Securing a Google AdX account is often seen as the next step after using and outgrowing Google AdSense, which is best-suited to smaller publishers in the early stages of their monetization journey. We’ve outlined the main differences between the two in a separate post, but in short, AdSense acts as an ad network and AdX is an ad exchange network.
This article was originally published on Feb 24, 2016 and has since been updated on August 18, 2020.
Why get an AdX account?
It’s easy to understand why websites who rely on ads would want to have an AdX account. AdX, (or the Google Ad Exchange, to give it its full name) has a well-earned reputation as being most profitable source of programmatic ads for websites. The combination of CPM based ads, a larger pool of advertisers, the ability to control minimum prices and the option to use more ad units on page appeals to many.
What’s the catch?
Desirable though an AdX account is, actually obtaining one can often seem like a bit of a challenge. Unlike AdSense and other “small-publisher networks” there is no AdX signup form because AdX is invite-only. So, how exactly does a publisher get into this exclusive club?
Why is AdX invite-only?
The main reason why AdX remains exclusive to those that qualify is that AdX is a solution that is less automated than AdSense and requires extensive knowledge to run efficiently. AdX publishers are given a lot more freedom and this cannot be policed in the same way as AdSense. Whilst AdSense is a large-scale, automated solution, AdX is not as scaled and requires more work on Google’s end. Because of this, it is an exclusive solution to those that meet Google’s minimum requirements, rather than one which any publisher can use.
How to get an AdX account
In June 2018, Google Ad Exchange and DoubleClick for Publishers were consolidated as one product now known as Google Ad Manager. Before this time, the two tools were separate, however, the invite and approval process still remains the same.
Strictly speaking, publishers now need to get access to Google Ad Manager in order to access Google Ad Exchange. There are two ways to do this:
Method 1: Through a Google account manager
Publishers can sign up for their own Google Ad Manager account but direct access to AdX is on an invite-only basis through the discretion of Google account managers. If you have an account manager, an account in good standing and a boatload of traffic you could simply ask. They’ll assess your suitability, looking at areas such as your traffic levels and in-house resource for managing AdX and potentially put you forward for an account.
If you get an account through this channel you get maximum flexibility, as it is your account, but you will be managing it yourself (If you understand the difference between AdSense and AdX you’ll also understand that this isn’t particularly straight forward).
Method 2: Work with a Network Partner Manager
If you don’t have an appointed Google account manager, don’t worry – there is still another way to get access to Google AdX without having your own Google Ad Manager account. Network Partner Managers (NPMs), like OKO, have special Google Ad Manager (GAM) accounts that are approved to work with partner inventory. Through these, we can create sub-accounts for our partners to gain access to Google AdX and allow them to serve ads and earn revenue through those.
This approach opens the doors of AdX to publishers who wouldn’t meet the requirements for having a direct Google Ad Manager account. It also removes the extensive knowledge and learning requirements of having a direct GAM account, as the partner’s AdX account is managed by the Network Partner Manager for them.
The main advantage of working with an NPM is that they will do most of the legwork for you, ensuring that your ad setup is well-optimized and up-to-date. This frees up publishers’ time and allows them to focus on other areas. In OKO’s case, we work on a simple revenue share basis, taking a small cut the revenue we generate through AdX before it reaches the publisher. This works out well for everyone, as the revenue gains from a well-managed account can easily out-perform the revenue share, which often means incremental revenue at no additional cost. What separates OKO from other NPMs is that OKO is also a Google Certified Publishing Partner (GCPP), which means that we have been recognised by Google as experts in the field of ad monetization.
Millions of pageviews and still using AdSense? You could be earning more with OKO. Click here to find out more about how OKO run AdX for a wide range or publishers, or cut to the chase and click here to sign-up or apply right away.
Mat has been supporting content creators on the web since 1996. As Co-founder of OKO Digital, Mat became the first person in the UK qualified to AdSense partner status and repeated this first with Google Certified Publishing Partner programme.