What Is an Ad Network?
An ad network is a technology platform that serves as a broker between a group of publishers and a group of advertisers. It helps advertisers buy available ad space (aka inventory) across multiple publishers.
How Does an Ad Network Work?
Ad networks take all of the available inventory from a publisher and sell it to advertisers as packaged impressions.
An ad network aggregates a large number of publishers to provide the required amount of inventory to the advertisers on an auction basis.
The advertiser can set up the campaigns directly using an ad network’s campaign-management panel.
The advertiser sets up the campaign parameters (such as targeting, budget, frequency caps, etc.), and the publisher installs the ad-network ad tags on their site by inserting these tags directly into the page or by using a first-party ad server.
Ad networks relied on the waterfalling, also known as daisy-chaining or waterfall tags, a way of selling publishers’ assets sequentially, invoking one demand source at a time.
Waterfalling, also known as a daisy chain or waterfall tags, is a process used by a publisher to sell all remnant inventory.
Waterfalling gets its name from the waterfall-like process for selling inventory — i.e. the demand sources are initiated one after another.
This process occurs when a publisher has been unable to sell its premium ad slots that are usually reserved for direct ad sales between the publisher’s internal sales team and advertisers.
SSP was the next step in the programmatic evolution and offered publishers to sell their inventory via open RTB auctions.