Ad networks are sometimes at a loss for words with ad exchanges, that are similar but have some key differences. The basic difference is that ad networks are companies that mixture a bunch of ad stock open spaces on internet sites to place ads and sell it in slices at fixed prices, often in response to viewers segments. Ad exchanges on the other hand are generation systems that sell particular person impressions in line with bids obtained via an online public sale. Ad exchanges allow for more automation and bidding occurs in real time.
For that reason, you may hear the term “programmatic” for ad stock purchases through exchanges.