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Ad Exchange Development: Types, Benefits, Features and More

26 Jun 2024

The value chain between advertisers and publishers in regard to media trading has become more complex, inefficient, and unstructured. This is due to the involvement of too many intermediaries in the process of media trading. Here, ad exchange platforms have emerged as centralized hubs. As a single point of contact for ad suppliers and demanders, it simplifies ad space comparison with real-time data, maximizes publishers’ revenue through auctions, and ensures instant impression delivery for sold campaigns.

The demand for more data-driven and automated programmatic advertising has increased the growth and popularity of ad exchange platforms. The constant investment by the AdTech industry in ad exchange platform development is setting new records, with research indicating that the Global Ad Exchange Software Market will reach $814.25 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 21.6%[1].

Want to explore more about programmatic ad exchange before deciding to invest in their development? This blog post covers multiple aspects of this platform, including how it works, key benefits for advertisers and publishers, features, and much more. Let’s explore together.

Table of Contents:

What is an Ad Exchange?

Ad exchange is a programmatic marketplace that enables multiple demand sources (DSPs and ad networks) to compete for ad inventory from multiple supply sources (ad networks and SSPs) through a real-time auction model. The advent of the digital marketplace empowers advertisers and publishers to connect, bid, win, and display ad creatives all from a centralized place.

The impact of an ad exchange platform on real-time bidding fosters automation in buying and selling ad space, monetizing publisher digital platforms, and displaying ads. The majority of ad inventory sold on ad exchange includes video, display, and native ads across the ad exchange. This automated approach leverages data-driven targeting and dynamic pricing, making programmatic ad exchanges efficient and fair.

How Do Ad Exchanges Work?

Ad exchange platform work as the only mediator between advertisers and publishers for ad space buying and selling. So, to get started with how ad exchange work, we need to understand the process flow in two ways:

1) Advertiser – Ad exchange – Publisher
2) Publisher – Ad exchange – Advertiser

How do Ad exchange platform works

For Publishers:

  1. Inventory Registration: Publishers first list out each webpage with available ad space/inventory on the ad exchange.
  2. Impression Assessment: Evaluation of each ad inventory’s potential as a digital impression.
  3. Data Collection Strategy: This step defines the methods for gathering website visitor information, often using cookies.
  4. Bidder Targeting: Utilization of collected data to refine the selection of relevant bidders or advertisers that will be interested in displaying ad creatives.
  5. SSP Integration: Publishers mark their inventory as available through a Supply-Side Platform to attract bidders.

For Advertisers:

  1. Exchange Connection: Advertisers make connections with ad exchanges via their Demand-Side Platform (DSP).
  2. Bid Cap Setting: Programmatic ad exchange offers them the flexibility to choose the maximum cost-per-impression they’re willing to pay against the ad display.
  3. Demand-Supply Matching: The exchange aligns advertiser demand with available impressions.
  4. Bid Request Distribution: Send notifications to the new bidders about available inventory opportunities.
  5. RTB Execution: Advertisers participate in programmatic bids using the Real-Time Bidding model, adhering to auction rules set during SDK integration.

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What are the Types of Ad Exchange Platforms?

There are 3 major types of ad exchange platforms: Open ad exchanges, Private ad exchanges, and Preferred ad exchanges. In this section, we will explore these in-depth, along with other specialized ad exchanges based on the advertising inventories.

  • Open Ad Exchange Platform: As the name suggests, an open ad exchange platform offers an open ground of auction where any buyer and seller can participate. This type of ad exchange platform empowers advertisers to access a wide range of available ad inventory, tapping into a market of vast opportunities to display ads. Open ad exchanges are generally preferred by advertisers who are looking to widen their reach. However, as a downside, this platform does not offer in-depth details of publishers, leads to higher competition, which can result in lower cost per thousand impressions, and raises concerns about ad quality.
  • Private Ad Exchange Platform: This is also known as a Private Marketplace (PMP), which can be considered a VIP section in the programmatic advertising process. Unlike open ad exchange platforms, PMPs provide a more controllable environment for publishers. They empower publishers to choose and invite high-quality and reputable advertisers, demand-side platforms, and ad agencies, and to control pricing, ad formats and types, and defined targeting parameters. Additionally, this type of ad exchange offers more value to publishers in terms of higher CPMs and ensures brand safety. However, a downside is that buyers and sellers can engage in one-to-one deals, which require a lot of effort.
  • Preferred Ad Exchange Platform: In the juggling between open and private ad exchanges, this option offers a middle ground. It is considered the best option as a preferred deal for both publishers who hold premium ad inventory and advertisers who are looking for quality ad placement. Publishers can rely on this option for a stable revenue stream, transparency, greater control over transactions, and room for negotiation.

