5 Best Programmatic Advertising Platforms for Publishers in 2023

March 30, 2023
April 4, 2023
5 Best Programmatic Advertising Platforms for Publishers in 2023

Programmatic advertising has become the preferred option for savvy publishers worldwide. The market has seen significant growth, with an estimated $271 billion in ad spend expected by 2025 in the US alone. 

Coupled with high-quality ad templates and ad inventory, programmatic ads allow publishers to set themselves up for enhanced user experience and greater user retention. With time, both these metrics translate into greater revenue for publishers.

However, with so many great programmatic ad platforms available today, how does a publisher zero in on the one that is best for them. Our list of picks for the best programmatic ad platforms sets out to answer this very question.

Here are the Best Programmatic Advertising Platforms:

1. Publift

2. Google Ad Manager

3. Adobe Advertising Cloud

4. The Trade Desk

5. Xandr

What Is a Programmatic Advertising Platform?

A programmatic advertising platform leverages technology to enable automated buying, placement, management, and tracking of ads. These platforms process data in real-time, ensuring relevant ad placements and efficient use of budgets.

Programmatic ads are bought and placed using automated software, providing increased distribution and scale at a higher budget. 

By contrast, display ads are manually placed and can be targeted to specific audiences on a closed network. Knowing the differences between programmatic vs display ads will help you choose the right option for your goals.

For several new publishers, digital advertising is often synonymous with Google ads, given Google’s long dominance of the digital advertising landscape. The truth however is that programmatic advertising is more than just the Google Display Network (GDN). 

When considering programmatic vs Google Ads, it’s important to consider the fact that a good programmatic ad network will allow publishers to access multiple ad exchanges, and ad networks, including the GDN itself.

How Does a Programmatic Advertising Platform Work?

How Does a Programmatic Advertising Platform Work?

Programmatic advertising works by allowing digital advertisers to buy and sell ad inventory from publishers using software and algorithms. 

Advertisers and publishers use programmatic platforms to purchase targeted ad space, manage campaigns, and optimize ad buying using data. 

The best programmatic platforms provide publishers and advertisers access to multiple ad networks, enabling scalable and flexible advertising, improving inventory management, and cross-channel programmatic campaigns.

Things change fast in the digital marketing landscape, and it's crucial to keep up with the latest programmatic advertising trends to stay on top. 

New targeting techniques like contextual targeting and first-party data are needed as traditional methods like cookies and third-party data solutions are phased out. Voice-activated ads are expected to surge in popularity, providing a unique opportunity for targeted ads through voice assistants.

Benefits of Using Programmatic Advertising Platform 

Here are some of the key benefits of using a programmatic advertising platform:

1. Increased Efficiency 

Since programmatic advertising is algorithm-driven, it results in a more efficient optimization of ad inventory compared to manual ad allocation. This means three things—less unsold inventory, better rates for publishers due to increased bidding, and more relevant and contextual ads.

This reflects in the increasing allocation of programmatic ad spend in global digital advertising budgets. In 2022, programmatic advertising comprised 84% of the average ad spend worldwide. By 2027, this share is expected to go up to 87%.

2. Improved Targeting Capabilities 

Programmatic ad platforms enable customers to serve up ads that more closely match the interests of their audiences through the use of dynamic creative optimization (DCO). DCO uses multivariate testing to assemble ad components such as backgrounds, text, images, etc. according to the need of the impression. The result is better targeting and increased revenue. 

For instance, the Swedish rental car business Hertz experienced a 215% surge in display revenue compared to traditional static creative campaigns when they used DCO. 

3. Greater Control Over Campaigns 

Programmatic ad platforms offer a smart and convenient solution for businesses to effectively manage their advertising campaigns. They provide real-time analytics and valuable insights into the performance of ads, including impressions, clicks, and conversions. 

This allows businesses to make on-the-spot improvements, optimizing their campaigns and lowering costs without tedious manual monitoring.

Brands enjoy increased control over their advertising efforts using programmatic platforms, as they can easily track their success through essential metrics. These platforms grant access to various ad networks and the opportunity to collaborate with an independent ad platform. 

