An ad network is essentially a middleman; it connects advertisers to websites that host advertisements. The network seeks out unsold advertising space from publishers, and then sells that space to advertisers searching for ad space with particular content.
Ad networks are beneficial for all three parties involved; the advertiser pays a certain amount each time their ad is clicked by a potential customer (or a set amount for every 1,000 impressions), while the network and publisher each take a percentage. For example, if an advertiser pays $1 per click, every time the ad is clicked, the publisher might get 70 cents and the network 30 cents.
There are three types of ad networks, each based on how they work with advertisers and publishers. These include:
- Blind networks offer low prices, but advertisers generally have no control over where ads are placed.
- Vertical networks tend to have higher quality traffic with advertising across general categories like automotive.
- Targeted networks are the most expensive for advertisers, and focus on specific targeting like behavior or website context.
Perhaps the most well-known ad network is Google AdSense, but there are many others out there, including advertising.com, casalemedia.com, tribalfusion.com, and valueclick.com.
How Do Ad Networks Help Content Publishers
Ad networks offer content publishers an easy and convenient way to make money by selling space on a personal blog or other website. They link advertisers and publishers that perhaps would never connect otherwise – and offer a safe place for both publishers and advertisers to buy and sell.
Generally it costs a blogger or publisher nothing to partner with a network and implement a revenue stream. The network does all the work, from finding advertisers, setting up campaigns, targeting and collecting money. The network taking on those parts of the partnership leaves the publisher with time to create quality and relevant content, which is necessary to bring in revenue.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what an ad network is, next we’ll take a look at Google AdSense, the largest ad network in the world and answer the question: What is AdSense & How Does it Work?