Specialized Ad Exchange Platforms by Ad Format

We can further categorize them by the advertising format they specialize in. This enables online ad exchanges to focus on particular categories. Here are different ad exchange types based on ad format:

  • Display Ad Exchange: This type of programmatic ad exchange focuses on dealing with display ad format which is the most common and widely used. This generally includes banner ads, text ads, rich media ads, and many more. Google Ad Manager is the best example of a display ad exchange platform.
  • Mobile Ad Exchange: The ad exchange primarily focuses on managing and supplying mobile ad inventory. It is one of the growing markets for ad exchange platforms due to the increasing use of mobile phones and the platform’s ability to facilitate RTB and programmatic buying. Mobile ad exchange formats can include banner ads, video ads, and native ads but tailored for smaller screens.
  • Video Ad Exchange: This type of advertising exchange platform specializes in media trading of video ad inventories. It is one of the highest-engagement ad exchange models, offering various video ad formats, including in-stream, out-stream, and rich media video ads.

Benefits of Ad Exchange Platform Development for Advertisers and Publishers

Adopting and moving forward with the decision of ad exchange development benefits all associated entities and roles during media placement. However, advertisers and publishers benefit the most. Here is a key list of benefits enjoyed by advertisers and publishers.

Benefits of ad exchange platform development

Ad Exchange Platform Development Benefits for Publishers

  • Greater revenue opportunities: Through ad exchanges, publishers connect and tap into the global media trading marketplace, which consists of an extensive range of advertisers. This fosters competition and leads to expanded revenue by potentially increasing CPMs in the race of real-time auctions. Additionally, ad exchanges help publishers ensure a high fill rate of unsold inventory, minimizing leftovers and maximizing revenue opportunities at every step.
  • Effective inventory management: Ad exchange platforms offer publishers the ability to set a minimum price range for their ad inventory, known as a pricing floor or price per impression (PPI). This feature ensures that ads will be sold at or above the defined bid, allowing publishers better control over inventory value. Alongside the control over ad placement through the ad exchange platform, publishers can decide where ads will be displayed on their digital platforms, including the type of ad, format, size, and more. Forecasting tools such as historical data analysis, demand prediction, and others help plan ad inventory more effectively than ever, minimizing the ratio of overselling or underselling ad space.
  • Data-driven insights: Real-time data collection from various sources like ad servers, demand-side platforms, ad networks, and supply-side platforms empowers publishers to collect, process, and gain insightful information on ad performance, ad management, impression rates, revenue generation, fill rates, and much more. Information on the audience allows them to understand their targeted audience on a granular level. Overall, the capabilities of advertising exchange platforms unlock the path to being more data-driven and decisive, maximizing revenue, and being extremely competitive for publishers.
  • Reduced the risk of ad fraud: Recent reports estimate mobile app install fraud to be greater than $2 billion in 2023 across both Android and iOS devices[2]. This necessitates the importance of robust anti-fraud measures in ad exchanges. Custom ad exchange development employs a range of fraud detection and mitigation technologies and follows industry standards such as (Media Rating Council) MRC Accreditation, (Trustworthy Accountability Group) TAG Certification, (Authorized Digital Sellers) Ads.txt, and others. This allows the platform to easily identify and prevent fraudulent ads on behalf of publishers. It removes invalid ad impressions and clicks, maintaining the digital platform’s reputation among advertisers for ongoing revenue generation.

Ad Exchange Platform Development Benefits for Advertisers

  • Increased reach and inventory access: Ad exchange for advertisers opens doors to connect with publishers across the globe and look into the multiple available ad inventories that belong to different websites, mobile apps, or any digital platform. This helps them to reach a wider and more diverse audience segment.
  • Precise targeting: By aggregating advertising inventory through the ad exchange marketplace, advertisers can leverage targeting capabilities powered by data science development services like machine learning and predictive analytics. They can focus more on targeting and creating audience segments such as demographic targeting, geographic targeting, behavioral targeting, contextual targeting, device targeting, remarketing, and time- and location-based targeting.
  • Effective campaign management: For the overall management and optimization of ad campaigns, an ad exchange platform is an ideal programmatic ad solution. Advertisers can set bid strategies based on factors such as campaign goals, target audience, budget, and more. Machine learning capabilities integrated into the ad exchange analyze campaign performance and automatically adjust bids to maximize the potential conversion rate. Automated budget pacing for weekly, monthly, or yearly periods, dynamic budget allocation, audience, creative, and placement optimization further help improve the performance of their ads.
  • Access to premium ad inventory: An opportunity for advertisers to grow their audience faster and achieve prompt results, advertising exchange platforms facilitate access to premium ad inventory. Integrating an RTB platform in ad exchange enables advertisers to compete in auctions for multiple premium inventories to secure high-value ad placements more efficiently and in an automated manner. This advantages advertisers in many ways, including reaching high-quality, engaged audiences, improving campaign performance, and strengthening brand awareness.

