What is a Publisher? How do they make money?

A publisher is someone who provides the platform to advertisers for running ads. Hence, a publisher could be a website or an application.

To app developers and advertising agencies, publishers offer space on their websites. A publisher can communicate the advertiser’s message to the target audience.

Publishers are crucial to the digital advertising ecosystem. They have the inventory that advertisers need to reach their target audience.

Publishers make money by charging advertisers for the ad space they provide. They use various pricing models to charge advertisers. The main goal of the publisher is to monetize their traffic by selling ad space to advertisers.

What Is A Publisher? 

What is the role of a publisher?

Publishers work with ad networks, and ad exchanges to fill their ad inventory. Ad networks and exchanges act as mediators between publishers and advertisers.

They help publishers find advertisers to fill their ad inventory.  Demand-side platforms (DSPs)  allow advertisers to buy ad inventory from publishers.

Publishers must ensure the ads displayed on their websites are relevant to the users. They show follow various regulations related to data privacy and security. Publisher provides inventory that advertisers need to reach their target audience.

What distinguishes a publisher from an advertiser?

An advertiser can be a business that is ready to provide its app services to a large audience via ads. A publisher is a person in charge of the ads and the traffic provider.

Publishers are sellers while advertisers are buyers of ad space. Both publishing and advertising jobs can serve concurrently.

An online store running its own ad campaigns while hosting affiliate marketing links. It can be an example of both an advertiser and a publisher.

What distinguishes a publisher from a network?

A publisher is someone who gets paid by advertisers for displaying their ads. The main motive of a publisher is to promote their items through advertising, to earn income.

The network comes into the picture as an intermediary for publishers and advertisers. To connect developers with potential publishers they rely on ad networks.

They may also offer a range of services to help publishers to monetize their apps through ads.

How Do Publishers Make Money?

Advertisers pay publishers for displaying their ads on their websites or app. Here’s a breakdown of some pricing models.

How Do Publishers Make Money?

1. Cost Per Action(CPA)

Publishers can earn money whenever a user takes a specific action on the advertiser’s app. The actions are such as buying an item or filling out a form. CPA is a performance-based model. This shows that the publisher only earns only if the user completes the specific action.

2. Cost Per Install(CPI)

Paying publishers when a user installs the advertiser’s app through the publisher’s website. The publisher earns a commission for each successful installation of the app. This model can help app developers to gain new users.

3. Cost Per Click(CPC)

Paying publishers when a user clicks on an advertiser’s ad displayed on their website or app. CPC is a common model used in search engine advertising and social media advertising.

4. Cost Per Mille(CPM)

This model pays publishers for every 1000 impressions served on their website or app. Ad impression counts every time when an ad displays to a user, regardless of whether the user clicks on the ad or not. Cost per mille follows the choice model depending on the user.

Publishers generate income from each model varies based on various factors. CPC and CPA models offer higher earnings potential than CPM and CPI models.

As the publisher is only paid when a user takes a specific action or clicks on an ad in CPM and CPI models.

But, CPM and CPI models can earn more, particularly if they have a large and engaged audience.


Ques 1: Is a publisher a developer?

Ans. No, a publisher is not a developer. Developers create mobile apps and publishers sell them. 

Ques 2: Is Google an online publisher?

Ans. Yes, Google is an online publisher.  It allows various ads to appear on our page while exploring the website.

Ques 3: What are the benefits of a publisher?

Ans. The benefits are earning through in-app purchases from mobile applications.

Ques 4: What is the difference between publisher and subscriber?

Ans. A publisher refers to selling ad space to advertisers. While a subscriber receives and uses that content.

Ques 5: Are Facebook publishers?

Ans. Yes, Facebook can be a publisher. As Facebook allows ads to be displayed while posting their own ads.

Mani Pandey
Mani Pandey

Mani Pandey is an app marketing expert with over 5 years of experience in the industry. She has extensive knowledge about App Store Optimization (ASO) and loves to share all her expertise by writing informational content.She is passionate about helping businesses reach their true potential and maximise their ROI. She also loves to travel around the world to explore different cultures and meet new people.