How Ad Network and Affiliate Network are different

When looking for the revenue, publishers have different options what to connect to. They can either turn to affiliate market or enter into direct relationships. Since both notions – advertising and affiliate network – appear in the same context, there is the need to clarify their distinction.

What does an affiliate network do?

Affiliate marketing is part of performance-based marketing, where affiliate network is a link. It connects brands with publishers and gets the commission.

Affiliate networks give:

  • for brands: tracking and reporting, running payments and access to publishers,
  • for publishers: access to affiliate programs, reporting and payment processes.

Ad networks can play the role of either affiliates or affiliate networks on the affiliate market.

What does an ad network do?

Ad networks connect brands and publishers for the specific purpose of placing ads onto the websites. They match the supply and the demand sides.

Advertising networks have to maintain direct business relation with publishers and brands, whereas affiliates don’t.

Need a structured comparison?

Ad NetworkAffiliate Network
Pricing types:

CPM / CPC

Pricing types:

CPA

CPC+CPL

CPL+CPS

Delivers banner and text adsBanner and text ads plus SMM, SEO, email marketing and other channels
Runs ads via its SDKRequires no SDK, provides publishers with the tools for cross-channeling
 Small control over campaigns launch Strong control over the inventory
Campaigns are run with a specific budget to test the idea and learn the result Campaigns are run on the regular basis

What’s the conclusion?

If you’re oriented at post-click KPIs, CPA in particular, then it’s reasonable to turn to affiliate networks. Affiliate networks eventually access inventory through ad networks. Thanks to code installation on the websites and in mobile apps, ad networks are in direct contact with publishers. So when the marketers come with campaign offers, ad networks can operate with any KPIs.

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