Key Points

  • As a tool within the ad tech ecosystem and a standalone entity, ad networks have all but disappeared.
  • Today, publishers often use the term "ad network" to refer to a more complete ad monetization solution with a richer feature set. For that, we recommend reading this article comparing the best ad monetization platforms.
  • Keep scrolling to learn more about the most well-reviewed ad networks in 2024.

The Playwire team has compiled a list of multiple ad networks that are considered the best in the world today.

Note: this article is regularly reviewed and updated to keep the guidance current and the list up to date. If you feel something is missing from this list, please don't hesitate to contact us with your feedback or request.



The best ad networks for publishers in 2024 are:

    1. Google AdSense
    2. Amazon
    3. AdRoll
    4. Adsterra
    5. Dianomi
    6. Epom Ad Server
    7. GroundTruth
    8. Infolinks
    9. Plista
    10. PopAds

At one time, ad networks occupied an essential position in the digital publishing world. They acted as intermediaries between publishers and advertisers and prevented publishers from having to sit down and negotiate every single digital advertising buy, playing a key role in the ad tech ecosystem

They still do that, but as programmatic advertising has come into vogue, the importance of ad networks has begun to fade. Often when publishers are referring to ad networks, they are looking for a more comprehensive solution than just the more traditional definition of an ad network. All items in our list fulfill this requirement and offer a suite of solutions.

Ad networks are often an all-in-one advertising solution for publishers. Do you know what's also an all-in-one solution that comes with a lot more ad revenue potential and a lot less work? Playwire. Contact us to learn more.

-- Article Continues Below --

Ad Networks Guide

Read The Ultimate Guide to Ad Networks For Publishers.

Let's begin by breaking down what exactly ad networks are, and where they fit within the ad tech landscape in 2024, and answer some of the more frequently asked questions about ad networks.

Feel free to jump directly to the list of best ad networks for publishers below.

About Ad Networks

What is an Ad Network?

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

There is no open auction, which means that the yield from ad networks is a lot more predictable and often not quite as high. Still, while many ad networks fell out of favor with publishers during the rise of programmatic, those that specialized in particular ad types continued to thrive.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 ad 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 in their own.

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 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.


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

Ad servers and ad networks are very different, but share some commonalities, so it makes sense that many publishers get them mixed up.

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 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.


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

An ad exchange is a platform in which publishers and advertisers can engage in trade vs. an ad network, which is more like a vendor that facilitates that trade.

Ad networks and ad exchanges vary in three main ways —

  • Revenue: Ad networks make money by reselling publisher inventory at a higher price. An ad exchange will typically operate under a revenue-sharing model that pays itself a percentage of each transaction that takes place within the platform.
  • Customers (Publishers and Advertisers): Ad networks, historically, have valued their profit over that of the advertiser and publisher. This is because the business model relies on there being a significant gap between the cost of the inventory they buy and the price at which they resell it. An ad exchange, conversely, usually benefits when publishers and advertisers do well. This means the customers are prioritized since that is the best way to ensure all parties meet their objectives.
  • Functionality: Ad exchanges are programmatic platforms where buying and selling take place whereas networks are not. Ad networks, especially modern ones, may use programmatic tools to optimize the efficiency of their business, but they are human-driven businesses.

Best Ad Networks for Publishers in 2024

There are tons of ad networks, but only a few truly rise to the top. Here are 11 of the best ad networks around today:

Google AdSense

No list of best ad networks would be complete without Google ads at the top. Google AdSense is, of course, much more than just an advertising network, it is usually the No. 1 way publishers get ad inventory on their sites. One handy feature if you're considering AdSense is an earnings estimator that shows you what you stand to gain by adding AdSense to your stack.


Publisher Benefits:

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 best ad networks connecting advertisers and publishers in both the web and mobile advertising space. Google screens every ad, allows for significant customization capabilities, and simplifies the implementation process to no more than adding a couple of lines of code to your site.

Google AdSense Reviews:

AdSense is one of the best-known and most popular ad networks on the market today, and that's reflected in its reviews. The ad network had 4 stars on Capterra, 4.2 stars on G2, and an 8.6 out of 10 on TrustRadius at the time of publication.

