What’s an ad server and why we need it

The online advertising ecosystem has got numerous technologies used to solve various problems. Some of them become obsolete and then replaced by new ones, but some don’t lose their usefulness over time. An ad server is one of those technologies used in the past and still being relevant. So what is an ad server?

First, it’s necessary to understand what led to the introduction of ad servers. During the early days of online advertising, the selling and buying process was manual. But soon it became clear that more elaborate ways to control this process are needed to make the interaction between publishers, advertisers, ad networks and ad agencies more efficient. So, simply put, an ad server is a technology used to manage online advertising processes. 

Using ad servers is easy and doesn’t require extensive programming knowledge (basic skills are enough in most cases). Only advanced features like openRTB integration, white-label customisation, etc. may need some programming skills from users.

Who can use ad servers?

Publishers (webmasters or website owners) use ad servers to show relevant ads to their visitors. For example, Adserver.Online has a user-friendly interface where publishers can create ads of various formats and benefit from extensive targeting features. Using an ad server creates more opportunities for publishers to monetize their traffic through openRTB/XML technologies, retargeting and conversion tracking. 

Advertisers and affiliates may use ad servers to track their ad campaigns performance and benefit from extended statistical data from the ad server. Any kind of optimisation process needs data and ad servers can provide it in abundance. Such features as conversion tracking and retargeting may be extremely useful for advertisers as well. 

Besides, ad servers can be used to build ad networks or agencies. Like individual publishers managing their ads, ad companies with lots of websites can operate their online businesses with the help of ad serving technology. In this case, numerous customisation and white-label features may come handy to stand out from others.

Important features of ad servers.

  1. a CDN (content delivery network) that allows for fast loading of ads around the globe
  2. advanced targeting options to deliver your ads to your target audience (e.g., geo, OS, device, language, frequency capping, time, etc.)
  3. various ad formats to choose from (banners, wrappers, video ads, push notifications, etc.)
  4. integration capabilities for extensive reach: openRTB, XML
  5. real-time reporting with lots of data available
  6. a platform flexible enough to manage ads on a single website and to build an ad network with lots of publishers and advertisers