Features of an Ad Exchange Platform

Real-time Bidding: The ad exchange platform facilitates real-time bidding, which serves as the main engine driving the ad placement procedure. AI in programmatic advertising automates the end-to-end ad buying and selling process. It is built with RTB protocols for standardization in communication and bidding algorithms for bid management and optimization. This automates media trading and fills ad space in real-time.

Reporting and Analytics: Almost all AdTech solution providers use big data and data warehouses for collecting and storing data, utilize SQL databases for data processing, and employ data analytics services and data visualization to represent data in visual formats that are easy to understand and analyze. This is how the features of ad exchanges offer insights into various aspects of media transactions, such as campaign performance, audience engagement, etc.

Integration and Partnership: This feature of ad exchange platform development offers seamless integration of various tech-enabled platforms, including data management systems, ad servers, and other ecosystem solutions that strengthen the capabilities of ad exchanges.

Support Multi-ad Formats: The ability to support multiple ad formats is one of the key features of an ad exchange platform. This helps advertisers and publishers with their diverse needs. These formats include display ads, video ads, native ads, programmatic CTV ads, mobile-optimized ads, and more. It benefits publishers & advertisers to deliver a better user experience, creative optimization, and cross-device compatibility.

Ad Blocking and Filtering: With the ad exchange solution, ad blocking and filtering features enable ad blocking through ad reinsertion, format optimization, whitelisting, and user interaction. It also prioritizes ad filtering and ensures brand safety through content verification, contextual targeting, ad creative verification, and fraud detection for a balanced ecosystem.

Why Choose Rishabh Software for Custom Ad Exchange Platform Development?

We at Rishabh Software are empowering the AdTech industry with our comprehensive suite of AdTech development services. As a value-driven AdTech partner, we are well-versed in strategizing, building, and integrating custom ad exchange platforms into the media trading processes. Our AdTech experts bring practice-proven experience to employ the latest technologies and best practices to deliver highly scalable, flexible, and customizable ad exchange solutions.

As a leading technology enabler, we understand the importance of building connections between real-time bidding platforms and ad servers to achieve better audience targeting, maximize yield optimization, enhance operational efficiency, and gain control over your ad inventory. We specialize in architecting and customizing DSPs, SSPs, DMPs, ad exchanges, and private marketplaces.

Success Story: Real-Time Bidding Platform Development to Redefine Ad Exchange Process

As a leading custom AdTech development company, we assisted a UK-based global advertising enterprise with Real-Time Bidding (RTB) ad exchange platform development to monetize their digital inventory & maximize efficiency. The solution helped the client achieve seamless ad exchange between multiple data sources and amplify the advertising capabilities.

RTB platform development for the Ad business


  • Limited audience targeting capability in existing platforms
  • Inefficient monetization of digital media assets
  • Lack of OpenRTB standards creates difficulties in responding to dynamic market demands
  • Revenue loss in ad exchange marketplaces without integration of real-time ad placement
  • Inefficient campaign tracking and monitoring


We developed an OpenRTB-based ad exchange solution with three core components: the Product Adapter fetches inventory from SSPs, the Trading Engine optimizes listings and manages auction data, and the Auction Stream sends bid requests to DSPs and determines winners. Our data team aggregates Exchange Supply and Demand Messages in a data lake for detailed reporting by SSP interfaces.


  • 30M+ digital auctions in <30 minutes
  • 50% latency reduction, faster execution
  • 100% ad asset utilization via precise geo-targeting

Read more about how we facilitated seamless ad exchange by integrating a real-time bidding platform.

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Our AdTech developers have hands-on experience in developing ad exchange platforms and are well-versed in integrating AI capabilities to streamline processes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How to choose the right ad exchange platform?

A: While choosing an ad exchange platform, here are the key areas you should consider:

  • Make sure the platform provides accurate and clear information on ad placements.
  • Look for a user-friendly interface that simplifies the entire management cycle.
  • Opt for an ad exchange platform that offers ongoing support services.
  • Prioritize tools that offer tracking and optimization features.
  • Look for advanced targeting features and capabilities in the ad exchange for better results.
  • Ensure it works with your existing ad tech stack and ecosystem.

Q: What is the difference between an ad exchange and an ad network?

A: Ad networks and ad exchanges are both platforms utilized to streamline ad buying and selling workflows. However, they operate in completely different manners.

  • Ad exchange is a marketplace that directly connects advertisers and publishers, ensuring ad inventory is sold bias-free through a real-time bidding platform. It offers more transparency and dynamic pricing, which allows for highly targeted ad buying.
  • On the other hand, an ad network acts as a middleman. It first buys ads from publishers and then resells them to advertisers or ad agencies using a fixed pricing model. It offers less transparency compared to ad exchanges and provides less control over ad inventory to both publishers and advertisers.

Q: What are the examples of Ad Exchange platforms?

A: Here is the list of top ad exchange platforms:

  • Google Ad Exchange (AdX)
  • OpenX
  • AppNexus
  • MediaMath
  • PubMatic