AdSense vs Ad Exchange: Battle of the Ad Titans – Which Will Reign Supreme?

AdSense Ad Optimization
February 21, 2023 | by Aleesha Jacob
adsense vs adx

Both AdSense and Google Ad Exchange are critical components of a successful publishing business. Publishers tend to use one or both of these Google products to give advertisers access to their ad inventory and monetize it via display ads.

In this blog post, we will answer common questions that publishers may have about Google AdX and AdSense, including their differences, how media buyers work with them, and how to get started with AdX.

What is AdSense?

AdSense is Google’s ad network where publishers can connect their ad inventory to buyers or advertisers worldwide. When website visitors click on or see AdSense ads on a publisher’s site, publishers get paid a portion of the ad cost paid by advertisers.

Publishers receive 68% of the ad cost paid by advertisers in ad revenue. AdSense is great for small to medium-sized publishers.

How to join AdSense?

We’ve written extensively on how to get an AdSense account here. However, you need to adhere to the following before you can sign up:

-Be 18 years old.

-Have an active Gmail account that’s not linked to an AdSense account.

-Have a website that meets all of Google’s terms of service.

Furthermore, we recommend that your website be at least 3 months old, have 30 or more unique articles on it, and is already generating traffic. If you adhere to these guidelines, go here and follow the sign up process.

What is Google Ad Exchange?

Google Ad Exchange, also known as AdX, is Google’s ad exchange where they connect multiple ad networks and DSPs with publisher ad inventory. AdX is also part of Google Ad Manager. It allows publishers to gain access to international brands, premium advertisers, which results in higher ad rates. Not all publishers get accepted or even invited to Google Ad Exchange. It’s best suited for medium to large sized publishers.

Ad Exchange is also great for sophisticated publishers looking for more control over their ad inventory. You’ll get access to advanced targeting features, better ad optimization tools, faster payments, better reporting, and much more!

Is Google AdX an SSP?

Yes, Google AdX is a Supply Side Platform (SSP) owned and operated by Google. AdX helps publishers maximize their advertising revenue by connecting them with premium advertisers and ad exchanges. AdX is designed to provide publishers access to a broader range of demand sources and ad formats than AdSense.

How to join Google Ad Exchange?

Signing up for AdX can be great for your business as you’ll get access to premium advertiser demand as well as all AdSense demand. To join AdX, you’ll need to either be invited by Google or sign up via a partner such as MonetizeMore.

Most publishers struggle to get in on their own and work through us to gain access to the premium demand AdX gives. Only publishers with 100 million pageviews tend to receive invites.

Are you ready to join AdX and get access to premium advertiser demand and advanced features? Sign up to MonetizeMore today!

What are the differences between Google AdX and AdSense?

Feature Google AdX Google AdSense
Revenue Share 80/20 68/32
Eligibility Must meet Google’s eligibility criteria Easy to set up and get started
Advertisers Premium advertisers and ad exchanges Wide range of advertisers
Ad Formats Wide range of formats, including display, video, and native ads Limited to display and text ads
Control More control over ad inventory, including floor pricing and ad quality control Less control over ad inventory
Performance Higher CPMs and fill rates for premium inventory Lower CPMs and fill rates, but good for smaller publishers

How do media buyers work with AdX and AdSense?

Buyer Types are usually adtech companies that execute exchange buys, ad networks, and DSPs.

Media buyers typically use demand-side platforms (DSPs) to purchase ad inventory from AdX and AdSense. With AdX, media buyers have access to premium inventory from top publishers, while AdSense provides access to a wide range of inventory from smaller publishers. Media buyers can use DSPs to target specific audiences, optimize campaigns, and track performance across both platforms.

Which one generates more ad revenue: AdX or AdSense?

The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, including the publisher’s traffic volume, the quality of their inventory, and their advertising goals. Generally speaking, AdX generates more revenue for premium inventory, while AdSense is better for smaller publishers. However, both platforms can be used together to maximize advertising revenue and reach a wider range of advertisers.

Here is a table outlining the major factors that can lead to AdX generating more ad revenue than AdSense for publishers:

Factor AdX Advantage
Eligibility Criteria AdX has stricter eligibility criteria, which means it only works with high-quality publishers, leading to access to more premium advertisers and better session RPMs
Ad Formats AdX offers a wide range of ad formats, including display, video, and native ads, allowing publishers to offer their audience a more diverse range of ad experiences, which can lead to higher engagement and higher RPMs.
Control AdX provides more control over ad inventory, including floor pricing and ad quality control, allowing publishers to set higher prices for premium inventory and ensure that the ads shown on their site are of high quality, leading to higher CPMs.
Premium Advertisers AdX provides access to premium advertisers and ad exchanges, which typically offer better CPMs than the ads available through AdSense.
Higher Fill Rates AdX typically has higher fill rates than AdSense, meaning that more of the available ad inventory is filled with high-quality ads, leading to higher revenue.

It’s worth noting that these factors may not apply to every publisher or every situation. Some publishers may find that AdSense generates more revenue for their particular website and audience. However, for enterprise-level publishers with high-quality inventory, AdX is generally the better choice for maximizing advertising revenue.

Can Google AdSense ever make more money than Google AdX?

While AdX generally generates higher CPMs and fill rates for premium inventory, AdSense can sometimes generate more revenue for smaller publishers.

This is because AdSense is easier to set up and get started with and provides access to a wide range of advertisers. However, for enterprise-level publishers with high-quality traffic, AdX is generally the better choice for maximizing advertising revenue.

The below table shows how getting started with AdX through MonetizeMore is a win-win for publishers:

AdSense vs Ad Exchange: Battle of the Ad Titans - Which Will Reign Supreme? MonitizeMore

Ready to choose between AdX & AdSense?

Google AdX and AdSense are both powerful advertising platforms that offer unique benefits to publishers. While AdX is designed for premium to enterprise-level publishers with high-quality inventory, AdSense is better for smaller publishers just starting. By understanding the differences between these two platforms and how media buyers work with them, publishers can make informed decisions about which platform is right for their needs.

AdSense vs Ad Exchange: Battle of the Ad Titans - Which Will Reign Supreme? MonitizeMore


How to get started with AdX?

To get started with AdX, publishers must meet Google’s eligibility criteria, which include having a high volume of quality traffic, complying with Google’s policies, and having a user-friendly website. Publishers can apply for AdX via Google Ad Manager, which manages ad inventory and serves ads across multiple platforms. If your site is getting millions of pageviews and you already have an existing AdX account manager, you can get more ad revenue shares by negotiating. If they grant you higher revenue shares then it’s a win for you in the long haul.

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