Have you ever heard about ad exchanges before?
These have become a huge part of the publisher’s and advertisers’ relationships, and in fact, it has been an underrated part of driving the growing number of digital advertising. Back in 2021, there was around $571 billion in digital marketing investment thanks to the ad exchanges.
The ad exchanges work similarly to the ad networks do, but with a twist. Instead of connecting the two parties, ad exchanges are the platforms or marketplaces where ad inventory is traded.
It works similarly to the marketplaces you know today. Advertisers may enter the market and find suitable platforms to place their ads. Meanwhile, publishers may benefit from the rising prices of their ad inventory.
The transactions can be done unlimitedly, and publishers and advertisers can feel free to adjust their prices accordingly. Negotiations are always possible, and the ad adjustments never feel as easy as before.
So, yes, ad exchanges are basically a connector for both parties, but with much more freedom and customizability.
What Is an Ad Exchange?
As mentioned above, ad exchanges are a marketplace where advertisers and publishers compete in trading digital advertising space. The space publishers already prepare on their websites can be bought by advertisers to place their advertisements. Things about the locations and what kind of ads to display are free to negotiate. Publishers can always adjust the ads according to the requests received.
In ad exchanges, you can meet various kinds of ads, including mobile games, videos, applications, or native. There is more than this, and feel free to explore it while you have the chance.
Since it’s basically a market for ad space, ad exchanges work by supply and demand. The price o the ad space might be higher if the particular website has a high reputation and good optimization. Advertisers also have to pay lots of money to get higher visibility.
The bedding is done in real time, but there’s also a feature to allow programmatic buying as well. So, if the advertisers have limited money to do business with ad networks, ad exchanges can certainly be an option,
About The Bidding System
As mentioned previously, ad exchanges work on supply, dem, and basis. There’s also programmatic ad buying for those who can’t always monitor the prices. The RTB, or real-time bidding, is done through programmatic buying that allows buying and selling transactions using the instant auction system. Advertisers only need to adjust their budget and enter the specification of the platform they need. The system will then connect them to the most suitable buyers; from there, they can decide whether they want to continue doing business with them.
And as the auction works automatically, some advertisers can bid on one ad space simultaneously. The highest bid will win it.
About The Demand-Side Platform and Supply-Side Platform
Ad exchanges work by combining both platforms. The demand-side platform is the one used by advertisers to buy ad space. This is where they can take advantage of the RTB auctions.
Meanwhile, the supply-side platform is what publishers use to promote their ad inventory. They can buy their inventory for an instant auction while gaining the highest possible price.
How Does Ad Exchange Work?
As we’ve previously explained, ad exchange works like marketplaces. There’s always the supply and demand for ad inventory. But to understand it better, let us take a look at both publishers’ and advertisers’ perspectives.
Surely, to connect supply and demand, publishers and advertisers must be in the same network. Otherwise, it’s nearly impossible to do cross-network business unless the platform has that feature.
Publishers can always sell their ad inventory through the SSP system. When someone arrives on their page, the data will be collected through cookies. When the ad they want is on auction, they will be notified, and the transaction can be done simultaneously.
On the other side, advertisers should work their way through DSP. This is where they can put the maximum cost per impression they can afford to find the most suitable ad inventory for maximizing their reach and potential revenue. According to this information, the system will connect the advertisers with suitable candidates.
If an ad inventory is on auction, the bidders will be notified to start the bidding process. If they get the highest bid, the ad inventory is theirs to use. The transaction is so fast and in high volumes.
Ad Exchange Benefits
Now, what are the benefits of ad exchanges?
As the platform functions to be a place to accommodate both parties, they will benefit from this. More specifically, some advantages are worth knowing, such as:
1 – Better Ads Control
Ad exchanges enable publishers to adjust the ads they want to display. They can easily configure the ads style, location, and also when is the best time to display the ads. This feature will make it easy for them to work with the advertisers to achieve the best possible results.
2 – Better Cost Control
The amount of CPM can be set for the ads placements. This will make sure each publisher has the same chance to get control of their revenue. Advertisers can also set the proper amount of cost per impression that they can afford. So, ad exchanges will certainly benefit the two parties.
