Native Ad Networks Explained

Native Ad Networks Explained

You would expect the term “Ad Network” to include all sorts of traditional media such as television, radio, or print. So you may be surprised that in today’s digital age it has become more and more associated with online forms of paid media, just like native advertising. 

Now, remember that native is the future of performance marketing. According to eMarketer, by the end of 2020, US advertisers will devote almost two-thirds of display budgets to native ads. Hence, it’s time to wake up and have a closer look at Native Ad Networks.

But first, let’s take one step back to understand what Ad Network really is. 

What is an Ad Network?

In a nutsell, a Digital Advertising Network is a company – or let’s say a piece of adtech – used to transact media buys between advertisers and publishers. It brings together inventory from publishers, typically classifies it into categories, matches it with advertisers’ demand, and then sells it in a form of packaged impressions.


No worries, you’re not the only one. Ad Networks are commonly confused with Ad Exchanges as they share a similar purpose. Both can be integrated with SSP and DSP platforms enabling programmatic advertising buying. The line between those two is really blurry. 

Ad Network vs Ad Exchange

So, what is the main difference? Ad Networks filter out inventory from publishers based on specifications and targeting alternatives. Basically, like stockbrokers in the stock market, they help advertisers to buy the right stocks according to their needs.

On the other hand, Ad Exchanges are digital marketplaces where publishers, advertisers, as well as Ad Networks can purchase and sell inventory. Just like the stock exchange itself, Ad Exchanges allows advertisers to buy or sell stock in an open market. Since impressions are auctioned, the highest bidder gets the price.

Time to be ahead of the game.

As an advertiser, you can benefit from buying impressions across a range of publisher sites, especially if you use an automated media buying software like DSP. A Demand-Side Platform sends requests to several Ad Networks and Ad Exchanges simultaneously to find flawlessly matching inventory among all available sources. One of the key benefits of DSPs is the ability to buy, serve, and track ads using a single tool.

The graphic shows programmatic ecosystem.

As you can see, there is only one piece of a puzzle left to be explained – SSPs. Simple as it is, Supply-Side Platforms are plugged into the programmatic ecosystem in order to send available ad inventory to as many potential buyers as possible. That usually includes DSPs, Ad Networks, Ad Exchanges, Agencies, or even direct advertisers. It’s an efficient way for publishers to have greater control over the ads that are displayed with less work involved.

Since you already know what stands for programmatic media buying landscape, it’s time to go further.

What is a Native Ad Network?

Easy as one-two-three. A Native Ad Network works like any other, except the fact that its main specialization is native advertising. Just like the rest of Ad Networks, native ones put advertisers and publishers in contact with each other. However, they don’t really focus on banner, pop, push ads, or other types of content.

That said, there are many Native Ad Networks out there, as well as many different factors that you need to take into consideration when deciding where to run your ads. Also, it’s essential to monitor your native ad campaigns to ensure they’re achieving set goals. Sounds like a tough nut to crack with campaigns all over the place? Well, it is. 

In light of this, advertisers prefer a DSP over an Ad Network. Both of them serve the same aim, provide access to online inventory and tech support during the process of media buying. 

Native Ad Network vs DSP

With the great adoption of automated media buying, native advertising Demand-Side platforms provide marketers with a state-of-the-art access point to serve native ads to their target audience at scale.

For instance, with Voluum DSP you can run native ads on 20+ networks including Taboola, Outbrain, Liveintent, Admixer, WordPress, MGID, Nativo, Revcontent, Smaatoo… It’s just to name a few. 

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This technology brings the efforts of media ad bidding, buying, distributing and analyzing into one central dashboard. DSPs offer crazy granular targeting that can provide you with a lot of valuable info and in fact substantially increase the return on investment.

Final thoughts

In the current digital age, the age of content overload, people prefer ad formats that are informative, yet non-intrusive. Here, native advertising comes and takes over. Native ads help to steer clear off banner blindness, as they bring extra value to the visitor, drive engagement, and most importantly, bring revenue

There are plenty of Native Ad Networks that you can use to grow your business right now. The digital ad space, really, is your oyster – so don’t waste an opportunity to scale up your game. It is up to you to choose the ones that suit your needs, test them, and analyze the results.

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