In essence, an ad server is where the magic happens. As you may have already guessed, this is one of the most vital parts of digital advertising. Unfortunately, there are currently different options for managing these servers like DSPs and SSPs, which makes it a bit more confusing for marketers.
The following article will outline what an ad server is, how it works, and how it can help you manage your ad campaign insights in a much better way.
What Is an Ad Server?
Overall, this is a technological piece that allows you to manage, serve, and track your ads within your digital channels. Thanks to ad servers, you can decide which types of ads are better to show your potential customer considering relevance, targeting, revenue goals, and more.
Keep in mind that, since ad servers collect and report data regarding impressions, clicks, and other important data, you will be able to monitor your ad’s performance in a much better way.
Ad servers are not something new. The first instance of an ad server was back in 1995 when FocaLink Media Services set up the first-ever ad server. Evidently, this ad server wasn’t able to do all of the things that can be done now. Some of the things that the server could pull from the potential customer were:
- The user’s computer’s language
- The page’s URL
- The browser type the person is using and operating system
Depending on the goal, ad servers can get used by both advertisers and publishers. Both servers are similar since they share the same technology. However, advertisers and publishers use these server types for different reasons.
First-Party Ad Servers
Overall, first-party servers are for publishers who want to manage the ad slots on their websites. Moreover, these are used to show ads that were sold directly to advertisers through direct campaigns.
In case there are no direct campaigns available for the publisher, the server will look at different ad codes to decide which one is the best to fit in the ad slots.
The first-party server will also be responsible for targeting, data collection, and reporting. Some people use these servers for inventory forecasting, which means that they will calculate how much inventory and the type of publisher the client will have available for sale.
Third-Party Ad Servers
On the other hand, third-party ad servers are used to track advertising campaigns more efficiently. The main difference here is that third-party servers are mostly used to take particular metrics and collect campaign data for evaluation.
Depending on the goal, advertisers can use third-party servers for creative optimizations. Overall, this server is used to get as much information as possible about the campaign across all publishers, networks, and platforms so that the advertisers can measure whether the campaign delivered the right impressions or not.
Generally speaking, this is what you can expect from third-party ad servers:
- Tracking criteria for ad campaigns
- Tracking performance of a campaign across all publishers
- Measure the success of reach of a campaign
- Report verification
- Optimize campaigns according to the results obtained
- Store and manage ad codes
Do You Need an Ad Server?
There are many reasons why you would benefit from having an ad server. Overall, your goal will be to generate revenue from your ad campaigns, but you may not know what specifically an ad server could help you with yet.
Consider getting an ad server if you identify with one of the following:
- You want monetization of your digital assets: Regardless of what digital property you own, if you sell ads, you can get revenue as long as you’re smart about the ads you’re posting.
- Integrating sponsored listings into an eCommerce site: A popular feature that many marketplaces do is having ad servers that allow sellers to promote organic listings. Thanks to these sponsored listings, you can get an additional revenue stream that doesn’t affect the user experience at all.
- Promoting internal content: Some people only want to cross-sell products or send targeted messages to particular users. Whether you want to advertise relevant products or optimize your product listing in general, having an ad server can help you with that.
- Having email ads: It may not seem like it, but inserting native ads into your emails can be a great way to gain revenue. If you’re already sending emails to several people each day, consider this option.
Launching a custom ad server may seem like it involves a lot of work, but there are many tools online that you can use today to make your experience much easier. Overall, having an ad server can help you optimize our ad campaign strategy, allowing you to monitor everything more efficiently and make faster decisions based on the results you get from the impressions.