3 – Ads Filtering
There’s also the feature to control the ads, which makes it useful for publishers to avoid inappropriate and spammy content. That way, they can always make sure that the ads will be of high quality and minimize ad fraud.
4 – Ad Networks Block
Publishers can also block certain brands or companies that don’t go align with their topic or objectives.
5 – Various Optimization Methods
Since there are so many ad options available, digital markets may always choose only the best and high-quality ads for their campaigns. Surely, in the long run, this can definitely maximize their return on spend and investment.
Ad Exchange VS Ad Network?
Since ad exchange and network work similarly in connecting advertisers and publishers, what is the exact difference between the two?
Although they work in the same style, they operate differently. While the ad network becomes the intermediary agent for advertisers and publishers, an ad exchange is a marketplace for ad inventory.
Ad exchange only offers a quick method to obtain the best ad quality possible through the instant auction. They won’t give recommendations or negotiate with each party to get the best price.
6 Best Ad Exchanges for Publishers
Now, for those of you who are looking for the best ad exchanges for publishers, we have six of them, such as:
1 – CodeFuel
The first option that we have here is CodeFuel. Has to been established in 2014, CodeFuel has grown into one of the best ad exchanges that may offer lots of benefits for publishers. If they wish for a platform that can monetize almost all digital assets, this is one way to go.
Working with CodeFuel is beneficial for publishers thanks to its wide connection with lots of advertisers. Thanks to its good reputation, the company managed to sustain good relationships with big brands, which can open the way for publishers to get greater revenue through business collaborations.
Many people do love CodeFuel for its optimization tools that only not focus on apps or websites but also extensions. The ads can be freely adjusted according to the publishers’ plans and goals, and this surely makes it easy for them when doing some work with advertisers.
- It has multiple monetization methods that work on websites, apps, and also extensions.
- Publishers may freely adjust their ads accordingly. As for optimization, it also works on all kinds of ads.
- The control and interface are easy to access, and any publishers won’t find it hard to adjust to CodeFuel
- Publishers are able to monetize their platforms better through optimization methods.
- There are also analytic tools to help publishers monitor the performance of each ad.
- CodeFuel offers a huge opportunity to be connected with big brands.
- Publishers can only join if they already have projects worth $1,000 or more.
- Small publishers would feel it harder to compete with the other publishers.
What They Said About It
The reviews from TrustPilot have mentioned that CodeFuel is a really good alternative to monetize their websites. The analytical and ads optimization tools are definitely better to make their ads more optimized and high quality. Although, some people disliked the idea of the high requirements.
2 – Xandr (owned by Microsoft)
As one of the biggest ad marketplaces, we couldn’t forget Xandr. Microsoft has acquired the company, and thanks to that, the marketplace has got a bigger reach than before. The marketplace offers some things that might be useful for many publishers, such as SSP, specialized servers, and ad inventory optimization.
Xandr also created Prebid.js, which is an open-source header bidding platform. If you still feel something anxious about it, know that the company already monetizes some brands that some of you probably know, like Wayfair, Fandom, and Ranker.
- Has a programmatic buying system for easier and quicker transaction
- Already has the SSP that offers publishers with so many ad types.
- There’s also the audience extension feature.
- Advanced analytical tools are also available for publishers for free.
- Simple UI
- Easy to set campaigns
- Simple but working functionalities
- Easy to plug into PMPs
- The reporting isn’t really accurate sometimes.
- Long creative approvals
- The ad inventory targeting is lacking
What They Said About It
Some reviews have said that the platform is actually great and easy to use, thanks to its aesthetic and simple UI. One review also mentioned that Xandr is considered an easy platform to integrate with PMPs. However, some people also reported that the platform didn’t have accurate reporting, and also the ad targeting often missed the target.
3 – PubMatic
The next one on the list is PubMatic. Again, this is actually a known ad exchange that most publishers use today. PubMatic is known for its technological advancements in ad inventory management and optimization.
As they said, the company is driven by the data and already serves more than 171 billion impressions on a daily basis. The number makes it one of the biggest ad exchanges in the world.
The UI is actually pretty good; it’s easy to use and pretty straightforward with everything. The platform also has DMP integrations, making it good for advertisers and publishers. PubMatic also serves both parties better ad fraud protection.
