Selling ads directly vs. selling through ad networks

Publishers have two popular ways to monetize their ad inventory: selling directly to advertisers or selling through ad networks. Fortunately, these two approaches are not mutually exclusive. In many cases, publishers have both directly-sold ads and ads from networks. Which approach to take depends on the situation and size of your company in order to get the best mix and highest advertising revenue. From one of our surveys, two-thirds of our publishers have direct contacts with their advertisers.


With an understanding of these pros and cons, our goal is to design and offer a system that maximizes the advantages and neutralizes the drawbacks of each selling approach.

Selling advertising directly to the advertisers

When selling your ad inventory directly to advertisers, you set and negotiate the terms with the advertisers.
  • Earn 100% of the payment from advertisers
  • Earn a higher ad rate
  • Know each advertiser personally and build a long-term business relationship
  • Need to have your own sales force or put your own effort into selling ads
  • Need to offer unique contents and/or a large visitor base to attract potential advertisers
  • Need a good ad management solution to manage many advertisers effectively

Selling advertising through ad networks

When selling your ad space through one or more ad networks, you put the ad tag from these networks into your site and ads from different advertisers will be served.
  • Pay commissions, up to 50% of revenue, to the ad networks
  • Have a lower ad rate
  • Have little or no interactions with advertisers
  • Require no sales force because advertisers and ads come from the networks
  • Reach out to more advertisers as networks have combined inventory
  • Still need an ad management solution to manage and allocate inventory for multiple ad networks

Best of both worlds

Most publishers utilize both methods: sell their premium ad inventory directly while leaving the remaining/remnant inventory for the networks.
Posted in AdServer for Publisher Selling Ads Directly April 20, 2012 (first published November 2008)