Google Ad Exchange (Adx) vs. Adsense

There has been a massive growth in the ad tech ecosystem and the programmatic advertising sector, thanks to the exponential growth and innovations initiated by major players in the industry. These innovations have given publishers the capability to connect with hundreds and thousands of media buyers across the globe.

One of such innovations is Google Adsense, but it is not the only one but arguably one of the best in the ad network sector for publishers when it comes to monetizing their inventories.

Before we dive into Ad Exchange (Adx) vs Adsense, let's have a look at what each of them entails. But firstly, going through this article, you should expect to get answers to the following?

  • What is an Ad Exchanger?
  • How Google Adx and Adsense came about
  • What exactly are Adx and Adsense
  • How to get started with them
  • Comparison of Adx and Adsense based on: Service provided
  • Comparison of Adx and Adsense based on: Payments
  • Adx vs. Adsense, which is better?

Let’s get straight into it.

What is an Ad Exchange?

Simply put, an Ad exchange is a programmatic marketplace that is a bridge or a link between publishers and advertisers. It facilitates them to trade media via middlemen like Demand-side platforms and supply-side platforms in real-time.

That was easy!!! But how did it come about?

How Google Adx and Adsense came about

It all started with a company, DoubleClick in 1996 as an independent brand that offered ad services. In 2008, it was acquired by Google for $3.1 billion. This was the birth of Google Ad Exchange whose sole purpose was to bring publishers, advertisers, and agencies together so that everyone can get a cut out of the ad industry.

On the other hand, Adsense was released in June of 2003. It grew to become a popular word amongst publishers. This can be attributed to the fact that it is a free service available to publishers to display ads on their websites. Furthermore, Adsense is comparatively easy to use for smaller publishers and medium-sized publishers.

So what exactly are Adx and Adsense? What makes them different from each other?

What exactly are Adsense and Adx?

In simple terms, Adsense can be seen as a self-managed platform for running ads. Once you (publisher) are approved by Adsense, you are given a tag to place on your website. Once this is done, it starts working. However, Adsense tends to benefit advertisers more than the publishers. This might be because Adsense ads are rendered from Google Ads and Adwords, which are designed for low-cost impressions. Also, Adsense does not allow publishers to set a floor price, which implies that they can't utilize the inventory.

On the other hand, Google Adx or Google Ad Exchange is an ad Exchange network (remember what we said about an Ad exchange at the beginning?)

Adx simply brings publishers, advertisers, and agencies together with the primary purpose of providing real-time biddings, auctions, and deals. This brings about healthy competition for the inventory and, in turn, makes good money for the publishers.

How to get started with Adx and Adsense


For Adx, although tricky, there are two major ways to get started with it:

  1. By getting a Google Ad Manager account and getting Google’s approval to access the Adx account
  2. By working directly with a Google-certified publishing partner to get a subsidiary Adx account

Whichever way you are using, note that you need to be a large publisher to be approved. Although there are some requirements, you need to meet to get approved on Google Ad Exchange.

Traffic requirement: To be an Adx partner, your monthly page view must be in the millions. Although there is no defined number, speculation has it that it is around 5 million.

Content-type: there are prohibited contents if you want to be on Adx. Your content should be free from

  • Adult content
  • Provoking sales of weapons
  • Sales of Alcohol and tobacco
  • Health or medical-related info and drug paraphernalia
  • Content that hits on the negative financial status of any person
  • Racial or ethnic promoted contents
  • Contents related to religious beliefs

Language: Some languages are not supported by Google Ad Exchange:

  • Serbian
  • Estonian
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Indonesian
  • Romanian
  • Lithuanian
  • Latvian
  • Croatian

Follow these guidelines, and you are ready to be added to the Adx account.


Getting started with Google Adsense is quite simple. These are the steps:

  • Get a Google account
  • Simply go to the Adsense webpage and click on the sign-in button
  • Submit your website details for approval by Adsense
  • You’d receive an email from Adsense once your website is approved. This is usually in a few days
  • Once approved, you are given an ad tag
  • Copy the ad tags provided by Adsense and place it on your website’s code
  • Your website is all set to display ads

Google Adsense is free, and you don't need to worry about its management. Google Adsense manages everything for you, from the placement of ads to payments.

Comparison of Adx and Adsense (the differences)

Adsense or Adx which is better

The question of which is better can only be answered by you depending on your business budget and expertise. Eventually, Adsense offers room for low budget advertisers and an opportunity for all websites to make a profit from placing ads on their website. This can be done with little or no experience and can be automated.

On the other hand, Adx is more costly and quite complicated and usually requires expert management to make the most out of it. The advantage it has over Adsense is that it has a larger inventory with more control.

Most publishers find Adx better than Adsense for the following reasons:

  • Publishers can set their minimum price for different ads in different positions on your website. This can be helpful for branded and anonymous buyers
  • Adx allows advertisers to offer and negotiate a fixed price privately with advertisers
  • More control for website owners on what ad to display on their website through private auctions
  • Publishers can place different prices for different sections or parts of their websites

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