4. Improved ROI 

Advertisers allocate resources to their marketing campaigns while publishers invest significant resources in building platforms that attract viewers. Programmatic advertising ensures each side attains the best return on its investment.

Programmatic advertising works to provide insights based on data, allowing publishers to optimize their returns on investment. By leveraging programmatic ad platforms, publishers can quickly identify the most effective ads and make informed decisions to allocate resources and improve underperforming ones.

All in all, publishers stand to make significant gains from the programmatic advertising process as it is the smartest solution available right now to match the inventory of a supply side platform with the demand of a demand side platform dynamically, in real time, and keeping the requirements of the end user in mind. 

Best Programmatic Advertising Platforms for Publishers

Here is a collection of the top-rated options available today:

1. Publift


Publift is a leading programmatic advertising provider and a Google Certified Publishing Partner that specializes in ad technology, setup strategy, and optimization. With its access to premium demand sources, real-time bidding (RTB) optimization, and data-driven yield management, Publift can help drive a significant 55% increase in publisher revenue.

Publift also provides comprehensive reporting and analytics tools that enable publishers to track the performance of their campaigns and make informed decisions about how best to optimize them. 

Publift has won numerous accolades over the years, including The Drum APAC Best Sell-Side Technology for Programmatic Trading in October 2019, recognition by Deloitte Technology Fast 50, and the Google Certified Publishing Partner Transformer Award. Publift's innovative custom solutions and exceptional customer service have earned it a stellar reputation among publishers seeking an effective programmatic advertising solution.

Book a demo today to see how Publift can help increase your revenue.

Key Features

  • All-in-one adtech solution for publishers
  • Utilizes latest programmatic monetization technologies like header bidding and Google Exchange Bidding
  • Facilitates private marketplace deal management and provides access to exclusive PMP deals
  • Automated reporting platform offers revenue and granular data in one dashboard
  • Provides ad layout optimization services for each site
  • Has established partnerships and networks for maximum results
  • GCPP certified with no-lock-in contracts, customer support, and high-quality ads.


  • At least $2,000 in monthly earnings
  • More than 500,000 monthly pageviews
  • Quality content that is not plagiarized, explicit, or derogatory


  • Custom plans tailored to fit different budgets and needs

Supported Ad Inventory

  • Display ads
  • Video ads
  • Mobile ads
  • Native ads
  • Audio ads
  • Social media ads

Audience Targeting

  • Target users based on location, age, gender, and device type
  • Create custom audiences using behavior and interest data
  • Retarget users who have engaged with previous ads
  • Utilize third-party data for precise audience targeting

Anti-fraud/Safety Measures:

  • Offers page screening for detecting faulty inventory
  • Pre-bid filtering for detecting fraud, suboptimal viewability, and brand violation
  • Ensures compliance with industry standards.

2. Google Ad Manager

Google Ad Manager

Google Ad Manager is a programmatic advertising platform targeted at large publishers who generate significant traffic and revenue. It equips publishers with advanced tools to manage and optimize ad revenue. Advertisers can bid in real-time for prime ad spaces, while publishers can maximize their ad inventory and target audiences with precision.

The Google ad exchange platform also features automated optimization and dynamic allocation, enabling advertisers to adjust campaigns based on performance indicators like cost per action or click, and publishers to efficiently distribute ad spaces to different demand sources. 

This comprehensive platform offers unified pricing rules, allowing publishers to set bidding parameters for interested buyers and maximize their return on ad impressions.

Key features

  • Programmatic ad solution for publishers
  • Complete ad revenue engine
  • Manage multiple Google digital ads client accounts
  • Access to real-time reporting of audience data
  • Automated optimization based on performance metrics
  • Dynamic allocation to maximize yield
  • Unified pricing rules for inventory or header bidding


  • Have a Google account and active AdSense account
  • Meet $100 minimum balance requirement for monthly payments
  • Meet extra requirements for using Display & Video 360, including an active website with quality content and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.


  • Customizable pricing rules based on CPM, CPC, CPA models and unified pricing rules
  • Comes in two versions—Google Ad Manager, which is free and Google Ad Manager 360 which is paid

Supported Ad Inventory

  • Websites
  • Mobile apps
  • Video content
  • Games
  • Connected TVs and streaming devices
  • Audio content.