- PubMatic already has the premium ad inventories
- Has an open-source bidding system with various working solutions
- DMP integrations
- Quality control for ads inventory
- Advanced analytical tools
- Ad fraud protection that’s integrated.
- Great list of premium ad inventory in big countries (tier 1 countries)
- The support team is excellent
- Has many CTV inventory
- The reporting isn’t thorough
- Adjusting ads for mobile might be a bit difficult
- In the beginning, the platform can be confusing
What They Said About It
Many reviews praised PubMatic as one of the best ad exchanges that can offer quality ad inventory, even for Tier 1 countries. However, some also report that they had some problems when reaching out to customer service. The platform’s design could be troublesome for beginners.
4 – Magnite
In the fourth position, we have Magnite. Magnite is an SSP under Rubicon Project. However, they have expanded their model and changed it into an ad exchanger instead. They already have a programmatic system to make things easier for both advertisers and publishers.
Now, Magine is known to be one of the best ad exchanges in the world for publishers. Aside from offering high-quality ad inventory, the platform also does its best to make publishers feel convenient with the brand safety features and make advertisers more comfortable with various bidding options.
For premium publishers, Magnite also offers a direct channel for premium advertisers to get even bigger profits and connections.
- Has xAPI access
- Connections with lots of advertisers
- High-end monetization methods
- Responsive customer support.
- The UI is user-friendly and simple enough to understand
- The support team is responsive
- The reporting is also considered detailed and comprehensive.
- There’s a delay time in reporting.
- Cuts off data in reporting
- The platform might be a bit unresponsive at times.
What They Said About It
The general reviews said that the platform’s UI is great. It’s simple and non-confusing. They also praised the site for excellent customer service and were ready to help them at the most desperate times. However, there might be some problems with the reporting, which seem to be fixable in the future.
5 – OpenX
OpenX is another great addition that you need to consider. It’s one of the most popular ad marketplaces in the world and is known for its great transparency and best ad quality. For advertisers, the platform will only offer high-quality ads, ensuring they will always receive the best results.
OpenX also has advanced targeting options, which are usable for both publishers and also advertisers. And don’t worry about safety; OpenX already has the title of “Certified Against Malware.”
This is the one for publishers who wish to get into an ad exchange that may offer various ad formats, richer bidding options, and brand safety features.
- Premium access to big brands and companies
- Impression prediction feature
- Video advertising solutions
- Has various brand safety features
- Ad support for mobile also exists
- Excellent ad exchange to manage campaigns
- Detailed reporting
- Cater to all kinds of publishers
- Better bid request management
- Sometimes, the support team takes too long to respond.
- High prices
- UI can be improved
- Has some bugs and glitches
What They Said About It
People generally think that OpenX is a good platform to use, even for small publishers. It’s safe to use and definitely profitable, thanks to its wide connections. However, some users also reported bugs and glitches in the system that ruined the user experience. Plus, they also mentioned that the UI could be changed a bit for better satisfaction.
6 – AppLovin Max
Last but not least, we have AppLovin Max as one of the best ad exchanges for publishers. Similar to CodeFuel, publishers can also use Max to monetize their mobile applications. It has lots of media ads and makes it possible for publishers to reach an even bigger market.
This platform, which specializes in mobile ads, already has 1,5 billion users around the world and is particularly liked for its mobile video ads optimization. Until now, Max already works with lots of big names in multiple industries, like Ubisoft and Zynga.
- Advanced app monetization
- Top tier partners
- Light SDK
- Various support for multiple ad formats
- Excellent analytics
- Supportive customer service
- The platform treats apps as gaming apps.
- Incomparable eCPM
- Doesn’t have variation in advertisers
What They Said About It
People said that AppLovin Max is a really great and easy-to-use ad exchange. The platform has excellent support for app monetization, which is really useful for publishers who only focus on this product. However, many also said that AppLovin Max only focuses on the gaming niche, even the advertisers.
And that’s all the six ad exchange options for publishers. As you can see, most of them are able to give you lots of connections with high-priority advertisers. They will likely pay more if your platform is indeed reputable and profitable. We highly recommend using CodeFuel as the platform is able to monetize various digital assets, although the requirement might be too high for some publishers.
No matter what it is, we highly advise picking an ad exchange that can facilitate what you need. Good luck!
Leave a Reply