Learn More About Google AdSense


Amazon Publisher Services offers two ways to access its extensive ad network: Unified Ad Marketplace (best fit for small to mid-size publishers, and accessible through Google Ad Manager) and Transparent Ad Marketplace (by invitation only for larger or enterprise publishers).


Publisher Benefits:

Amazon has some of the most extensive relationships with SSPs and allows you access to many different buyers through a single ad network. The fact that you connect Unified Ad Marketplace through Google Ad Manager makes it easy to set up and manage.


Amazon Publisher Services Reviews:

While there aren't many third-party review sites that have reviews for the software, the sheer number of publishers that use this technology speaks for itself. Only second to Google's tools, this network is often a core component of any publisher strategy.

Learn More About Amazon Publisher Services


Specializing in eCommerce brands, AdRoll does a lot of marketing-related tasks for brands that want to sell more products. On the publisher side, AdRoll does one thing really well: connect you with advertisers hungry for each and every targeted ad impression that is primed to turn into sales.


Publisher Benefits:

The primary benefit of AdRoll to publishers is scale. This ad network attracts premium brands - who pay premium prices for your premium inventory - by using automation and massive data libraries to connect with 70% of shoppers and generate more than 1 billion ad placement recommendations every day.


AdRoll Reviews:

With 4 out of 5 stars on Capterra, 3.9 stars on G2, and 8.3 out of 10 on TrustRadius, AdRoll is generally well-liked by its users. Positive reviewers tended to praise AdRoll's retargeting capabilities and a low technical barrier to entry. On the negative side, some users said the interface was confusing and sometimes slow.

Learn More About AdRoll


With no minimum traffic requirements and a wide variety of ad format choices, Adsterra is a solid ad network for publishers who want to monetize their traffic but haven't quite reached multiple thousands of visitors per month.


Publisher Benefits:

Adsterra promises a 100% fill rate, which sets this network apart from the vast majority of others. The platform also supports a wide range of payment methods and starts payouts at $5. 


Adsterra Reviews:

Adsterra hadn't commanded a ton of online reviews at the time of publication, but it did have an impressive 4.7 stars on G2 and a more middling 3.7 stars on Trustpilot. Praise for Adsterra centered on strong CPMs and transparency, while criticism was about needing a lot of traffic for the tool to be effective and potential technical glitches.

Learn More About Adsterra


If you're a publisher in the finance or fintech space, Dianomi may be a great ad network to try out. The network specializes in direct-sold native ad campaigns for financial advertisers.


Publisher Benefits:

On top of its native ad-focused network. Dianomi incorporates direct-sold performance ad campaigns that stand the chance of increasing publishers' ad revenue. The tool also markets itself to advertisers as having relationships with premium publishers, so if you get into this network, you may get some more cred behind that premium image you're trying to promote. 


Dianomi Reviews:

The only high-profile software review website where Dianomi had any real presence was G2. There, the tool had 4.1 out of 5 stars. Reviewers tended to like the tool's native ad format and commitment to brand safety, but they didn't like what they called a "fragmented and archaic dashboard."

Learn More About Dianomi


Epom does cross-channel business advertising, and unlike many ad networks, it brings programmatic buying and selling tools into the mix. While this programmatic ad network can be a strong choice for many publishers, its services like white-label ad servers and DSPs cater heavily to agencies. 


Publisher Benefits:

This tool offers advanced real-time analytics that can be useful to enterprise-level and entry-level publishers alike. Epom is also heavily investing in developing new and innovative ad unit types, which can often lead to higher CPMs for the publishers who use them.


Epom Ad Server Reviews:

Epom may be one of the highest-rated ad networks on the internet. As of the time of publication, it had 4.5 stars on Capterra, a perfect 10 on TrustRadius, 4.4 stars on G2, and 3.9 stars on Trustpilot. Reviewers were in favor of the tool's real-time analytics capabilities and a generous free trial, but they tended not to like the user interface or the lack of integrations with other tools.

Learn More About Epom

-- Article Continues Below --

Ad Network Resource Center Desktop CTA

The Complete Ad Network Resource Center


GroundTruth's area of focus is on location-based ads. For some publishers, this specialization may be a great fit for their audience network and revenue goals. The platform also offers self-serve ad campaigns.


