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Best Ads Exchanges for Publishers in 2023 (Top 10)

Confused which ad exchange to try? Here is a list of top 10 ad exchanges (with features) available for publishers.

Ads Exchange is a digital platform where publishers & advertisers sell and buy inventories through real-time auctions. So, if you are looking for more information on Ad Exchange, how it works, and the list of the Top 10 Ads Exchanges, read this blog.

Many publishers, advertisers, and ad tech agencies buy their media through ad exchanges, but there’s often a lot of confusion around what they actually are.

According to the report by MarketWatch, the major players in the online ads exchange market are:

  1. Verizon Media
  2. Index Exchange
  3. Rubicon Project
  4. OpenX
  5. SmartyAds
  6. MoPub
  7. Smaato
  8. AppNexus
  9. PubMatic
  10. Google Ad Exchange

A piece of recent news by DigiDay states that London-based startup Alkimi Exchange built the first decentralized Ad Exchange Powered by Constellation Network’s Hypergraph with zero fraud, reduced transaction fees, and complete end-to-end transparency to benefit publishers and agencies.

If you are a publisher, the simplest way to make the best of the Ad Exchanges is by working with the premium players, supplementing the same with your exclusive deals. This will help you improve your strategy continuously and gain better rewards.

This post discusses ad exchanges (or ad exchanges), what they’re used for, and how ads exchanges work.

Also Read: Overview of Google’s Ad Management Platform for Publishers

What is an Ads Exchange?

The ad exchange is a digital marketplace where publishers and advertisers come together to sell and buy inventories through real-time auctions. The ad exchange platforms are used to sell display ads, video ads, and mobile ads inventory.

This big pool of impressions includes the display, video, mobile, and in-app inventories. Publishers join this pool hoping to make more profits from their inventories by accessing the global demand.

In return, ads exchange allows complete control of the inventory to publishers. This includes setting floor prices, adding/blocking demand, setting up targeting criteria, and more.

How Does an Ads Exchange Work?

Ad Exchange work by connecting advertisers with publishers to buy ad space on their website or apps. Here are some of the steps involved in the process of how an ads exchange work.

Step 1: Publishers sign up for an ad exchange which is the main component of programmatic advertising.

Step 2: After signing up on ad exchange, publishers make their ad inventory available for sale and provide details about their ad space, ad format, size, and ad location on the webpage.

Step 3: the ad server sends a request to the ad exchange to locate the appropriate ad for the user based on the targeting criteria set by the advertiser.

Step 4: Once the ad exchange selects the appropriate ad from the available inventory, then it sends it back to the ad server. The ad server then serves the ad to the user’s device.

Step 5: Now, if the user clicks on the ad, the advertiser is charged the amount for the ad impression.

Step 6: Finally, the ad exchange charges a commission that is paid to the publisher.

An ad exchange is also the main component of programmatic advertising. It uses workflow automation and machine learning algorithms to buy and sell digital ads.

What are the Types of Ads Exchange?

An ad exchange enables advertisers to easily purchase ads across multiple sites at once instead of negotiating purchases directly with specific publishers. It’s an efficient way of buying and selling advertising.

1. Open Ads Exchange

It is an open digital marketplace with extensive inventory from multiple publishers available for all buyers. 

2. Preferred Deal

Preferred deal is for publishers who want to sell digital ad inventory at a negotiated fixed price for preferred advertisers.

3. Private Marketplace (PMP)

Often known as a private ad exchange, it is a closed platform that enables publishers to control which buyers can make bids, under what conditions, and at what price.

Also Read: How to Make Most Out of PMP Deals – A Guide for Publishers

Several types of ads exchanges are used in the digital advertising industry. Here are the 10 most popular types:

10 Best Ads Exchanges for Publishers in 2023

In case you are wondering where to start, here is a list of top ads exchanges with their benefits:

1. Verizon Media

best ad exchanges Verizon Media

Verizon Media (formerly known as Oath) is a media and technology company. It connects 800 million people (including publishers, advertisers, and users) every day around the globe. The company has a huge network of publishers, advertisers, and ad partners to fulfil the requirements of each.

Verizon Media provides simplified monetization solutions for various ad formats across multiple devices. The company also hosts in-house technology to power large publishers like TechCrunch, Engadget, and HuffPost, who are their clients.

Features for Publishers:

  1. Delivers high-quality creatives while maintaining user privacy by complying with privacy regulations like the GDPR.
  2. Comprehensive inventory management lets publishers track earnings coming via different channels—including header bidding, programmatic, and direct deals.
  3. The demand pool includes its own marketplace and top demand sources (including Facebook and Amazon) available in the market.

2. Index Exchange

Ads exchanges Index Exchange

Index Exchange has created a marketplace where premium digital media companies come together and exchange inventory.

It offers complete control of inventory and pricing, along with providing access to quality demand. Premium publishers like Business Insider, The Economist, and The Telegraph work with the Index Exchange platform.

