What is an ad network?

Glossary What is an ad network?


The definition of ad network

Advertising networks aggregate ad inventory from sources on the supply-side of an ad exchange and match them with sources on the demand-side looking for ad slots. Essentially, ad networks work as the matchmakers of the app marketing world.

Supply-side platforms post openings for ad space inventory. They are typically **apps **from publishers and app developers. Demand sources are made up of advertisers looking for inventory to place their ads in another app. They bid on the ad space in order to promote their own app and acquire new users.

Comparison of ad network, supply side platforms and demand side platforms

What do ad networks do?

On the supply-side:

The gathering of inventory (also referred to in this context as impressions) performed by ad networks could take place one of two ways:

  1. The ad network collects the inventory from publisher sites
  2. The ad network buys bulk impressions

Regardless of which method is used to acquire the inventory, the next step is to sort according to what’s in demand. Parameters used could include price, audience, or other factors. The ad network can then resell the suitable impressions from ad publishers to app marketers.

Ad networks offer advertisers a huge time savings; otherwise it would take app marketers many hours to filter through available ad inventory themselves. A large number of mobile ad networks support a wide spectrum of different formats from banners to native ads. However, some focus on specific formats, such as video (more on this below).

On the demand-side:

Some ad networks offer a platform for advertisers to sign in and manage their advertising campaigns. Others offer a managed service in which account managers act as consultants and use their expertise to ensure campaigns run at optimal levels.

Examples of ad networks include Google AdSense, AppLovin, media.net, Publift, PopAds, and Adcash, among many others.

What are the different types of ad networks?

There are several types of ad network:

  • Vertical: Specialize in a particular topic, such as a fashion ad network.
  • Horizontal: Not limited by topic, these ad networks offer broader reaching impressions, resulting in availability of more impressions per day.
  • Premium: Focus on high-quality impressions at a higher price which result in better engagement and conversion.
  • Inventory-specific: Specialize in a particular inventory type, such as a video ad network.
  • Targeted: Specialize in impressions that use technology to target a particular behavior or context.

Why are ad networks important?

Ad networks are an essential monetization element of the mobile advertising ecosystem. They act as a technical and commercial intermediary between advertisers and publishers.

On the technical level, integrations are often provided for the supply-side to offer their inventory and for the demand-side to activate and monitor campaigns. Commercially, ad networks facilitate payments and transactions. Without ad network solutions to pull demand, publishers would have to negotiate deals with each individual advertiser.

AppLovin’s ad network

Since 2012, AppLovin has been a major ad network on the global tech scene for mobile developers. The company’s solutions allow developers to rapidly monetize their apps by leveraging machine learning and predictive algorithms.

AppLovin provides in-app bidding tech for real-time auctions and helps automate app marketers’ work. Additionally, AppLovin is at the forefront of security and flags risky content, keeping your brand safe. As a trusted ad network, AppLovin helps thousands of mobile app developers worldwide turn their apps into successful businesses. Learn more about how AppLovin can help your app reach its greatest potential.

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