An Ad Network serves as mediator between demand and supply for mobile ads, meaning between publishers and advertisers.
Its main function is the sale of free ad spaces to advertisers. Publishers with free ad spaces register in those networks, while advertisers who are looking for free ad spaces do the same. So the function of the network basically is to bring matching publishers and advertisers together. The term “ad network” mostly relates to online media or mobile ads but is also used for ads in conventional mass media such as print advertisements, TV commercials or radio commercials.
There are three basic types of ad networks:
- Vertical Networks: Within these networks the advertiser has got the full control about the delivery of his ads because he can exactly choose which ad spaces he wants to take or not. With this type of network advertisers benefit from high-quality traffic and can reach a very specific audience. It is especially used by big companies and brands.
- Blind Networks: Cheap prices make blind networks especially attractive for direct marketers. However, advertisers have to accept a lack of transparency in these kind of networks. In many cases there is no possibility to control where the ads are finally displayed.
- Targeted Networks: This type of network focuses on the behavioral or contextual selection of ad spaces.
Since ad networks vary in size and focus it is very important for advertisers to choose the right networks for their brand in order to run successful display advertising campaigns.