The ad tech industry doesn’t start and finishes with Google AdSense. In fact, there are many alternatives for publishers who want to generate revenue outside Google. You can combine several networks to generate the highest revenue. Here we explore and bring you our top 11 picks for 2021.

Short in Time? These Are Our Top 5 Ad Networks

  1. CodeFuel – A complete holistic solution for publishers, leveraging search, ads, and news monetization options while enhancing the UX. Start Now! (read more)
  2. Amazon for Publishers – Unified ad marketplace for Amazon clients to leverage ads on and off Amazon. (read more)
  3. Bing for Partners – Powered by Microsoft, Bing offers premium inventory and more than a billion monthly visitors. (read more)
  4. Google Adsense and Google Marketing Network – The most popular Ad network, allows publishers to monetize their websites by presenting ads on their digital properties. (read more)
  5. Taboola – An ad network that matches campaigns to specific publishers. Presents content in a newsfeed format. (read more)

What Is an Ad Network and Why Do You Need One?

An ad network is an intermediary that introduces the right publisher option to the right buyer. It connects publishers (suppliers) and advertisers (buyers) to match their campaign goals.

You can work with several ad networks according to the different types of ad formats you work with. There are video ad networks that serve video content, and others that focus on the best CPM rate.

Ad networks are a good choice if you need to sell remnant ad inventory. For instance, impressions that are not sold by the end of the month. Let’s say you have a deal with an advertiser to give him 700k impressions a month, but you generate 900k impressions. You can sell the remnant impressions through an ad network.

How do you choose the best ad network for your company?

There is a good deal of different advertising networks offering video ads, in-feed ads, and display advertising to choose from. But before choosing the network, you should start first by evaluating your marketing needs.

Key factors to consider

  • Your target audience – Is your audience B2B or B2C? How large is your audience? Note your audience demographics, interests, location, and age group.
  • Your budget – for starting companies sometimes the budget can play an important part in choosing some networks.
  • Your niche – this is perhaps the most important factor in determining which network works best for you. Often, the more general the niche, the more general the network.

Types of Ad Networks

Specialized Ad Networks

These are also called “niche” networks. These ad networks typically target industry or niche. For instance, there are display advertising networks that target software advertisers, publishers, and developers. These networks usually handle specific and high-converting, inventories.

General Ad Networks

Unlike specialized networks, these handle a broad spectrum of advertisers. In this category, we can find Google and Facebook ad networks. These bring huge audiences of consumers to the table, along with extensive and detailed customer data.

Promotion Platforms

These tools give you access to multiple ad networks, exchanges, and marketing resources. Promotion platforms help you manage multiple campaigns via multiple ad networks, access marketing resources, calculate marketing costs and optimize your marketing.

The Best Ad Network for Publishers for 2021

1. CodeFuel

CodeFuel is a complete monetization solution for digital properties. Leveraging intent-based search ads, shopping, and news, the platform allows you to monetize any type of digital property, including websites, extensions, and applications.

CodeFuel

Features

  • App monetization – use an intent-based search to monetize your app or extension. Intent-based monetization with in-app ads.
  • Search mediation – optimized landing pages for your media campaigns regardless of where you buy media (Facebook, Google, Taboola, or Outbrain) You can deploy monetization pages on your own website.
  • Website monetization present relevant shopping ads to encourage high intent users and increase conversions. Leverage search text ads with a customized search results page (SERP) with sponsored text ads.
  • NewsFuel Feed – premium news feed.

Pros

  • Flexible – offers monetization options across various platforms and verticals
  • All-in-one – you can leverage search, ads, shopping, and news to monetize your digital property.
  • Tracking and analytics
  • Centralized dashboard
  • Multiple integrations – integrates with MSN, Bing, Yahoo, AOL, and 1200 quality publishers. Also provides access to premium Google AdSense programs.

Cons

  • Not suitable for very small publishers. Requires a mid-size audience to find the high intent users.

2. Amazon

The retail giant provides an ad network service for publishers. It features server-to-server header bidding integration for Amazon and Supply Side Platforms.

Amazon

Features

  • Unified Ad Marketplace – header bidding from Amazon and third-party partners via SSP.
  • Server-to-Server bidding integrations
  • REsponsive
  • Automated line item configurations
  • Single header tag integration
  • Centralized dashboard

Pros

  • Faster page loads
  • Unified demand
  • Easy integration

Cons

  • Managed service: you don’t have a lot of control
  • Restricted to Amazon clients

3. Bing for Partners

The Microsoft alternative to Google, Bing for partners features premium inventory and allows publishers to monetize their digital properties from more than one billion unique monthly visitors.

