What is an Ad Serving Platform?
Banners are a lot like cars, they may look similar on the outside, but it’s a whole different story when you look under the hood. Firstly, and most importantly, before you can build beautifully animated HTML5 units, or slick video units, your production team will need to know what ad server you are working with. This is because the base code that supports your banner, and slots into any programmatic or dynamic system you might be deploying, can be very different depending on whether you are working with a google ad server (DCM or Studio) or an Amazon ad server (Sizmek). Getting that base code right at the start can be the difference between an ad that slots seamlessly into a website and a banner that is glitchy and/or doesn’t appear at all.
But what is an ad server? An Ad server is the intermediary that stores information about your ads and eventually delivers them to one or more web sites for display to the end user. They also track ad displays, and clicks or what we call ‘click throughs’ – a metric that is usually very close to any brands beating, digital heart. Finally, ad servers are usually responsible for generating some kind of statistical report that can help you monitor how your digital campaigns are performing out in the wild.
How does an ad serving platform effect business?
Determining which ad server to use will depend on your targeting requirements, the brands advertising preferences and is often times due to a pre-existing relationship.
An example set of criteria any brand might be looking for in an ad server is:
- Deliver guaranteed impressions, where a publisher has promised a certain number of clicks or views over a particular time period.
- Offering specific optimization algorithms which can predict expected performance based on past performance metrics.
When targeting ads or evaluating bids, the ad server must take into account many considerations such as:
- Advertiser parameters, for example, site lists, time of day, geography, or browser type.
- User data, which is information about a consumer’s past web behaviors or demographic collected by the advertiser, a data company, or the publisher.
- Frequency and recency, which means limiting how often someone sees a particular ad.
- Publisher parameters, for example, constraints about which types of advertisers or ads a publisher will allow on its site.¹