What is the difference between Google AdSense & DoubleClick AdEx?

Last Updated January 3, 2019

Google AdSense and DoubleClick AdExchange are both ad placement services run by Google. However, they have several crucial differences.

Google AdSense is a free advertisement placement service that is used by a wide variety of publishers. It is most often used by a website of any sized traffic.

Google AdExchange, or AdEx, is a programmatic real-time bidding exchange designed to help large-traffic, premium publishers sell their inventory to brand advertisers. It is ideal for large sites that sell their advertising inventory directly and indirectly with larger monthly inventory volumes.

Here are a few other key differences between AdSense and AdEx:

  • AdSense exposes your site’s inventory to the largest aggregate demand channel in the world, but AdEx allows publishers to also connect with specific buyers, ad agencies and brands directly.
  • AdEx allows publishers to set up Private Market Auction and Preferred Deals via their Private Marketplace (PMP) modules, which are advertising deals with fixed CPM price floors. AdSense does not.
  • AdSense offers basic ad inventory selling and reporting features, while AdEx offers more granular bid analytics features.
  • AdEx also allows for more filtering, including URL blocking, category blocking, and creative review, which allows publishers to approve or disapprove ads from advertisers. AdSense allows three ad zones per page, while AdEx allows five.

If you’re using DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP), Google’s ad management platform, you will still have to request access to AdExchange granted that you meet the minimum pageview requirements, typically around 90 million pageviews per month. Neither DFP Small Business nor DFP Premium automatically include AdX. But if your site has enough traffic to be approved by Google for DFP Premium, then you will probably want to or will be invited to sign up for Google AdEX.

One important thing to note is that as a publisher, it is in your best interest to use multiple ad exchanges, whether you are using AdSense or AdExchange. Solely relying on a single demand channel, no matter how robust can actually put you at a disadvantage revenue and yield wise.

If you have any further questions about the difference between AdSense and AdEx, get help and support in the DoubleClick for Publishers Help Center.

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