchanges, publishers set their own prices based on supply and demand. Because of this, the price of inventory may fluctuate.

Mobile advertising - exchanges or networks?

Nowadays, the frequency of using mobile devices is constantly growing, and with it the quantity and quality of mobile advertising is increasing. Both advertising exchanges and advertising networks play equally important roles in this process. Ad exchanges mobile, in particular, have become increasingly important in the advertising space.

Mobile ad networks are in a more advantageous position, as they provide an opportunity to attract users specifically on mobile devices. Popular services offer advertisers analytical tools to improve their campaigns. These tools allow advertisers to study user behavior and track ad performance characteristics. There are tools for a more detailed analysis of the audience. For instance, any advertiser can get information about the region, age, and even interests of app customers.

Ad exchanges mobile and Ad networks mobile help not only advertisers, but also developers and app owners. Ad networks mobile can provide data on marketing research, recommendations for working with clients and access to partnerships with other developers.

A good example of such an advertising network is HilltopAds. It offers a wide range of targeting options for mobile devices.

HilltopAds is an ad display network that offers a variety of advertising formats designed for mobile devices. Display advertising, native advertising, pop-ups and push notifications, which can be targeted depending on a number of criteria, including the type of device, operating system, geographical location and much more.

Native advertising - for the benefit of advertisers and users

Native advertising, like a chameleon, can harmonize with the content of the platform on which it is published, which can increase the effectiveness of advertising and improve the user experience. Native ads are characterized by accuracy and unobtrusiveness. Such advertising is aimed at a specific, narrow audience. This increases user engagement, therefore, increases the profitability of advertising campaigns.

Modern native ad networks are also working on the design of their ads. For example, they can adapt to the design of the site, which helps to avoid banner blindness - in other words, it will not force the user to look away from the advertisement.HilltopAds is a native ad network  that gives advertisers many options for advertising formats that help them reach their target audience. We offer a wide range of native advertising formats, such as: feed ads, content recommendation widgets and native video ads. Targeting these ads can be based on audience demographics, location, and interests.

Need to choose?

When choosing the right platform for your advertising needs, it's important to consider factors like targeting options, pricing, and the types of ad formats available.

HilltopAds ranks high in the top ad network list and may give others a head start when looking for the best ad network. Various advertising options, including video ads, are combined with competitive pricing and flexible payment options. Our video ad network provides a range of targeting options to help advertisers reach their desired audience. Additionally, HilltopAds delivers a user-friendly dashboard for advertisers to manage their campaigns and track their performance.

Besides, HilltopAds does offer some programmatic advertising options, including programmatic direct deals and real-time bidding for certain ad formats. So while HilltopAds is not strictly an ad exchange platform, we do offer some programmatic advertising options that give advertisers more control over their ad campaigns and the ability to target specific audiences.

In conclusion, while ad exchanges and ad networks may seem similar at first glance, the two have essential differences. Ad exchanges use RTB to automate the buying and selling of ad inventory, while ad networks typically rely on pre-negotiated deals. Both ad exchanges and display ad networks are vital to mobile advertising, and various options are available for advertisers to connect with their target audience.

And when it comes to making the right choice, HilltopAds has a perfect combination of both. We have been reaching for it, profoundly studying contemporary online advertising, working hard to update the system and being on top of modern programmatic achievements.

Stay tuned! Join HilltopAds on Telegram!