The Complete ad network Resource Center

What is an Ad Network?

In a digital media landscape that is now dominated by programmatic advertising, an ad network serves as an alternative. It skips over the demand-side platforms (DSPs) and supply-side platforms (SSPs) and allows advertisers to purchase ad inventory directly and upload their ad creative inside the network.

Traditionally, ad networks functioned by purchasing inventory at the lowest price possible and reselling it at the highest price possible. For this reason, ad networks have become rather obsolete over time, but those that do still exist typically operate as a small component of larger tech, adding value to the parent solution.

The Ultimate Guide to Ad Networks for Publishers


Learn everything you need to know about ad networks with this comprehensive guide from our experts.


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A Shifting Ad Tech Landscape:
Ad Networks
in 2023

What is an Ad Network and Where Does it Fit in the Ad Tech Landscape in 2023?

The role of ad networks has shifted in recent years. Learn more about what an ad network is and the current role they play within the ad tech landscape.

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Best Ad Networks for Publishers in 2023

There are tons of ad networks, but only a few truly rise to the top. Check out our list of the top ad networks in 2023.

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How to Use Google's Ad Network


While traditional ad networks were notorious for being shady and resulting in poor user experience, Google's ad network stands out as a more transparent and effective solution. Learn more about what exactly Google’s advertising network is, and how you can use it to benefit your business.


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Ad Networks
vs. other ad tech tools

Ad Exchange vs. Ad Network

Ad exchanges are like the physical buildings we call shopping malls, and ad networks are like the stores inside. Click below to learn more about the similarities and differences between ad networks and ad exchanges.

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Ad Server vs. Ad Network

Contrary to popular belief, ad servers and ad networks are not the same thing. While an ad network may offer an ad server, they remain separate entities. Explore the key differences between these two pieces of advertising technology.

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How Levvvel Doubled Their Ad Revenue

It’s simple: you’ll get lots of emails from vendors making promises they can’t keep, but it’s what goes on behind the scenes that counts. And Playwire puts in the work behind the scenes that drives higher ad revenue for us.
Deni Latić

LEVVVEL _ The best gaming experiences start here. (1)

Case Study


Daily Ad Revenue



CPM Increases for Direct Sales Deals


CPM Increase for Video Ad Units


CPM Increase from Flex Leaderboard Ad Unit

The Best Ad Networks
Based on your Environment


The 5 Best In-Game Ad Networks

In-game advertising is a growing industry with a number of different networks available to game developers who want to monetize their creations. Read on for a breakdown of the 5 most popular in-game ad networks.

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The Top Video Ad Networks For Publishers

Most modern video ad networks have adapted to the evolving demands of the digital advertising industry, but finding one that meets your needs and earns your trust remains a challenge. To ease your search, here are 5 reliable video ad network solutions.

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The 6 Best Ad Networks for Apps

Ad networks for apps are alive and well, so if you’re a mobile publisher or app developer, it's crucial to know how to choose the best ad network to boost your ad revenue. Find out which of these 6 top-notch ad networks is the perfect fit for you.

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Android Logo

The Best Ad Network For Android Publishers

As an Android publisher, you have the freedom to choose ad networks that align perfectly with your needs. However, with this freedom comes a lot of important factors you'll want to consider. Learn more about the best ad networks for your Android app, here.

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Mobile Ad Networks: Everything App Developers Need to Know

Mobile is really the only environment within the ad tech landscape in which ad networks still play a major role. So, if you're a mobile publisher or app developer, the chances of working with an ad network are high. Read on to learn everything you need to know about mobile ad networks.


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Frequently Asked Questions About Ad Networks

What is the difference between an ad network and an ad monetization platform?

A common mistake that publishers make when weaving through mountains of information on ad tech solutions and providers is confusing ad monetization platforms for ad networks. While many ad monetization platforms include the features and functionalities of a traditional ad network, ad monetization platforms are one of their own.

So, what is an ad monetization platform?

An ad monetization platform is an "all-in-one" solution meant to help you manage the ads on your website, desktop app, or mobile app without you having to step into the weeds of building out a full tech stack. You can consider it the "easy" button for ad management.

If this sounds more like what you are interested in, check out our breakdown of the best ad monetization platforms, and get a better understanding of how ad networks and ad monetization platforms differ in this article.


Do ad networks have a place in the ad tech landscape in 2023?

For the most part, not really. In the early days of digital advertising, ad networks provided benefits to both publishers and advertisers. However, as the demand for pricing transparency increased, people started looking for more transparent alternatives. As a result, the relevance of ad networks in the ad tech landscape of 2023 has diminished.

Learn more about the specifics of what ad networks did that caused people to seek alternative options by clicking below.

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What is the difference between an ad network and an ad server?

An ad server is a piece of technology that allows an advertiser to place their ads on publishers' websites, mobile apps, desktop apps, and over-the-top (OTT) channels. It's really a piece of code that occupies space on a physical server.

On the other hand, an ad network is not in the business of serving ads. Instead, it's in the business of buying a publisher's ad impression and reselling it to an advertiser - facilitating the connection between the two and taking the difference between the ad impression purchase and sale prices as profit.

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What is the difference between an ad network and an ad exchange?

An ad exchange serves as a trading platform where publishers and advertisers can engage in transactions. On the other hand, an ad network acts as a facilitator for this trade, functioning more like a vendor.

There are three key factors that differentiate ad networks from ad exchanges:

  • Revenue
  • Customers
  • Functionality

Explore further by reading this article.

What should I look out for when selecting a mobile ad network?

When selecting the ideal mobile ad network, there are two key factors to keep in mind that can make a significant difference:

  • Brand safety: It's crucial to look into their fraud prevention policies, ad quality, and read reviews from other users on platforms like G2 or TrustRadius. Doing this will help you protect your brand and reputation in the mobile advertising space. 
  • Ad format compatibility: It's important to note that not all ad networks support your preferred ad format. Opting for an option that not only aligns with your chosen format but also specializes in video, display, in-game, or native ads will greatly impact your revenue potential and enhance user experience.

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What is the best ad network for publishers?

When it comes to ad networks, Google stands out as the top choice. Google tends to stay on the cutting edge of the industries in which it operates, and that has led to Google AdSense becoming one of the top ad networks connecting advertisers and publishers across both web and mobile advertising.

Read on to learn how to use Google's ad network!

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