Google Ad Exchange (AdX) and Google AdSense are the two most popular Google advertising platforms. Publishers commonly question between the two and find it hard to decide which one is the best! There is always a debate on Google AdX vs AdSense in the digital advertising world.
Google AdX and Google AdSense both enable web publishers to monetize their content and access similar buyers and advertisers. So, what exactly is the difference, and which one is the best platform to maximize ad revenue?
Before we get to that, let’s gain a deeper perspective and understand what Google AdX and Google AdSense are?
What is Google AdX?
Google AdX or Google Ad Exchange is a real-time marketplace for advertisers and publishers. Google AdX was previously known as DoubleClick Ad Exchange. In 1966, DoubleClick Ad Exchange established an ad server which was later bought by Google in 2008.
With Google AdX, app owners and publishers can sell their ad inventory to advertisers using real-time bidding (RTB) technology. The idea is to have an open marketplace much like the Stock Exchange. The auction is made in a real-time setting for sellers to maximize their revenue.
Moreover, Google Ad Exchange allows publishers to manage ad space competently as well as offers control to enable or disable advertisements on the app’s ad space as per the publisher’s preference. Various ad networks can be managed on AdX including Google AdSense, agencies, and demand-side platforms.
AdX is a great platform for publishers, advertisers, and agencies to collaborate. From private auctions to preferred deals – AdX gives the liberty to publishers so that they can surge the demand for their ad inventory and generate more revenue.
What is Google AdSense?
Google AdSense is an advertising platform that enables websites and app owners to monetize their content by showcasing relevant ads. It was developed by Google in 2003 to showcase content-based ads and offer publishers incentives for every ad click.
With Adsense, ads are displayed on the app, based on the publisher’s content and user base. Similar to Google Ads, advertisers have to bid for the best placement. Publishers can voluntarily manage AdSense, all they need to do is get the ad tag, place it on the website and start monetizing.
In a way, AdSense is advantageous to advertisers compared to publishers because it renders ads from Google Ads – which works on a low-cost impression model.
Google AdX vs AdSense: What Are the Differentiating Features?
Google AdX or Google Ad Exchange is an ad exchange network, whereas Google AdSense is an advertising network.
Being a programmatic advertising platform, Google AdX follows real-time bidding to sell ad spaces to ad networks. This increases competition and revenue generation for publishers. Whereas, AdSense uses Smart Bidding which is a set of automated bidding strategies that optimize for conversion or conversion value in each and every auction.
Publishers using Google AdX get to work with a larger inventory and can access buyers from Google Ads and other third-party marketplaces. On the other hand, Google AdSense automatically fills ad placements with cookie-targeted ads from the Google Ads program.
In terms of control, Google AdX provides more control to publishers as they can choose and sell their ad inventory directly. The competition for ad inventory results in increased revenue per ad unit sold for publishers on Google AdX. Nonetheless, Google AdSense makes provisions for advertisers by providing low-cost impressions, meaning reduced rates that are not rewarding to the publisher.
A Quick Overview of the Differentiating Features
Google Exchange (AdX)
Google AdSense can be self-managed.
Managing AdX can be challenging and publishers may need dedicated resources for ad ops.
Adsense allows businesses to make bulk purchases of inventories offering lower rates on such targeting.
AdX offers a real-time bidding process (RTB) that yields higher return to publishers.
Google Ad Manager (GAM)
GAM is not required to manage Google AdSense.
AdX requires GAM to manage Ads.
Publishers cannot hold private auctions.
Publishers can hold private auctions for their ad space.
For AdSense there is no cap on the amount of traffic the website receives.
For AdX, the traffic on the app or website should be over 5 millions impressions per month.
Setting Floor Price
Publishers cannot set floor prices.
Publishers can set floor prices.
Publishers have limited control, whereas advertisers have more control to choose where to advertise.
Publishers get complete control on who can advertise on their app or sites.
Google AdSense automatically fills ad placeholders with cookie targeted ads.
On Google AdX targeting is more detailed giving publishers’ access to a larger inventory and buyers from Google Ads and other third-party marketplaces.
1. Website must be unique and original
2. Must comply to AdSense Program policies
1. 5 million page views a month
2. Must adhere to brand safety measures
What Is the Role of Google Ad Manager?
