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What’s the Difference Between Google AdSense and DoubleClick AdExchange?

Sovrn Publisher Advocate // December 2, 2016

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Google AdSense and DoubleClick AdExchange are both ad placement services owned and operated by Google. So how are they different?

As many of you may already know, Google AdSense is a free advertisement placement service run by Google. It is used by a wide variety of publishers, but is best suited for long- to mid-tail sites.

Google AdExchange, or AdEx, is a programmatic real-time bidding exchange that was designed to help premium publishers sell their inventory to big brand advertisers. It is ideal for large sites that sell their advertising inventory directly.

There are a few key differences between AdSense and AdEx.

  1. AdSense allows three ad units per page, while AdEx allows five.
  2. AdEx allows publishers to set up Preferred Deals and PMPs, which are advertising deals with fixed CPM price floors. AdSense does not.
  3. AdEx also allows for more filtering, including URL blocking, category blocking, and creative review, which allows publishers to approve or disapprove ads from advertisers.

And as a heads-up, If you’re using DFP, or DoubleClick for Publishers, Google’s ad management platform, you will still have to request access to AdExchange. Neither DFP Small Business nor DFP Premium automatically include AdX.

But, if your site is big enough to be approved by Google for DFP Premium, then you will probably want to sign up for Google AdX.

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.

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