The Programmatic Primer: Ad networks in the online advertising ecosystem

This article is part of The Programmatic Primer, Warc's essential guide for advertisers to the latest online advertising techniques. The report includes detailed advice on how to work with companies in the online advertising ecosystem, plus use cases of programmatic in action. View a PDF version.

Need to know: Ad Networks

  • Ad networks collate advertising inventory from multiple publishers.
  • Ad networks may represent buyers or sellers. Each network offers something slightly different. For example:
    • The ability to learn from success
    • The ability to target search terms
    • Special access to 'better' inventory
    • Filters including white lists, black lists, or specific contexts and content
    • Better measurement and analytics
  • Penny-pinching or bidding ad networks against each other is a potentially costly and ineffective strategy. Partnership capabilities can have benefits across all the advertiser’s touch points.
  • To avoid the inherent difficulty in online display advertising, choose a performance network. However, measuring success can be difficult, particularly for branding campaigns, and you ultimately pay a premium when someone else takes on your risk.
  • Ad nets and DSPs are the most important place for an advertiser to focus its efforts to use the ecosystem. The key decision for partnership is to understand how they will gather, leverage and deploy data to improve quality.