Google Ad Manager (GAM) is an ad server that allows publishers to manage ads on multiple networks. It has a dashboard and structured reporting metrics. It lets publishers leverage multiple ad networks including AdSense, Ad Exchange, and other third-party networks.
The role of Google Ad Manager has been significant as both Google AdSense and Google AdX can be managed under a single dashboard.
In 2018, Google aimed at offering a more straightforward system for the end-users. Hence, they merged a range of its advertising products within GAM.
GAM can be used by medium-to-large publishers with monthly traffic of above 100K. Google Ad Manager allows numerous DSPs to compete for the SSPs’ ad inventory in real-time so that they can monetize their ad space better.
The Authorised Buyers
Google’s Authorised Buyer program provides access to “Google Partner Inventory”. They are basically everyone from the demand-side platforms (DSP) including ad networks, agencies, and advertisers. They are buyers who purchase the ad inventory through GAM.
How Does Google Exchange (AdX) work?
Google AdX can sell a publisher’s ad inventory effectively, however, it can be challenging as AdX offers access only to large publishers. A representative from Google has to manually approve the AdX account.
Google AdX also hosts an advanced ad ecosystem and functionalities that may require technical expertise. Nonetheless, if a publisher can leverage Google AdX, they can better monetize their content, set premium floor prices for the ad units as well as avail a wider range of buyers and auction types.
How to get Google Ad Exchange (AdX) account?
There are two methods to sign up for Google Ad Exchange:
- Directly with Google Account Manager
- Work with Google Channel partner company (like AppBroda)
1. AdX with Google Account Manager
Publishers need to sign up with Google Ad Manager on which a representative from Google will notify if the publisher meets the eligibility to have an AdX account. Such as 5 million page views a month, brand safety measures, updated ads.txt file with details of inventory buyers, and related ad viewability and safety concerns.
Google AdX may reject a publisher’s app or website for inappropriate content, low viewability score, content with altering behavior without users’ consent, failing to host an ads.txt file, etc.
2. Tie-up with Google Channel Partner
Publishers can tie up with third-party companies (like AppBroda), which means Google AdX resellers get into Google Ad Exchange. Google Publishing Partners programs enable third-party companies to become SSPs (supply-side platforms) as Google’s authorized partner.
Publishers can access Google AdX demand via such third-party resellers without getting an invitation from Google directly. Also, they can avail of additional services offered by the channel partner to further increase their ad revenues.
How Does Google AdSense work?
Publishers need to sign up on Google AdSense and submit their website for verification. Once the request is approved, the publisher can copy the ad tags and insert the code provided by AdSense. With fewer constraints, AdSense can be plugged-in! Because of this, the adoption rate among publishers and advertisers is so high.
Around 68% of ad revenue goes to the publisher, while Google gets 32%. Publishers get a lower share when ads are shown on internal search engines – close to 51%. To maximize monetization, optimizing the Google AdSense operations is a must.
The ads are rendered by the Google Ads platform, where advertisers set up campaigns and bid on the keywords that trigger ads.
So, Which Is the Best Platform? Google AdX or AdSense?
According to a study in 2017, data from 400 websites said that Google AdX would generate more revenue. There is no doubt that Google AdX offers more customization possibilities and optimization paths to maximize revenue. However, it cannot be concluded that Google AdSense would provide lower yields.
This largely depends on the type of business and whether these platforms are managed to their full capacity. It also depends on factors such as if the app or website has a large user base, the resources available, and the expertise to optimize the ads’ operations.
Why Should Publishers Choose Google AdX?
Although Google AdX requires dedicated attention, it can surely generate more revenue for publishers. Google AdX is exclusive, which means only preferred publishers get access to a wide range of advertisers. Moreover, Google AdX can deliver a higher yield for the same ad space. Google AdX does not let any inventory go unsold, and also optimizes for the publishers to get a premium price.
Here are some benefits of Google Ad Exchange for publishers
More Ad Revenue for the Same Ad Space.
- Access To More Premium Advertisers
- Better Yields for Ad Inventory
- Superior Control and Filters on Who Can Advertise
- Simplified Reporting and Payments