How to Start and Grow Your Own Ad Network

How to Start and Grow Your Own Ad Network

Digital display ad market keeps on growing, according to the eMarketer report. So does the number of existing advertising networks that are one of the key advertisement channels across the globe. 

Programmatic added the role of ad networks with a responsibility to provide technical capabilities via advanced ad servers that run sophisticated algorithms. Programmatic brought solid automatization to the process of DSP and SSP interaction. And most ad networks have integrated these algorithms into their workflow, so this is a synergy principle in action.

To start your network, you need to attract publishers and advertisers and engage a reliable technology to perform all necessary operations within an ad network environment. Let’s have a step by step look on these issues.

Compose your partnership pool

First thing you’ll need is a contact list of publishers and advertisers. Both parties have their specifics, so while attracting them, use the triggers that fit best to each side. 

Onboard publishers

A common practice here is to make a hit or miss bombardment with messages in an attempt to establish a new partnership, but such a cold approach is a dead end. 

Instead of sending an email at a venture, address it to decision-makers directly. The main trick is to find contacts. LinkedIn is the number one service here. Also consider tools, like findthatlead, hunter, etc., that coin emails from domain addresses.

The big deal is to prepare a catchy offer. Pay attention to the technical side of the matter. Not all the publishers support Header Bidding or oRTB preferences, for instance. Thus, match your technical capabilities: what integrations you can offer, against what publishers can embed. 

Segregating potential partners by attributes (traffic volume, type of content, target audience, etc.) is also a good idea. When choosing a partner, consider if the publishers have unique, quality, and regularly updated content at their site. 

Engage advertisers

It is more complicated to establish business connections here, especially speaking of direct advertisers, as persuading someone to give their money is a hard row to hoe

Word-of-mouth is still the most common channel of attracting advertisers. However, you can find your leads at ad tech, digital, and media conferences and expos. This is where competent managers go for “business intelligence” and networking. Personal acquaintance is your chance to lure them, in a good sense of the word.   

Do a fine homework by preparing eloquent media kit to showcase all your benefits to a prospect in bold. Underline attractive figures and flexible partnership terms, describe the availability of reports, metrics, and data that the advertiser may be interested in. 

Setting up a network

When it comes to the technology part, there are two principal options to select:

  1. you can create your own technology and establish the entire architecture to maintain it
  2. or use ready-made SaaS solutions.

Your system has to be able to store and maintain all the data related to advertising network activity. This is where advertisers upload their creatives and calibrate all ad parameters, optimize ad campaign settings, etc. Meanwhile, publishers need a solution to set bid floor prices, manage their audience by adding or deleting users within websites and their sections, and retargeting groups. 

Network owners, in turn, should have a possibility to manage and group inventory, approve campaigns, set own commissions, track invoices, control their internal managers, etc. It is awesome if you have all those features in one tech solution! 

Do it on your own

As you may guess, launching own technology is a demanding process, so to do that, you will need a team of experienced engineers, a lot of time, and money. 

Heart of the system is an ad server that is responsible for storing, managing, and distributing the data within the network. Comprehensive ad server should  provide you with:

  • helpful manuals
  • extended targeting options
  • analytical tools
  • easy-to-read reports
  • free trial period.

This is the very little to be done before you can get started, and for this reason, most ad network owners prefer to use ready-made solutions like third-party servers.

Choosing a technology provider

One of the biggest advantages of using a SaaS solution is that you don’t need any programming skills here. Cloud-based platforms bring ease to management, so you get a full-fledged work environment at an affordable price. 

But to find a reliable provider, you need to outline all your tasks and goals to make sure you’ll be able to cover all possible requests from both advertisers and publishers. 

In the insightful guides like this, you can find out what technical armory you need to prevent possible red flags within your business model. 

In the meantime, here’s your brief checklist what to examine when choosing a tech provider:

1. Access to DSP demand

Check the availability of vendor’s own demand – some providers of ad network technology have own pool of demand partners and offer their ads to monetize your inventory. That could be really helpful for those who haven’t got own partners yet.

2. Large-caliber traffic 

Good ad network provider should have solid traffic under the wing.  Have a look at the number of partners already involved in the network, and check the traffic volume. Thus, you can calculate if the figures meet your campaign goals.

3. Suitable billing models

Ad network providers charge a fee for their services, and the rate net may have a significant difference between the companies. Some providers take fixed price monthly, others pick their commission per each impression delivered. In both cases, these benchmarks should be competitive, affordable, and clear. 

4. Helpdesk service

An important point to check is the availability of customer support. Especially if you are a beginner as it’s more likely that you’ll have a stack of questions regarding running the system. Find out if the vendor attaches a personal support manager to each account, or, consider if you can count on receiving emergency help from general helpdesk squad. 

5. Single work environment

For networks of top-level it is crucial to provide partners with own self-served accounts. It allows setting all the processes with minimal involvement but, at the same time, to control it from the main account.

6. Integration capabilities 

When it comes to real-time bidding, classic waterfall adjustment won’t be enough. Search for a platform which would be able to integrate programmatic DSPs to initiate a real-time auction.

7. Establishing of your trademark

And last but not least, check out if there is an option of white labeling from the provider as you may want to run your own ad network under own coat of arms

To wrap it up 

Starting up own ad network is a quite a tough mile to go, and technical infrastructure boosted with sophisticated algorithms is what you’ll need within entire distance. 

If you decided to create own technology, we highly recommend to estimate your capabilities carefully, as this is a widescale story. 

But if you are looking for an easier way to enter the ad network dimension, using SaaS platforms from diverse providers is your troubleshoot. With topflight providers, you can obtain a completely ready-made solution that will cover all your business needs.

Thinking of building own ad network? Take this 3 min survey on what your primary needs are.

Author: Irina Kostiuk, a Business Development Executive at Admixer Technologies. Get in touch: