In this article we will discuss the mapping of mobile ad serving. In order to understand it better, we must understand the major differences between online and mobile (when serving ads). In general, mobile ad serving and online ad serving are very much alike; nevertheless, there are some differences that apply specifically to mobile ad serving, which create a slightly different environment.
There are two major differences: Tracking and Speed & Servers.
In online ad serving, much of the tracking that is done in campaigns is done with client side tracking (image pixel/script pixel). This is a preferred methodology for advertisers because it is simple to integrate and it measures the calls from a user, and not from the server. In mobile ad serving, the recommended tracking is server side. This type of tracking is preferred because it measures the calls from server to server; much more accurate and desirable, because many mobile devices are cookie-less and the user’s call cannot be relied upon.
Speed and Servers:
In mobile environments, speed is most important. Many users have slow connections, and if the browser or app fetched the ad the way it does on desktop connections, the user would be likely to abandon the page before the ad finished loading. Due to this issue, much of the ad serving on mobile is done via the cloud rather than directly on the client’s phone/tablet. So instead of the browser calling a server and then being redirected to another server, the browser tends to call a server directly, which then calls other servers. This helps with connectivity that is much faster than the regular mobile network.
Once we understand the major differences, we can now explain how the Ad Serving is mapped and how the flow applies when an ad call is made.
The user is logged into a web/app server. The call is forwarded to the publisher ad server which is handled by a network seat holder or an agency. The information of the winning ad is then passed back to the web/app server in order to show it to the user. So the major difference is that the call is made by the servers and not by the mobile user (as explained before). All connectivity that had user engagement with the flow is now done by server to server calls.
In an online call the ad serving would be directly from the ad server, while the content would be from the web server. As can be seen above, the complete data is coming from servers which are not directly connected to the user.
In an RTB sequence, the mobile ad serving is set via the final DSP which is supplying the correct ad as per the user’s profile per segmented factors.
In summary, ad serving in mobile closely resembles online ad serving but lacks the user engagement, and as such relies on server engagements. Once the information is ready from all servers, the complete data/ad is presented to the user.