> Ad Server Information?
Ad Server Information
What is an Ad Server?
An Ad Server is a web based tool used by publishers,
networks and advertiser to help with ad management,
campaign management and ad trafficking. An ad server
also provides reporting on which ads served on the website.
Finally an ad server serves the creative: this means
that the ad server or ad serving company also delivers
the advertising image or picture to each user's browser.
What are the other names for an ad server?
Ad Servers are also called Ad Management Platforms,
Campaign Management platforms, Ad Serving Systems, Ad
Platforms, Ad Tracking Systems, Advertiser management
systems, Mobile Ad Servers, Video Ad servers, Click
Tracking Systems, Ad Network Optimization Systems, Yield
Management Platforms, Affiliate Tracking Systems and
How is an Ad Server different from an Ad Network?
An Ad Network is a company that works with
a group of Web sites and sells advertising for them.
An ad network may sell ads for a certain type of sites
like travel sites or it may sell ads for many different
types of websites. An ad network sells advertising to
advertisers while an ad sever is a technology that publishers
and advertisers use. Ad networks also use an ad server.
Sometimes a company that runs an ad network may also
sell ad serving solutions to publishers.
What are the various types of Ad Servers available?
There are Ad Servers that are designed for
- Ad Servers for Publishers - These
ad servers are designed to maximize ad revenue for
the publisher. They do this first serivng the highest
paying ads then the next highest paying ads that are
available for each web visitor. Ad Severs make it
easy for the publisher sales team or the trafficking
team to start a new advertiser serving on its site
and to monitor how well that advertiser is doing.
- Ad Servers for Advertisers, Marketers or
Agencies - These ad servers help advertisers
in campaign management. Rather than send copies of
each piece of creative (i.e. each ad) to each publisher
on a media buy, agencies can send a line of html code
to each publisher. That line of html code calls up
an ad directly from the ad server each time an ad
neeeds to be shown on the website. The agency loads
the creative to the server once and can modify rotations
or add new units on the fly without needing to re-contact
the websites it is buying impressions from.
- Ad Server for Ad Networks - These
are very similar to ad servers for publishers but
provide additional features that show the ad network
on which publisher they are making money and on which
publishers they are not. They also provide features
for each publisher that is part of the ad network
to login to see how much they have earned each day.
Ad Sever Features (mostly publisher ad server
- Impression, click, or action goals.
Campaign stops when a particular goal is reached.
This is important, because advertisers almost never
pay for over delivery.
- Scheduling by date, day of week, and time
of day. Campaigns can be scheduled to run,
for examples between Jan 15 and May 28 Monday-Friday
during office hours (relative to your server time).
- Automatic Optimization. The ad
server should automatically choose the best performing
ads for each channel and serve more of those. You
can choose parameters such as whether the performance
should be all performance or only performance in the
last week or whether a good performing ad should serve
a 100x more than a poor performing ad or just 2x or
- Even or Speedy delivery. Most advertisers
prefer campaign impressions to be delivered evenly
throughout the campaign. Sometimes, however, you might
have to serve a campaign as fast as possible.
- Support for third party ad tags.
Publisher ad servers should have upload templates
to easily upload ad tags from major advertiser's ad
servers or the ad servers used by major ad networks.
- Support for 3rd party click tracking and
cache busting. Most ad servers support 3rd
party click tracking. By inserting a click-command,
which might look like %%CLICKLINK%% into the 3rd party
code, one can track clicks on 3rd party Flash and
Rich Media ads. Documentation for click-tracking should
be provided on how to work with most 3rd party ad
tags. Cache busting insures that the ads are not stored
in Web Servers' cache, but are requested from the
3rd party ad server each time. This is done by appending
either a random number or a time stamp to the ad server.
Once again, most ad servers do that. However a clear
documentation should be provided.
- Frequency cap: limiting the number
of impressions per user per set time period, usually
by day but could per 3 days or per week or per hour.
- Geo targeting: targeting by geographic
location, such as Country, State/Province, DMA (Designated
Metro Area), City or Zip/postal code. This is done
through a process called "Reverse DNS Lookup".
