What Is An Ad Network And How To Test It?

AD Network

Being a web user, you surely have observed different ads popping up on web and mobile apps and games. Have you ever wondered why and how these ads appear automatically? Have you ever tried to figure out how diverse the ads appear to be and how you can conduct Ad Testing? We have got the answers to all of your questions, let the journey begin.

First of all, let’s have a look at what an ad network really is.

An online Ad Network or Advertising Network is an organization that connects the advertisers to mobile apps and websites that has to host their advertisements.

There are two roles here:

  1. Advertiser
  2. Publisher

The advertiser asks the publisher to publish an advertisement within the application or on the website. The publisher asks for the type and details of the ad that the advertiser wants to have published. Advertiser provides what is demanded and publisher sets the ad accordingly. You see those ads either on a web site while buying something online or in a game you play sitting on your sofa.

Let’s figure out what elements are connected with an Ad and Ad Network.

Ad Request:

Ad request is an advertisement requested against a user’s action on some site or app.

Ad Impression:

When user does a certain action, a request to the ad network is made to send an ad on the user’s device. Note that clicking on the ad is not counted at this time. This ad fetching is called ad impression.

Ad Fill Rate:

The percentage of ad page loads that are filled by display ads is called fill rate and is calculated as:

Fill Rate = number of delivered ads / number of ad requests

Fill rate can’t be 100% because of poor network, ad timeout and if the user has left the page/screen already.

Ad Clicks:

Interaction of a user with an on screen ad is called ad click. Clicking an ad navigates the user to a certain page or application. It’s up to the user what he/she takes from there.

Ad Click-Through-Ratio (CTR):

CTR is ratio of number of clicks on ad with total number of ad shown. It is expressed as a percentage.

CTR = (Clicks/Impressions) * 100

Let’s move to the testing part now. The question is what is there for you to test in an ad network?

Consider you have an ad network, ads to show, and a live application. Make sure that the ad you want to appear is configured against some app/game and its directives are properly added on ad network. Things you need to keep in mind while testing ads are as below:


Since you can set multiple ads against user’s single action on a site or app, you have to priorities your ads to appear in some order. In case of a single ad you don’t need to set any priority. Testing the ads based on priority can be quite tricky some times.

Region Based:

You can restrict some ads to appear only in some specific regions. Reasons could vary why you want it but you can filter your ads region wise as well. Testing would include some simple scenarios to check with single and multiple ads in same and/or different regions.

Multiple Paths:

Your site or application may have multiple ways to reach at same point. For example in an application, you can reach Home on app launch or from selection screen and so on. So if you have to test the ad on Home, You would have to test it from all paths.

Failover Ads:

You must have a backup plan in case plan A does not work. This is what Ad Networks usually follow. Set an ad as an else part when if condition is not working. For example, if you have set Ad A on a particular screen, you definitely have set the Ad B if Ad A doesn’t appear. Testing of failover is also an important part of the ad testing.

Ad Redirection:

An ad is a promotion of some app, game or site. So when you click on an ad, it’s more likely to be navigated to some other website from where you can download the app/game or browse the site. So this click logs, your app/games install logs are being sent to database and you have to verify them as well.

So now you are familiar with the basic concept of Ad Testing. If you ever come across with an Ad Network just keep in mind the above points and design your test cases accordingly. Test cases should be detail oriented otherwise you are most likely to miss out the failed case. First you have to test the simple cases then try out the combinations of Cross Promotion Campaigns with setting up regions and failovers.

Happy Ad Testing!