Bing for Partners

Features

  • Syndication – you get paid to show Bing Ads on your website. Bing serves the ads tailored to your audience and content.
  • Search ads – customer search on Bing and partner and get served custom ads according to search keywords.
  • Cross-device search results  – responsive search results and ads for PC, mobile, and tablet.

Pros

  • Has three search engines – Bing, Yahoo, and AOL
  • Bing network is growing, reaching searchers that aren’t reached with Google AdWords.
  • You can import your Google Ads campaign

Cons

According to Trustradius:

  • Cannot target specific countries with the partner network
  • Network placement sometimes is low quality
  • Not available on Mac

4. Google Adsense and Google Doubleclick Ad Exchange

Google is still the most popular ad network. It offers access to a vast pool of advertisers although it may be too generic for niche publishers.

Google Adsense and Google Doubleclick Ad Exchange

Features

  • Automated Ads – analyzes your pages and places ads based on layout, content, and existing Google ads.
  • Ad size optimization – automatically adapts the size of the ad to your user screen. So more ads can fill the ad units.
  • Requirements – A Google Account and a website that receives more than 300,000 monthly page views.

Pros

  • Simple – you just need a Google Account and website
  • Easy to use – add the same line of code to each page you want to show ads.
  • Responsive automatically adapts to mobile.

Cons

  • Google restricts working with other ad networks. You can use CodeFuel to get access to the premium Google ad network: Google Marketing Network.

5. Taboola

Taboola integrates a news feed scroll to website pages. It adds contextual sponsored content and ads that blend with your experience.

Taboola

Features

  • Feed – presents content in a scrolling news feed type.
  • A/B testing
  • Online content discovery
  • Native advertising – advertiser-side. Matches and targets campaigns to specific publishers according to content.

Pros

  • It’s easy to set up campaigns
  • Provides many options for targeting
  • Supports several audiences

Cons

  • Not friendly interface
  • Not performance whitelisting

6. Outbrain

Outbrain is a native advertising platform that offers monetization services for publishers and advertisers. It works as a recommendation platform delivering recommendation feeds in websites.

Outbrain

Features

  • End-to-end platform
  • Flexible Placements
  • Sells remnant inventory

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Simple setup
  • Large distribution network

Cons

  • Weak support
  • Terms and conditions change rapidly.
  • Most of the traffic comes from the top of the funnel.

7. Triple Lift

Triple Lift is a native advertising platform. It offers demand-side and supply-side advertising, It uses computer vision to transform images with content into ads.

Triple Lift

Features

  • Ad server
  • Publisher integration
  • Native direct deals on their existing workflow

Pros

According to G2 reviews:

  • Run media directly or you can access their inventory for programmatic advertising
  • Creative capabilities.

Cons

  • Basic dashboard
  • Needs more metrics
  • UI is not easy to use

8. Xandr Monetize

It is a monetization platform that offers services for advertisers and publishers. For publishers, they offer an SSP, an ad server and analytics.

Xandr Monetize

Features

  • Replaces the AppNexus SSP and Publisher.
  • Supply-side platform
  • Inventory management
  • Ad server
  • Many options to segment and search different metrics
  • Reporting
  • Geo-targeting

Pros

  • Flexible
  • User Friendly UI

Cons

  • Weak support
  • Issues with tracking metrics
  • Slow platform
  • Complex and not suitable for beginners

9. Adcash

Adcash is an advertising platform with global reach. In the publisher side, they partner with publishers, premium websites and SSPs.

Adcash

Features

  • Multiple ad formats
  • High fill rates – monetize all impressions
  • Anti AdBlock technology

Pros

  • Option to control offers manually
  • Variety of ad types
  • Good customer support
  • Multiple language site support

Cons

  • Difficult to find the pay rate on a website
  • High minimum payment

10. IndexExchange

Index Exchange is a global ad exchange for transacting ad impressions in real-time. It offers premium inventory and accountability.

IndexExchange

Features

  • Predictive optimization – price settings to achieve specific yield goals.
  • Data services – custom optimization models and simulations
  • Analytics – real-time feed that lets you know who is buying your inventory.

Pros

  • Selective about what advertisers they allow into their system.
  • Integration with multiple platforms

Cons

  • Not for small companies.

