What is Google AdX?

The origin of AdX (Google Ad Exchange) lies in DoubleClick Ad Exchange, a company founded in 1996 as an ad server. It was acquired by Google in 2008.

Through Google AdX, publishers can sell their ad inventory to advertisers and agencies using real-time bidding technology. By establishing an open marketplace where prices are set in a real-time auction, the Ad Exchange enables display ads and ad space to be allocated much more efficiently and easily across the web.

Sellers can make the most money for their ad space and get access to more advertisers, while still being able to control who can advertise on their site. Buyers get access to more websites and ad space and have more control over where their ads run.

What is Google AdSense?

AdSense was developed by Google as an internal product in 2003. It displays content-based advertisements on partner sites, allowing publishers to earn profit for every ad click made.

AdSense matches ads to a site based on the publisher’s content and visitors. Advertisers then bid for placement of their ads just like they do on Google Ads. In fact, ads on AdSense come from Google Ads, the Google Display Network, and other Google products.

It may be the benefit of having Google on their brand name or the fact that it’s an advertising product that’s easy to set up and requires minimal work, but AdSense is much more popular than AdX/DoubleClick in Google Search.

However, its popularity doesn’t necessarily make AdSense the better product. AdX is an ad exchange network, whereas AdSense is an ad network. The two products serve a fundamentally different use for different kinds of clients.

Google AdX vs Google AdSense: What Are the Key Differences?

Google AdX (previously known as DoubleClick Ad Exchange) is an ad exchange network. This means it is a programmatic advertising platform, offering real-time bidding (RTB) on ad spaces to ad networks, including AdSense, agencies, and demand-side platforms.

Publishers working with Google AdX have access to a larger inventory and can access buyers from Google Ads and other marketplaces using this exchange.

It also provides much more control to publishers over their ad space and allows them to sell their ad inventory directly. There’s also higher competition for ad inventory, which results in increased revenue per ad unit sold.

Google AdSense is an advertising network. It allows publishers to monetize their content on desktop and mobile. Setting it up is very easy. You just create ad placements and insert a tag on your site’s code.

From then on, AdSense will take care of everything, from serving ads to targeting, to payment to the publisher. Google AdSense will fill those placements with cookie-targeted ads from the Google Ads program. The filling rate is between 95-99%, so your ad units will be utilized most of the time.

It’s not a very lucrative way to monetize content, as the platform is geared towards providing low-cost impressions to advertisers. Publishers can’t set a floor price on their ad units, and they can’t also sell those ad units on their own. In short, they’re stuck with what Google offers them.

Still, there are plenty of stories of bloggers and small-scale operations that can generate a living wage out of AdSense.

Are AdSense and AdX Unchanged?

While AdSense remains a separate product for small-medium-sized publishers, Google Ad Manager combines Google’s popular ad server/SSP (formerly DFP) and their industry-leading ad exchange (AdX).

Publishers need an AdSense account to sign up for Google Ad Manager, but publishers need to get invited by Google or sign up through a third-party partner to join Ad Exchange. In doing so, Google limits access to its premium ad exchange and ad server to larger publishers and partners.

Google AdX vs AdSense Revenue: Which Generates Greater Returns?

Digital advertising revenue depends on many factors, which makes it difficult to recommend one platform categorically. Back in 2017, Animation conducted a study with data from 400 websites which suggested that Google AdX would generate more revenue.

But in the end, it depends basically on whether your publication has a large enough audience and the resources and expertise in place to manage and optimize their ad operations effectively through Google Ad Exchange.

If the answers are positive, Google AdX then opens up many more customization possibilities and optimization paths to maximize revenue. If you don’t, however, then Google AdSense, which is easier to manage and optimize than an ad exchange, would provide higher yields.

What Should I Choose Then, AdX or AdSense?

Google AdX offers an ad exchange programmatically or with real-time bidding. AdX has the potential to generate more revenue for publishers but requires more attention and dedication, or the resources to hire a third party that can manage their ad ops for them.

But in the end, it depends basically on whether your publication has a large enough audience and the resources and expertise in place to manage and optimize their ad operations effectively through Google Ad Exchange.

If the answers are positive, Google AdX then opens up many more customization possibilities and optimization paths to maximize revenue. If you don’t, however, then Google AdSense, which is easier to manage and optimize than an ad exchange, would provide higher yields.

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