Audience Targeting

  • Reach specific audiences based on interests, demographics, and location
  • Use advanced reporting to optimize campaigns
  • Features include automated bidding, DCO, and cross-device tracking

Anti-Fraud/Safety Measures

  • Page screening for detecting faulty inventory
  • Pre-bid filtering for detecting fraud, suboptimal viewability, and brand violation
  • Industry-standard compliance.

3. Adobe Advertising Cloud

Adobe Advertising Cloud

Adobe Advertising Cloud is a part of Adobe’s larger Adobe Experience Cloud suite of services which also contains the Adobe Marketing Cloud and the Adobe Analytics Cloud. It serves as an all-in-one ad exchange platform that empowers businesses to efficiently connect with their target audience through diverse ad formats. This user-friendly platform streamlines ad campaign management and offers advanced tools for optimizing performance and monitoring results.

This platform supports a wide range of programmatic ads across various channels, including display, video, mobile, search, and social media. Its real-time analytics enables users to swiftly adjust bids and budgets, ensuring the highest return on investment.

Adobe Advertising Cloud seamlessly integrates with other Adobe products like Analytics, Target, and Adobe Audience Manager—Adobe’s data management platform (DMP). This enables it to provide a complete picture of customer behavior and preferences. This ultimately enhances data-driven marketing strategies and boosts ad performance.

Key Features

  • All-in-one solution for multi-channel campaign management
  • Advanced audience targeting, segmentation, and bidding features
  • Real-time analytics and reporting for performance insights
  • Detailed reporting on user engagement and metrics


  • Register and provide basic business information on Adobe Advertising Cloud platform.
  • Submit identity and ownership documents.
  • Create campaign strategy with targeting criteria, budget, and creative ideas.
  • Get campaign strategy approved by Adobe's team of experts.


  • Pay-as-you-go model for small businesses
  • Enterprise plans with additional features and support for larger businesses

Supported Ad Inventory

  • Traditional display ads
  • Video ads
  • Audio ads
  • Mobile ads 
  • Native ads

Audience Targeting

  • Target based on demographics, interests, and behaviors
  • Create custom segments using multiple data sources
  • Leverage third-party data providers for accurate targeting
  • Use predictive analytics to identify ideal audiences
  • Target users across multiple platforms and devices

Anti-fraud/Safety Measures

  • Fraud prevention measures to reduce financial risk
  • Defense-in-depth approach and security procedures
  • Brand safety tools to avoid suspicious impressions and poor ad placement
  • Data encryption solutions
  • Appropriate administrative, technical, and physical security controls

4. The Trade Desk

The Trade Desk

The Trade Desk is a programmatic advertising ad exchange platform that is considered among the largest demand side platforms in the world. It offers a range of features to enhance audience targeting and manage omnichannel ad campaigns. It provides access to real-time bidding (RTB), private marketplaces, geo-targeting, budget management, and more. Additionally, The Trade Desk offers a data marketplace that allows advertisers to access high-quality audience data to improve their targeting.

The platform also focuses on ad inventory quality and provides publishers with comprehensive reporting features to analyze their campaigns. The reporting metrics include cost per impression (CPM), cost per click (CPC), cost per acquisition (CPA), return on investment (ROI), and more.

The Trade Desk also uses digital ad ratings (DAR) from Nielsen to provide deduplicated audience measurement metrics for both online video and display campaigns, enabling publishers to optimize their campaigns and maximize their ROI across multiple channels.

