An Ad Exchange is a technology platform that conducts auctions between publishers selling ads and advertisers looking to buy digital ads (display, native, video, mobile and in-app). These auctions are driven by real-time bidding via oRTB and similar technologies. They allow advertisers to bid on ad space in real-time, through a process known as real-time bidding (RTB). Advertisers can target specific audiences, and publishers can maximize the value of their ad inventory. Ad exchanges typically work with demand-side platforms (DSPs) used by advertisers and supply-side platforms (SSPs) used by publishers. It’s important for a person new to digital advertising to understand how ad exchanges work, the different types of ad inventory available, and the targeting options available through RTB. It’s also important to understand how ad fraud can occur in the ad exchange ecosystem, and how to mitigate it.
Some of the top ad exchanges in the market include:
- Google Ad Exchange (AdX): The largest ad exchange, owned by Google. It offers a wide range of inventory across the web and mobile app.
- AppNexus: One of the most popular ad exchanges, with a wide range of inventory across the web and mobile app.
- OpenX: A leading ad exchange that offers a wide range of inventory across the web and mobile app, with a focus on programmatic advertising.
- Rubicon Project: A popular ad exchange that offers a wide range of inventory across the web and mobile app, with a focus on programmatic advertising.
- Amazon Advertising Platform (AAP): An ad exchange owned by Amazon, that offers a wide range of inventory across the web and mobile app.
- Criteo: A leading ad exchange that specializes in retargeting and personalized advertising.
- LiveRamp Exchange: An ad exchange that specializes in identity resolution and data activation.
These are some of the most popular and well-known ad exchanges in the market. New exchanges are popping up all the time and even the biggest player in the market could change over time. At PubWise we provide access to all of the major exchanges in one easily activated platform that enabled header bidding, programmatic ad exchanges like the above, SSPs and other advanced advertising techniques like lazy loading with a particular focus on supply chain dynamics.
Fraud and bad ads are always a concern in programmatic ad exchanges and can take many forms, such as non-human traffic, click farms, and bots. To mitigate fraud, ad exchanges we use a variety of techniques, including:
- Bot Detection: Ad exchanges use sophisticated algorithms and machine learning techniques to detect and block bots and non-human traffic.
- Domain Blacklists: Ad exchanges maintain lists of known fraudulent domains and block them from the exchange.
- Third-party Werification: Ad exchanges partner with third-party fraud detection firms to verify the validity of traffic and detect fraudulent activity.
- Click Verification: Ad exchanges use click verification software to ensure that clicks on ads are coming from real users and not from bots or click farms.
- Viewability Measurement: Ad exchanges use viewability measurement tools to ensure that ads are actually viewable by users, and not hidden behind other elements on the page.
- Whitelists: Ad exchanges create a list of trustworthy and high-quality publishers which are verified by the exchange, and it only allows them to participate in the exchange.
In general ad exchanges also encourage transparency and work closely with advertisers, publishers and independent third-party auditing firms to ensure the integrity of the platform. Utilizing a service that manages all of these process on your behalf is key to keeping operational processes efficient.