11. Verizon

Verizon media offers a large demand and premium services for publishers. It supports different transaction models including header biddings and guaranteed campaigns.

Verizon

Features

  • SSP
  • Multiple ad formats, including native ads, video ads, and mobile ads
  • Video Syndication
  • Open bidding

Pros

  • Easy setup and management
  • Inventory management
  • Consistent demand
  • Monetize display inventory

Cons

According to Trust Radius reviews:

  • Pixels and Rules – the rules are less intuitive to follow
  • Poor UI
  • Slow system
  • Low viewability
  • Cannot hold against premium partners

How to Combine Ad-Networks to Get The Most From The Publishers Companies?

As a publisher, you can integrate more than one ad network. However, keep in mind not all networks are allowed to combine with Google AdSense. Google has a list of ad networks you can run along with their own. Once you know you can run multiple networks, how do you do it? There are two methods you can use to choose the right network for your waterfall or header bidding. 

Waterfall

This process involves ranking ad networks based on their performance. If the first ad network cannot take all the impressions, then the inventory passes to the second network, which will try to complete the unfilled impressions. If it cannot, then the rest of the inventory passes to the next one.

Header bidding

This system sells your ad impressions based on real-time market value, encouraging advertisers to win the impressions. This ensures you will get the highest possible revenue for space.

How to Optimize Your Advertising by Choosing the Right Website Category and Ad Network

To choose the right network, take all the information and follow these simple steps:

1. Weed out irrelevant networks and find the relevant ones

Classify according to the three factors we mentioned above: budget, niche, and audience.

If you have a specific niche, then look for networks that cater to that niche. For instance, if your niche thrives on video content, then search for ad networks that serve video ads. If you

Knowing your audience will help you find ad networks that serve this audience. For example, if your company caters to fitness fans, then you may require a broader ad network than if your company caters to kombucha followers. If you promote software to an audience of Linux users, then you can use more targeted solutions too.

2. Select the right size of the network. 

A larger network, not necessarily means it is better for you. Large ad networks will have a lot of options to choose from, but they don’t usually carry specially targeted ads. If you want to advertise a specialty product, a large network may not be well suited to your needs.

3. Quality vs Quantity

Sometimes you get what you pay for. For ad networks, you may get better pricing and more traffic from a large network, but the traffic you get will not be high intent traffic. To find high-quality, high-converting visitors, you need to get your traffic from the right sources.

4. So many options

Large advertising networks offer extensive options, including re-engagement ads and remarketing. While this can give you an advantage when it comes to targeting, you should ask whether you need all these extra features. Sometimes simplest is best when it comes to advertising. Focusing your advertising on the right websites and ad networks often gives better results.

Tips From CodeFuel for Publisher Success

Usually, when ads become more popular, their prices get lower. So, if you think about making enough income through ads, you probably come out with ways to increase viewability and add monetization options to existing ads.

However, monetizing your online assets with ads needs to be done right if you don’t want to risk weighing your site down with ads. Cramming too many monetization options without balance can risk driving your users away. As a publisher, you should try to maximize revenue while maintaining a great user experience. This is the key, happy and engaged users organically monetize your site.

Here are 5 tips for publisher success:

  • Be consistent
  • Have great content
  • Diversify your monetization options
  • Manage your SEO
  • Monitor, track, and review. Repeat.

FAQ

What is ad mediation?

Is the use of monetization technology, resources, and tools to maximize display ad fill rates and eCPM (effective cost per mille) for publishers.

What is an ad network for display advertising?

Is a network that connects companies that want to run advertisements with publishers (websites) that want to host them. The ad network collects ad space and pairs it with advertisers’ needs.

Is Google an ad network?

Google Ads is an online advertising platform that allows advertisers to bid to display ads in multiple formats to web users.

What is a publisher in online advertising?

The term publisher refers to a company or individual that displays ads in their digital space.

Which ad network pays more and has the best CPM?

According to headerbidding.com, the 3  ad networks that have the best CPM are:

  • Media.net
  • BuySellAds
  • Conversant Media.

The Bottom Line How CodeFuel can Help

There are many challenges for publishers, should you focus on mobile ads? Should you turn to programmatic advertising? Why don’t use it all in a way that is right for your website?

That’s the CodeFuel approach, balancing monetization across multiple options while focusing on engagement. CodeFuel provides intent-directed monetization solutions leveraging search, ads, and news. Our holistic all-in-one solutions tackle all publisher pains at once. Learn more about how CodeFuel can help today by contacting us.