Key Features

  • Real-time programmatic marketing automation
  • Data and value-added services
  • Self-service, cloud-based platform for creating, managing, and optimizing digital advertising campaigns
  • Ability to target new customers and engage existing customers with more relevant ads


  • Have an account with The Trade Desk
  • Set up campaign objectives and goals
  • Create ad creatives that meet the platform’s requirements
  • Select target audience and set budget
  • Choose from various buying options such as CPM, CPC, or CPA


  • Pay-as-you-go model with no long-term commitments or minimums
  • Flat fee pricing for larger campaigns
  • Volume discounts for high volume buyers
  • Customized pricing plans for enterprise clients

Supported Ad Inventory

  • Display ads
  • Video ads
  • Audio ads
  • Mobile apps

Audience Targeting

  • Real-time targeting based on user identity and device information
  • Personalized ad experiences for each customer
  • Insights into customer behavior and preferences from multiple data sources
  • Targeting of high-converting audiences for maximum ROI
  • Advanced analytics and reporting for performance measurement and strategy refinement

Anti-fraud/Safety Measures

  • Pre-bid fraud detection to screen out suspicious inventory
  • Post-bid fraud detection to identify fraudulent impressions
  • Brand safety measures, like keyword blocking and contextual analysis, to ensure ads appear in appropriate environments.

5. Xandr


Xandr, a Microsoft-owned programmatic ad exchange platform, specializes in streamlining the buying and selling of digital advertising. This highly adaptable platform is loved by both advertisers and publishers for its impressive blend of automated technology, data, and identity solutions that prove valuable for businesses looking to engage target audiences across various screens.

What sets Xandr apart is its robust audience analysis tools that grant publishers key insights into their audience's interests and preferences and its focus on video ads. By leveraging these insights, publishers can effectively tailor their ad campaigns to connect with their target audience while simultaneously maximizing their returns on investment. 

Key Features

  • End-to-end platform for scalable programmatic campaigns
  • Automated ad inventory buying
  • Global premium advertising marketplace
  • Variety of ad formats including connected TV, mobile, video, audio and display
  • Comprehensive analytics to measure campaign performance


  • Creative formats must be approved based on specs guidelines.
  • Adhere to Xandr's Advertising Terms & Conditions
  • Set up a Network-level Ad Quality Profile
  • Political advertising is permitted in the US but requires additional information such as state and local regulations


  • Pay-per-impression (CPM)
  • Cost per click (CPC)
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA)
  • Pay a fixed fee for an agreed upon number of impressions or clicks.

Supported Ad Inventory

  • Banner ads
  • Video ads
  • Mobile ads
  • Privacy and function macros
  • Third-party providers
  • Ads.txt and app-ads.txt initiatives.

Audience Targeting

  • Targeting by demographics, such as age, gender, and location
  • Target specific interests and behaviors
  • Target users based on their device type or operating system
  • Target users who have interacted with an advertiser's website or app
  • Create custom audiences and retarget them with ads

Anti-fraud/Safety Measures

  • Privacy policies that deter malicious and illegal activity.
  • Content policies that prohibit objectionable content.
  • Partnered with clean.io to prevent malvertising and offer clean experiences for consumers.

Final Thoughts

Programmatic ad exchanges are fast replacing traditional advertising on the internet and for good reason.They provide more efficient inventory utilization and at a lower cost as compared to traditional advertising platforms.

Publift is a programmatic ad platform that has been helping publishers maximize their revenue since 2015. Get in touch with us to know how we can help you make the most of your app or website inventory. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does a Programmatic Ad Platform Work?

A programmatic ad platform works by allowing advertisers to dynamically bid on publisher inventory in real time. Publishers benefit from the process by having less unsold inventory and getting better rates due to higher competition. Advertisers benefit by getting access to higher quality and more relevant inventory.

How Much Do Programmatic Advertising Platforms Cost?

The cost of programmatic advertising depends on factors such as niche, device targeted, ad placement, and ad format. However, programmatic advertising platforms tend to be cheaper than social media advertising in general.

Why Is Programmatic Advertising Important for Publishers?

Programmatic advertising streamlines the buying and selling of digital ad space for publishers, enabling effective targeting and on-the-fly campaign adjustments. This approach leads to higher revenue possibilities, focused targeting, and improved ad placement, resulting in better audience engagement.

What Is the Best Programmatic Advertising Platform?

The best programmatic advertising platform is the one that best fits your business needs. A platform like Publift is great for publishers who already have some traction with their audience, receive a respectable number of visitors to their website, and generate decent revenue. Others like Google AdSense are great for rank beginners who are just starting out on their publishing journey.

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