How to Create Your Own Ad Network: From Business Model to Tech Stack

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From Smarty Ads

Slowly but steadily, all display advertising turns programmatic. It is more effective in terms of ad revenue generation and more flexible in terms of ad campaign configurations. The dynamics of programmatic ad revenue growth suggests that these trends are closely related to the fact that publishers and advertisers today prefer to create an advertising network on their own.

The overall value of the industry, according to Online Advertising Market Research, reached $220.38 billion by the end of 2019. This means only one thing – there is plenty of fish in the sea for the supply and demand partners who want to start an ad network, set up DSP or other programmatic solutions. Today, even the smallest businesses that want to capitalize on their own advertising model can make money in narrow programmatic digital ad niches.

What is Ad Network & How it works

In order to start your own ad network, it is important to find out the basic principles of ad network operation. Advertising network collects and aggregates information from publishers who are interested in selling their advertising space and transfers it to the potential buyers (advertisers). When all details of the transaction are specified, the advertisement is transmitted from the network server to the website. Same way as ad exchanges, ad networks can be connected to the demand-side platform(DSP), supply-side platform (SSP), data management platforms, and analytics systems. However, there are certain differences between ad network vs ad exchange, which mostly comes down to inventory management and competition rules.

The ad network comprises the following structural elements:
On the buy side (demand):
  • Advertisers – brands and media-buyers who are interested in purchasing ad slots on different websites on a per-impression basis. In order to do this, they take part in real-time bidding, unified auctions, buy inventory from publishers directly or commission it to ad agencies.
  • Agencies – representatives of the brands during media-buying campaigns that handle all questions related to campaign management.
  • DSP (demand-side platform) – a programmatic media-buying software that can function either as a self-serve or managed-serve platform. It helps to adjust the parameters of ad purchases (ad budget, frequency of displaying, characteristics of the target audience, etc.) and run the campaign automatically (most often via RTB protocol).
On the sell side (supply):
  • Publishers – the media owners who present their web inventory placements in real-time bidding, header-bidding auctions or direct programmatic deals for sale using SSP, ad exchange or ad network.
  • SSP (supply-side platform) – a programmatic software designed for media-publishers that is similar to ad networks in terms of functionality, but uses a different method for inventory trading.
  • Ad Network – is a platform that aggregates and accumulates available inventory placements from publishers and matches them to relevant demand from advertisers. Just like other platforms, ad network operation is based on an ad server that transacts media buys between advertisers and publishers.

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