Key Points

  • While Google’s ad network doesn’t function exactly like traditional ad networks, making use of automation and programmatic advertising tools and providing more pricing transparency, it does have commonalities with ad networks of the past.
  • If you’re just beginning to learn how to master Google advertising tools, start with the Google Display Network and AdSense.
  • Chances are, as a beginner, what you’re really looking for probably isn’t an ad network, but an ad monetization partner, such as Playwire. Working with us unlocks all the benefits of the tools you want without the ad tech complexity you’re probably familiar with.

Digital advertising is Google’s world; we’re just living in it. 

All publishers who want to stand a chance of optimizing their ad revenue and driving sustainable growth for their website or application need to understand Google’s tools, platforms, and services.

Google’s ad network is no exception.

First things first, ad networks, as a whole, are more or less obsolete as standalone solutions these days. And for good reason. The advertising network model lacks transparency at best and is downright shady at worst.

In sum: traditional ad networks bought unsold publisher ad inventory at the lowest possible price, repackaged it, and sold it to advertisers at a huge markup.

The result often wasn’t ideal for publishers, advertisers, or site visitors. Overpriced ad units and a lack of control over who purchased them meant that often unsafe ads could appear on a publisher’s site without them knowing. This tanked user experience and put everyone in the ecosystem at risk.

Google, being the great Google, knew this, and adjusted their products to provide the benefits of an ad network, without all the shady stuff we just mentioned.

In this article, we’ll break down exactly what Google’s advertising network is, and how you can use it to benefit your business.

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Ad Networks Guide

Read the Ultimate Guide to Ad Networks For Publishers

What is Google’s Ad Network?

In terms of what many still consider or refer to as “ad networks”, Google has its Google Display Network, AKA AdSense.

Since almost all publishers find their footing in monetization with Google AdSense, you’re probably already familiar with how it works, but let us summarize for you.

AdSense is a type of digital advertising solution with a few key differences from traditional ad network models but some similarities as well.

Advertisers using AdSense pay per click and publishers get paid per click, rather than the flat-fee model that was common with earlier ad networks. This eliminates the black box and increases visibility for everyone.

This is just the very beginning of what AdSense is and what it can do. Check out our AdSense resource center to learn everything else you need and want to know about AdSense.

Google Ad Network vs. Google Ad Exchange

Google also has an ad exchange, not to be confused with the elements of its ad network. It’s a programmatic advertising tool where publishers can list their ad inventory and advertisers can bid directly, skipping the middle man.

In Google Ad Exchange (known more commonly as AdX), Google gets paid through a revenue share model, meaning the platform subtracts a consistent portion of every dollar that flows through it.

Recent years have found ad exchanges and other programmatic methods swiftly overtaking ad networks as the demand for transparency and automation has increased within the digital ad space.

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Ad Network Resource Center Desktop CTA

Check out our Complete Ad Network Resource Center.

Google AdSense and Google Display Network

The Google Display Network (GDN) is a part of AdSense. It is a network of advertisers, agencies, websites, apps, and videos that are participating in the purchase and sale of digital inventory and display ads.

How the Google Display Network Works

With more than 2 million participating publishers, the GDN is a massive network. There are infinite opportunities for advertisers to reach highly-specific audiences through advanced targeting options.

Targeting with GDN is simple, especially for publishers. If you use AdSense or other ad monetization tools, the onus falls on the advertisers. 

Google has the ability to convey key information about your metrics, including viewability and click-through rate (CTR), and your site demographics so advertisers can make decisions based on their goals.

Targeting with GDN looks like this —

  • Advertisers decide whether they want to reach new or existing customers: The Google Display Network has sophisticated retargeting capabilities, so advertisers can choose to find customers who are familiar or new to their brand, thus increasing brand awareness.
  • They use audience segments to find the right target audience: In-market segments support advanced targeting to connect advertisers with the visitors who are most likely to convert.
  • Automate to increase conversions: Unlike traditional ad networks, GDN uses programmatic tools to decrease operational inefficiencies. Automated targeting supports both publishers and advertisers by leveraging historical and real-time data to find audiences that are most suitable for an advertiser’s goals.
  • Automate bidding for improved ROI: Google’s algorithm adjusts bidding rules and bids to optimize ad spend and help you and your advertisers meet your ROIs.

Access Google’s Ad Network With Playwire

Yes, Google’s ad network, AdSense, and Google Ad Manager (GAM) are all essential tools for publishers, but they are just the beginning.

Working with Playwire is the best way to access all the tools you need to monetize your site or app. Our RAMP Platform includes proprietary machine-learning algorithms backed by a team of ad tech experts all working in unison to maximize your ad revenue potential and help you get where you’re going.

Now that we’ve got your attention: contact us to get started today.

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