Ad exchanges are the places where you can buy and sell advertising quickly and transparently. They help advertisers purchase ads across different sites simultaneously, instead of contacting each specific publisher.
So today, in this post, we’re going to take a look at the best 15 ad exchanges.
But first, for some clarity, let’s see what’s the difference between an ad exchange and an ad network platform.
Ad exchange vs ad network platforms
Although they might sound similar, an ad exchange is not the same as an ad network platform.
Ad exchanges are digital marketplaces where publishers and advertisers gather to buy and sell ad inventories. Typically, the impressions include displays, video, mobile and even TV.
Ad exchanges also usually have high traffic and revenue requirements so make sure you check their criteria.
Ad network platforms, on the other hand, collect ad inventory from publishers and sell it to advertisers. The main difference between them and ad exchanges is they act as an intermediary. Ad exchanges let you buy and sell inventory directly which is one of their main benefits.
However, some people find that ad networks just aren’t for them and prefer to the quickest way of the ad networks. If that’s your case, you can read our post on the 15 Best Ad Networks for bloggers.
Open ad exchanges vs Private exchanges
You’ll also find there are two types of ad exchanges: open ad exchanges and private exchanges. Open ad exchanges let publishers put their inventory into the open market. They contain ad inventory from all kinds of publishers.
Private exchanges, on the other hand, consist of exclusive publisher groups that only allow vetted buyers, agencies and media planners to bid on their inventory.
Most of the options on this list technically fall into the category of open ad exchanges. However, they still take powerful safety and ad fraud measurements.
Top 15 ad exchanges
1. Google Adx
Google Adx or Ad Exchange was previously known as DoubleClick Ad Exchange and is a feature of Google Adsense. It allows sellers to make the most money for their ad space while being in control of who advertises on their site. Similarly, buyers get access to more websites and control where they run their ads.
- Built-in user roles.
- Available for websites with 5 billion page views a month.
- Open, private and preferred auctions.
Xandr, previously AppNexus, is a global marketplace to buy and sell ads that have been recently acquired by Microsoft. They are everywhere: they have offices in America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.
Xandr is committed to a positive social impact and that’s why they serve Public Service Announcements for non-profits
Besides working with digital ads, they also work with advanced TV formats.
- Digital and advanced TV format solutions.
- Advanced analytics to avoid underselling.
- Programmatic and direct deals.
Facebook used to have a service called Facebook Exchange, which was an advertising platform for desktop users. Although FBX stopped functioning in 2016, they now offer Meta Audience Network, which connects publishers and advertisers.
App developers and publishers access Facebook demand from millions of diverse global advertisers to expand their app’s reach, keep users engaged and monetize globally.
- Tons of learning resources: webinars, a glossary and more.
- Multiple integrations: AdSense, Unity and others.
- In-depth reporting and A/B testing.
Publift is a programmatic advertising technology company that’s a Google Certified Publishing Partner (GCPP). This basically means they’re trusted experts in ad technology.
They also prides themselves on having excellent user experience. For publishers, you’ll get your tags within 5 days.
Publifit has offices in Australia, United States and Ireland.
- Advanced multivariate testing platform.
- Flexi slots, interscroller, miniscroller and other new ad formats.
- AdTech: an educational series.
OpenX differentiates from the other ad exchanges for several things. Firstly, because it is the first ad exchange to go carbon-neutral and achieve CarbonNeutral® company certification from Natural Capital Partners. It’s also the only 100% cloud-based exchange!
They have more than 100,000 advertisers and 130,000 active publisher domains, mobile apps and CTV apps.
- Every ad format including CTV.
- Mobile-optimized exchange.
- Anti-ad fraud measures.
Previously known as Rubicon Project, Magnite is a global advertising technology. They work with big companies such as Spotify, eBAy and Discovery, Inc.
They co-founded Prebid.org, the most widely used header bidding “container” on the web.
One of the best things about Magnite is its clean interface that makes it easy to use.
- Designed for non-technical publishers.
- Automated ad pods.
- Supports multiple languages: Italian, Japanese, Spanish and more.
PubMatic started back in 2006 and currently has a global digital advertising infrastructure deployed from San Francisco to Jakarta. They also have over 1.4T advertiser bids per day!
PubMatic has tons of learning resources to blog posts and case studies to the PubAcademy with both virtual and physical events.
- Auction Packages.
- Real-time bidding technology.
- Supports English and Chinese.
Index Exchange is an industry pioneer with over 20 years of experience. With an investment arm, they aim to accelerate the adoption of technology across the world to solve everyday problems.
They support multiple languages: German, Japanese, French, Spanish and English.
- Addressability Portfolio.
- Reporting UI.
- Cryptographic authentication.
Smaato is an ad exchange platform that processes more than 180 billion ad requests monthly. Like most of the options on this list, they are omnichannel: they offer native ads, OTT (Over the Top) and CTV (Connected TV), video ads and display ads.
Smaato has videos and webinars, white papers and guides, as well as other resources.
- Access a private marketplace, direct deal, RTB and third-party mediation.
- Pre-packaged open deals.
- Real-time pricing competition.
SmartyAds has multiple recognitions and achievements as well as big partners: Google, Xiaomi and Opera. They have offices in the United States, the United Kingdom and Ukraine.
They have a whole range of solutions, so you can head to their site and fill in who you are and what you’re looking for to get some guidance from them.
- White level solutions.
- Dedicated Ad Management team.
- Real-time analytics.
ClearPier is a Canadian exchanges and trading platforms with decades of experience in media buying, performance and publisher monetization.
They have a blog, a demo center and case studies to get you inspired.
Some of their publishers include Variety and Radar.
- Smart learning algorithms.
- Real-time reporting.
- Easy integration: it required zero hard coding.
12. Vox Media
Vox Media is a private ad exchange. Unlike the open ad exchanges that we’ve been mentioning, these types of exchanges represent a more controlled, brand-safe and premium ad inventory environment.
They have plenty of advertising solutions, including Concert, a group that contains a long list of premium publishers and brands such as CNBC News, Flipboard, Quartz, Livestrong, Buzzfeed and many more.
- Advertise to over 200 million monthly unique visitors.
- Easy to use.
- Brand safe environment.
Integral Ad Science was founded in 2009 and currently has customers of 111 countries all over the world. They aim to set the industry standard for media quality by delivering their bi-annual Media Quality Report to serve as a benchmark.
- Pre-bid segments.
- Ad fraud protection.
- Supports multiple languages: Japanese, Korean, Spanish and more.
If you’re looking for an ad exchange that focuses on video advertisement, then check out SpotX. SpotX was created in 2007 and is now part of Magnite. It also has received multiple awards recognizing its service and growth.
They have partnered with 10 DMP (Data Management Platforms) to unlock the full value of publishers’ audience data and use forecasting to discover, plan and optimize campaigns.
- Different video ad options: OTT, short-form, interstitial and out-stream.
- Reporting, insights and custom analysis.
- Enterprise solutions.
15. The Trade Desk
The Trade Desk is the final ad exchange on our list. It lets you advertise on premium streaming networks, digital out of house, mobile and more.
It has a Trade Desk Edge Academy that gives you insight into the complexities in the industry to help you build confidence, drive real business outcomes and advance your career.
- Advertise across every channel.
- Supports multiple languages, including German, French and Spanish.
- Includes an API.
So, those were the top 15 ad exchanges out there!
As you could see, there’s a wide variety, some specialize in video or offer private ad exchanges, some support multiple languages and some are even carbon-neutral.
Have you already worked with an ad exchange before?
Have you tried any of these?
We’d love to know about your experience! Tell us in the comments!