Features for Publishers:

  1. It is certified by TAG and is a member of the Coalition for Better Ads, which shows its commitment to serving only high-quality ads.
  2. Offers in-house inventory integration and maintenance for better results on the buy- and sell-side.
  3. The company is known for transparency when it comes to bid-level auction data and earnings and for its quality of demand sources.

3. Rubicon Project

best ads exchanges Rubicon Project

Rubicon Project (or simply Rubicon) is a global advertising technology that specializes in buying and selling inventories, facilitating over 1 billion deals every month. The Wall Street Journal, GAMELOFT, and eBay are some of the publishers who trust the Rubicon Project.

The company offers demand and campaign management for sellers and buyers. The company was also a contributor in the making of Prebid (with AppNexus), making them one of the top players in the header bidding market.

Features for Publishers:

  1. It is designed for non-technical publishers. If required, publishers can also get manual assistance on request.
  2. It offers a unified platform where publishers can access global demand without having to go through multiple channels or services.
  3. Offers client-side, server-side, and hybrid header bidding solutions for better monetization.

4. OpenX as Ads Exchange

best ad exchanges OpenX

OpenX introduces publishers to a powerful programmatic marketplace. Their trademark offering, OpenAudience, empowers publishers with insights about their respective audiences.

The company also offers yield analysts to publishers to identify the true potential of their inventories. To keep ad fraud at bay, OpenX abides by the anti-ad fraud measures. Moreover, the company was one of the contributors to the “Certified Against Malware” program.

CarGurus,, and Graphiq are some publishers monetizing with OpenX.

Features for Publishers:

  1. Offers OpenX Bidder—header bidding solution that connects publishers with a premium marketplace of demand partners.
  2. Predicts audience volume to help publishers monetize better. Its “Real-time Guaranteed” feature is known to help publishers improve seller-buyer relationships for more profitable deals.
  3. It has a mobile-optimized ad exchange designed to reach buyers interested only in mobile inventory. Saving publishers time to find suitable mobile demand on their own.

5. SmartyAds as an Ad Exchange

ads exchange SmartyAds

SmartyAds offers a complete ad tech solution to publishers, advertisers, and agencies. It is an independent ad exchange platform with a premium marketplace.

The company delivers more than 2 billion impressions daily while working with 25K+ premium publishers. It assures unbiased trade and quality exchange while maintaining profits for the parties involved.

Features for Publishers:

  1. Precise targeting by SmartyAds gets publishers the right ads for their audience.
  2. Real-time analytics shows inventory performance by different layouts (banner, native, video) and different devices (desktop and mobile).
  3. A transparent and brand-safe environment that lets publishers design their layout while maintaining various ad standards.

6. MoPub as an Ads Exchange

ads exchange MoPub

MoPub is an app monetization platform for publishers and developers. Now owned by Twitter, MoPub offers mobile ad exchange services. The company has a unified auction feature that enables publishers to go for direct deals, ad network services, and access to several DSPs.

The company is now reaching 1.5 billion users across devices by working with over 49,000 app publishers around the globe. Developers like Zynga, Voodoo, Ubisoft, and Trucaller monetize via MoPub. 

Features for Publishers:

  1. The in-app monetization feature lets publishers see real-time impressions.
  2. The company’s expertise in mobile mediation and real-time bidding help publishers access leading demand sources.
  3. Designed to show impression-level revenue to publishers, which helps them better understand the value of their inventory.

7. Smaato Ad Exchange


Smaato is an app-based ad exchange platform processing over 150 billion ad requests per month. The self-serve platform provides easy ad delivery with higher eCPMs. 

Liftoff, Gameloft, and Outfit7 are some developers that use Smaato. It offers extensive demand, global reach, and seamless website integrations with the company’s code to drive higher revenue for publishers.

Features for publishers:

  1. Integrates real-time ad exchange to access dynamic demand from more than 450 sources around the globe.
  2. App publishers have options to access private marketplace, direct deals, RTB, and third-party mediation.
  3. Works with technologies like The Media Trust and GeoEdge in order to maintain ad quality standards, brand safety, and user protection.

Looking for more demand on your inventory, we can help with our partnerships with 20+ global demand partners. Learn more.

8. AppNexus as an Ads Exchange

best ad exchanges AppNexus

AppNexus is one of the world’s largest advertising marketplaces. For the sell-side, AppNexus offers and server, SSP, and advanced to better monetize and optimize the inventory. And for the buy side, the company has a programmable platform to run customized campaigns.

AppNexus, in collaboration with Rubicon Project, also introduced Prebid.js—an open-source header bidding wrapper. The company monetizes publishers like Fandom, Wayfair, and Ranker.

