Part 1 of The Ultimate Guide To Making Money From Ad Networks covered the basics of what ad Ad Network is and how it operates, specifically for a publisher looking to monetize from their own website’s traffic.

In this chapter we’ll discuss all the different types of Networks so that you can decide which ones to apply for.

Choosing an ad network can be a little tricky, especially if you’re just starting out.

In the early years of online advertising networks distributed ads across a large number of publisher sites – what was important was that those ads were shown to people.

This arrangement favored publishers to a degree – networks didn’t discriminate based on the type of content a site showed and advertisers couldn’t impact where their ads were going to be showed.

This business model was not sustainable for long.

Advertisers wanted results and good results were only achieved if an ad was shown to the right audience.

The system in which an advertiser cannot choose or very accurately target where their ads will appear is called a blind advertising system.

Blind networks are all ad networks which are designed to deliver a large quantity of clicks fast but without giving the advertisers too many targeting options.

The term blind ad network has become interchangeable with the term horizontal ad network – even though they are not exactly the same.

Horizontal Ad Networks



So, what are the characteristics of Horizontal networks?

  • Easy to get into for site owners
  • Do not offer much in terms of targeting for advertisers
  • Cost-effective
  • Work with a large number of publishers

For you as a publisher, the most important thing is that blind ad networks are easy to get into.

What’s important is to have some traffic and to obey the rules of the network.

The downside is that payment is based on the CPC model, which means that you only get paid if a visitor on your site clicks on an ad.

Advertisers who need a lot of clicks and impressions but are not concerned with their origin also favor blind networks – mostly because CPC is often just pennies.

However, blind click networks are not the best choice for branding campaigns because advertisers have no idea where their ads are shown.

The difference blind and horizontal ad networks is in the fact that horizontal ad networks, as we know them today, do offer advertisers some level of control over where their ads are going to be shown by allowing them to choose site categories and limit showing their ads in categories for which they have no interest.

Vertical Ad Networks

Vertical ad networks

Vertical ad networks developed out of the necessity to give advertisers more options when it came to targeting the audience they want to show their ad to.

Vertical networks are specialized and will generally work with publishers that fall into a specific niche they cater to, such as:

  • Automotive
  • Lifestyle
  • Gay Interest
  • Kids and Babies
  • Travel and Leisure
  • Sports
  • Hobbies

The list goes on and each one of these could be further divided into subcategories – some ad networks cater exclusively to gay-friendly vacation spots and only work with publishers from that particular niche.

To become a publisher with a vertical network you will have to be in their niche.

If you have a travel site you will want to apply for a travel ad networks and if you’re a food blogger then you will want to search ad networks that predominantly work in the gastronomical niche.

Advertisers use vertical ad networks to get more targeted traffic and to show their ads to an interested audience.

Even though they do not have the global reach of horizontal and blind networks and they work with fewer publishers, the results from vertical ad networks can be better for advertisers who are looking for a warmer audience and are interested in running branding campaigns.

Premium Ad Networks

Premium Ad Network

Premium ad networks are a completely different beast.

These networks are tough to get into as a publisher – if they are indeed premium. They partner with high-profile websites and online publishers that get a ton of traffic on a daily basis.

Premium ad networks will partner up with sites such as Huffington Post, The New Yorker, and Forbes and perhaps with a handful of industry leading blogs that can deliver highly targeted, quality traffic.

Becoming a publisher with a premium ad network is difficult for many established blogs and sites –sites that are just starting out have virtually no chance until they build up their traffic and their reputation.

However, it is something to aspire to as premium ad networks also demand a premium price from advertisers and can be very lucrative for publishers who manage to get accepted.

First-Tier vs. Second-Tier Ad Networks

We also distinguish ad networks by the type of client and traffic they attract.

First tier networks are very large and include the likes of Google AdSense, Yahoo, Bing, and several other large networks which have been around for years.

They have very large inventories and work with a great number of both publishers and advertisers.

Almost all first tier ad networks are horizontal networks which is the reason why they were able to acquire such large inventories and grow into advertising giants they are today.

Second tier networks are smaller networks that have smaller inventories and work with a limited number of publishers and advertisers.

They often partner up with first tier networks and generate their revenue in part by syndicating ads from them.

Ad Networks by Type of Inventory

Traffic for first and second tier ad networks

Ad networks can also be categorized by the type of inventory they carry and how they deliver their ads – actually, across which platforms they deliver those ads.

Mobile ad networks deliver ads in-app to users who are using those apps on their smartphones.

In-app advertising is the fastest growing segment of online advertising currently and is expected to top $ 80 billion in ad spend.

But mobile ad networks don’t only deliver ads in-app – there are those who focus only on showing ads to users who are surfing the Web on their mobile gadgets.

Video ad networks specialize in delivering video ad content to publishers.

Video ads are growing in popularity because they are visual and allow advertisers to tell their brand story in a way that will appeal to younger demographics and millennials.

Ad networks are increasingly specializing in recent years, trying to please both publishers and advertisers and find a model that will ensure that both parties involved get the desired results – with ad networks operating within a healthy revenue margin.

As a publisher, you will want to choose an ad network that will yield the best results for you in terms of ad impressions and revenue.

It’s always preferable to work with networks that pay per thousand of impressions shown, CPM, as opposed to those which pay per click because CPM means that you’re earning money regardless of whether your visitors click on the ad.

Unfortunately, most horizontal networks are CPC networks and getting accepted as a publisher to vertical and premium networks can be hard work – although the payout is substantially larger.

Abe Cherian