The user’s geographic location is determined
the users IP to a geo-location database. Most popular
providers are: Quova, MaxMind and Net Envoy.
- Other Targeting: Browser language
targeting, time of day targeting, dial up or broadband
- Behavioral targeting: Targeting
by a user's past behavior. E.g. target users who have
previously visited finance sites or real estate sites.
Retargeting ad serving is a version of behavioral
- User Registration Targeting: Allows
targeting to demographic data like age or gender or
any other key value pairs. Ad Servers often allow
you to create many key value pairs. The site should
be able to pass user registration data to the ad server
either as a parameter in the ad call or in a cookie.
- Rich media. Support for large ads
that appear above the content, or ads that expand
when the user mouses over them. Some ad servers charge
extra for these ad types and some don't.
- Serving Ads in Flash. Some sites
or games are all flash. Standard ad tags don't work
in flash. The ad sever needs to have a .swf ad tag
as well as an html ad tag if they can support the
serving of ads in flash.
- Online Reporting. Impressions,
clicks, and actions broken down by site, campaign,
creative (ad), geographic location, etc.
- Reporting to Cell phones. Get reports
on impressions, clicks etc to your cell phone by sms.
- Ad Hoc Reporting: Ad servers often
allow you to create your own reports. For example
can say put the name of the advertiser in the left
column, put the channels across the top of the report
and show impressions in the center or the report.
- Action tracking. Most ad servers
track post-click actions, such as leads, sales etc
that happen after a user clicks on an ad and goes
to the advertiser's site. Some ad servers also track
post-view actions, i.e. actions that happen after
the user sees an ad, does not click, but later fills
out a lead form or purchases a product on the advertiser's
- Inventory forecasting tools. Some
ad servers employ sophisticated algorithms to predict
availability of inventory based on the weekly traffic
patterns as well as campaigns that have already been
- Technical Support and Customer Service.
A 24/7 technical support team that is knowledgable
and that would assist customer to get an advertiser's
- Ad Network Optimizaton. Advanced
ad servers should be able to automatically send impressions
to the network that pays the publisher the most money.
The ad server should automatically get data from the
network so that it knows which network is paying more
per ad size, per country and per part of the site.
It is much easier to have the ad network optimization
technology built into the ad server - othwerwise you
will have to pay 10% of your revenue to another company
to optimize the ad networks you sell to.
I hear a lot about Video Ad Servers. What
is that all about?
Video Ad Server is an ad server designed to help premium
publishers serve ads inside flash video players. Serving
ads inside flash is difficult. Serving ads inside video
players is more difficult. This is a growth pat of the
market and selling pre-roll video ads is very profitable.
If you have videos on your site then you may need this.
Be careful as some ad server try to charge 10 or 50
times more for video ads- but others include video ad
serving at the standard price.
What is a self service ad server or a self
service advertising platform?
This is a separate interface that goes on the publisher's
site. It usually looks like the publisher's site and
it allows advertisers to buy advertising from that site
without talking to a sales rep and just using a credit
card. Google makes over $5bn per quarter by selling
ads from it's self service ad platform. Other sites
are now also making significant revenue by letting advertisers
do all the work and buy ads with a credit card.
What is a good Ad Server
ZEDO, Inc., is an Internet ad serving company that has
been offering a variety of products and services to
web sites, advertisers and networks for 10 years. ZEDO,
now the largest privately held ad server in the US,
focuses its technology on maximizing revenue for web
ZEDO sits in the premium sector of the Internet advertising
landscape and believes that technology can increase
the quality of ad impressions and therefore the revenues
that publishers earn from advertising.
ZEDO offers several technologies to increase publisher
revenue including: cutting edge behavioral targeting,
ad network optimization that calculates which ad network
will pay the publisher the most, ad serving in flash
video players, a widely acclaimed easy to use ad serving
UI, a self service advertising technology and new formats
to attract advertisers in any market conditions.
For more information contact
or call 415.348.1975.