Publisher Benefits:

If you're a publisher who is specific to a particular city, state, or region, you may find a lot of opportunities in GroundTruth's location-based ad network. The tool has filled its website with case studies that show how effective its services are for brands, which could be an indirect benefit to publishers who are looking to interface with bigger and higher-paying brands.


GroundTruth Reviews:

Capterra reviewers gave GroundTruth 4.6 stars, while G2 reviewers went somewhat lower at 4 stars. The biggest positives of GroundTruth appeared to be an easy-to-use interface and comprehensive tutorials. Meanwhile, the biggest negatives appeared to be occasional bugs and lackluster direct customer support.

Learn More About GroundTruth

The ad network Infolinks specializes in contextual ad targeting to help advertisers reach the right eyeballs. However, the platform also offers exclusive placements across more than 25,000 publishers.


Publisher Benefits:

Infolinks works with more than 350,000 websites around the world and generates over 1.5 billion ad views per month, so its key benefit to both publishers and advertisers is certainly scale. By using contextual links to create ads, Infolinks claims to target users' intent more directly, leading to better engagement and an overall less invasive user experience.


Infolinks Reviews:

With 3.3 stars on G2 and 3.2 stars on Trustpilot, Infolinks was firmly in the middle of the pack when it came to reviews of the best ad networks. On the plus side, reviewers mentioned Infolinks being welcoming to all publishers, even those who might not have been approved for Google AdSense. On the negative side, reviewers said the tool generated relatively low revenue for them.

Learn More About Infolinks


Plista goes heavy on data to lead the way in the native ad space. Publishers who use this ad network will integrate a content recommendation field that drives ad impressions for targeted content and native ads.


Publisher Benefits:

Plista is a growing ad network that has already expanded its reach to 11 countries, 12,000 publishers, and 60 million users. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of the tool's relatively small scale at the moment is that publishers get dedicated experts who can partner with them to help them grow their revenue from the network.


Plista Reviews:

Reviews of Plista were hard to come by at the time of publication. The only platform that had reviews of this tool was G2, where it had 4 out of 5 stars. Lack of customization and problems with the tool's dashboard were the chief complaints in the few available reviews. On the positive side, reviewers liked Plista's offering of multiple native ad formats.

Learn More About Plista


Pop-under ad networks sometimes get a bad reputation, but PopAds is known for being one of the high-quality options in this ad space. The network offers several other advantages to publishers, such as immediate payments on request, no minimum traffic requirements, and easy control of minimum bids for pop-under ads.


Publisher Benefits:

PopAds claims that its average CPMs have never dipped below $4, and while this isn't a hugely impressive CPM, it does show the stability of the tool's demand and its probably consistent quality. The tool also boasts relationships with advertisers from more than 40 countries.


PopAds Reviews:

More than 150 PopAds users gave the tool 4.6 stars on Trustpilot, while fewer G2 reviewers were just as thrilled and left the tool with 4.2 stars. Review authors tended to like PopAds' user targeting abilities and relatively simple interface. But in some cases, they disliked the aggressiveness of the tool's ad placement and some potential security issues.

Learn More About PopAds

Want to Work with the Best Ad Networks? Work with Playwire

Publishers need to work with the best monetization partner when they're trying to grow their advertising revenue. So, it follows that you would want to work with one of the best ad networks if you're considering that route instead of programmatic advertising. 

But really, it boils down to what helps you generate the highest revenue. While multiple ad networks can provide steady and significant revenue for some publishers, there's no reason to skip programmatic options in 2024 - especially when partners like Playwire are there to do it all for you and constantly focus on how to drive your revenue higher.

If you want the best, you've found it. Contact us to learn more!

Contact Us

More Ad Network Content

Browse some of our other articles about ad networks:

More on the Ad Tech Ecosystem

Are you interested in reviewing all your ad tech options but unsure where to begin given the complexity of the industry? Don't fret, Playwire has your back!

Learn more about all the players and tools available across the ad tech landscape with our new Ad Tech Ecosystem webpage, which is updated regularly, and includes information on ad networks, native ad solutions, consent management partners, data management platforms, and everything in between!