Features for Publishers:

  1. Uses an in-house ad server for programmatic and direct deals.
  2. Has an SSP that offers display, video, mobile, native, and audio ads for publishers.
  3. Audience extension enables publishers to ‘pack and sell’ a part of the inventory to advertisers who are specifically seeking that audience.
  4. The advanced analytics feature lets publishers monitor and benchmark their inventory performance to avoid underselling.

9. PubMatic as an Ad Exchange

ad exchange Pubmatic

Pubmatic is a publisher-centric ad technology company. It delivers over 64 billion daily ad impressions to 800M+ unique users across the globe.

The technology is available for web, mobile, and app publishers. Publishers like, Livingly Media, and Times Internet are monetizing using Pubmatic’s technology. 

Features for Publishers:

  1. OpenWrap—an open-source header bidding wrapper by Pubmatic enables client-side, server-side, and hybrid header bidding solutions.
  2. Real-time bidding technology with a large pool of bidders increases bid pressure and hence publisher earning potential.
  3. The platform detects and filters invalid traffic to ensure brand safety.

Google runs its own ad exchange where Google Display Network partners can buy and sell ads. Google AdX comes under the umbrella of Google Ad Manager, offering third-party demand along with GDN.

It uses open auctions (preferred and programmatic deals) and private auction models (programmatic guaranteed) to make inventory exchange possible.

Google AdX is only available for premium publishers and advertisers. Small and medium publishers can access these services with the help of Google Network Partners (like AdPushup).

Features for Publishers:

  1. With account-level filtering, publishers can filter out the demand and creatives that they don’t want on their sites.
  2. Publishers can define various parameters (geography, ad sizes, layouts, ATF, and BTF ad units) for their revenue reporting and to better understand the inventory.
  3. Once publishers sign up with AdX, the platform handles everything from ad delivery to payments.

Ad Network vs. Ads Exchange

One might think Ad Networks and Ad exchange are the same things. But they’re different. Ad networks mainly aggregate inventory from a range of publishers, and then they mark it up and sell it for a profit. That’s their business model.

Compared to ad networks, ad exchanges are more transparent because they enable buyers to see the exact price at which impressions are being sold for.

Read More: Ad Exchange vs Ad Network for Publishers

Ad Exchange Benefits

Ads exchanges help publishers get the best price for their ad space and offer advertisers the ability to reach out target audience at the right time and context.

I. Ads Exchange Benefits for Publishers

1) Set minimum CPMs for inventory units; filter and block ads with sensitive ads or content competitors

2) Choose ad formats and styles to define the types of ads that would appear on the web page.

3) Create customized combinations of corner style, fonts, and colours and apply them to different display ads at a time.

4) Choose an ad location on a web page.

II. Ads Exchange Benefit for Advertisers

1) Set targeting options, bidding capabilities, and budget pacing options, and choose behavioural profiling and price settings.

2) Retarget add across multiple Ad Exchanges

3) Blacklist certain audiences and websites

4) Add limits on the frequency with which ads appear to the same user

In Closing

The future for ad exchanges looks promising, considering the shift to digital advertising is already underway. With the rise in programmatic advertising, ad exchanges will eventually become the go-to virtual marketplace for buyers and sellers.

Adpushup helps premium publishers across the globe generate more ad revenue by connecting them to 50+ premium ad exchanges. Book a demo to get a free 30-minute website monetisation consultation.

Key Takeaways on Ads Exchange

  • Ads exchange is a digital marketplace where publishers and advertisers come together to sell and buy inventories.
  • Ad Exchange enables advertisers to easily purchase ads across multiple sites at once instead of negotiating purchases directly with specific publishers.
  • Compared to ad networks, ad exchanges are more transparent because they enable buyers to see the exact price at which impressions are being sold for.
  • Different types of ad exchanges include Open Ad Exchange, Preferred Deal, and Private Marketplace
  • Some of the best ad exchanges include Google Ads Exchange, AppNexus, Pubmatic, and OpenX.


1. What are Ads Exchanges?

An ads exchange is a digital marketplace that enables publishers and advertisers to buy and sell advertising space.

2. How Does an Ad Exchange Work?

An ad exchange is a digital marketplace where supply and demand come together to trade ad inventories through real-time auctions. It gathers advertisers and publishers to sell inventory to the highest bidder.

3. Are Ad Exchanges Transparent?

Ad exchanges are relatively more transparent than ad networks. They enable buyers to see real-time price impressions. In fact, many ad networks now buy their inventory from exchanges.

4. Which one is the Most Popular Ads Exchange among Publishers?

Google AdX, or Google Ad Exchange, is the largest programmatic ad exchange. Google AdX conducts the first-price auction and sells display advertising space in real-time.

IX. Related Terms

  • Ad Server: Ad server places targeted ads on your website(s). It uses a server to store various types of ads and deliver them as per the user’s online behaviour.
  • Ad Management: Advertising management is the process of overseeing and monitoring ad campaigns.
  • Ad Network: Ad networks acquire available inventories from a publisher and sell them to advertisers as packaged impressions.

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