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. But like an old pair of jeans, a little fading hasn't diminished ad networks' importance to the many publishers who still feel that they fit them just right.

In other words, ad networks are still here. And while there is no one best ad network, as they each vary in quality, we're here to help you understand which ad network may be the right fit for you in 2022. To do so, the Playwire team has compiled a list of multiple ad networks that are considered the best in the world today. Read on to learn more.

The Best Ad Networks for Publishers in 2022 are:

    1. Google AdSense
    2. AdUp Technology
    3. AdRoll
    4. Adsterra
    5. Dianomi
    6. Epom Ad Server
    7. GroundTruth
    8. Infolinks
    9. Media.net
    10. Plista
    11. PopAds

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.

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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 advertiserto purchase 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.

Best Ad Networks for Publishers in 2022

There are tons of ad networks, but only a few truly rise to the top. Here are 10 of the best ad networks around today:

1. Google AdSense

No list of top ad networks would be complete without Google ads at the top. Google AdSense is, of course, much more than just an ad network, but 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 AdSense becoming one of the largest networks connecting advertisers and publishers in both the web and mobile ad world. 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 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.

 

2. AdUp Technology

AdUp Technology specializes in native ads. With its handy ad creation tools, publishers can quickly design ad units and layouts that are perfectly customized and compatible with just about any device.

Publisher Benefits:

AdUp Technology is among the more publisher-centric ad networks on the market today. The network bases CPMs on the maximum CPC bids combined with click probability, and it lets a fair amount of this process run in an automated fashion without interference. The result is likely a more publisher-friendly experience than what you might find at other ad networks.

AdUp Technology Reviews:

Although AdUp is a fairly prominent ad network, it lacked online reviews at the time of publication. The tool had no reviews and unclaimed listings on Capterra, G2, and TrustRadius. On TrustPilot, AdUp had a single review that left it with 3.2 out of 5 stars.

 

3. AdRoll

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 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.

 

4. Adsterra

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.

 

5. Dianomi

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' 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 reviews 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 formats and commitment to brand safety, but they didn't like what they called a "fragmented and archaic dashboard."

 

6. Epom Ad Server

Epom Ad Server does cross-channel business advertising, and unlike many ad networks, it brings programmatic buying and selling tools into the mix. While this 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 Ad Server 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 Ad Server 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 generous free trial, but they tended not to like the user interface or lack of integrations with other tools.

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7. GroundTruth

GroundTruth's area of focus is on location-based ads. For some publishers, this specialization may be a great fit for their audiences 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 opportunity 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.

 

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 experience for the end-user.

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 top 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.

 

9. Media.net

Capitalizing on Yahoo! Bing's wide contextual reach, Media.net connects publishers with local and national advertisers all over the place. The network also offers native ads and display ads and has no minimum traffic requirements.

Publisher Benefits:

Media.net is an ad network that can grow with publishers, offering the relatively entry-level contextual ad service but graduating all the way to full-on programmatic offerings. The broad demand and wide number of options has attracted major publishers like Reuters, Forbes, WebMD, and CNN.

Media.net Reviews:

Reviews of Media.net varied widely, with users giving the tool 4 stars on G2 and 2.6 stars on Trustpilot. Negatives centered on limited payout options and limited ad formats, while positives were mostly about ease of use and effectiveness as an AdSense alternative for beginning publishers.

 

10. Plista

Plista goes heavy on data to lead the way in native advertising. Publishers who use this ad network will integrate a content recommendation field that drives 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 adformats.

 

11. PopAds

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 placements and some potential security issues.

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 the best ad networks if you're considering that route instead of programmatic advertising. 

But really, it boils down to what is going to give you the highest revenue. While ad networks can provide steady and significant revenue for some publishers, there's no reason to skip programmatic options in 2022 - 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.

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