With the rise of other flexible solutions, some publishers have been questioning whether the ad server is still needed. The answer is YES. Before we dive into the benefits they provide, let’s start with a breakdown of the two types of ad servers.
What is an ad server?
To start, it’s important to understand both types of ad servers that exist in the programmatic ecosystem – the publisher and the advertiser ad servers.
- The publisher or first-party ad server
An ad server for sellers, this type helps publishers maximize their yield by serving the highest paying ads to viewers across their personal media domain. In addition, the ad server enables advertisers to gain a holistic view of performance.
- The advertiser or third-party ad server
The second type is an ad server for advertisers. They use the ad server to show ads on different websites and apps. Additionally, the system acts as a single dashboard for campaign management and provides detailed reporting, allowing advertisers to optimize their campaigns constantly.
While both are beneficial, we will focus only on the publisher ad server below as we take a look at five of the key reasons it should be an important element in your overall strategy.
1. The ad server knows best
By using an ad server, you can easily maximize your revenue as a publisher. The only thing you have to do is set up all your goals and rules and the ad server will do the heavy lifting for you. There’s no need to hire a team to manage many campaigns from different advertisers. The ad server knows what’s best for your website and will use dynamic allocation to identify the most lucrative channel for each impression. It doesn’t matter if it’s a direct, programmatic, or header bidding campaign. As a result, you get the best yield optimization possible.
2. Everything in one spot
The ad server is a facilitator for any publisher and allows you to efficiently connect with other technology platforms through an API. Thanks to these connections, the ad server becomes an all-in-one machine that will enable you to have everything you need in one place.
Examples of platforms you can connect to include: reporting tools; inventory reservation tools; other monetization channels – like Adomic, Pubstack, and Salesforce; and DMPs – like OneplusX and Weborama. In addition, you can connect to other SSPs too. With everything you need in one place, the ad server becomes a go-to tool for any publisher.
3. Forecasting helps decision making
Thanks to the wonders of machine learning, the ad server can predict how much inventory will be available at any given time. The ad server will consider these predictions when deciding how to allocate ads. Additionally, you can program events manually. Knowing what inventory will be available, combined with the flexibility to both automatically and manually program ads benefits the publisher in many ways.
4. Reporting offers valuable insights
Your ad server records all ad activities and placements in a central database for analysis and reporting. The degree to which ads perform well informs you on their pricing and future yield. The technology offers visibility into everything that comes through, not just what is in the system like an SSP may be limited to. This can provide valuable insight through big data reporting and real-time forecasting. As a result, you’ll know what worked and ended up being served and have some insight into what didn’t win and wasn’t served.
5. Offers more control over your ads
Without an ad server, your site is open for everyone. Meaning all kinds of ads can be shown on your website. When you use an ad server, you have control over a certain amount of variables like:
- which type of creative you use
- ad frequency
- tracking options
- ad pricing
You can also use house ads and choose who has access to which module with an ad server.
These five benefits make the ad server indispensable for every publisher. As the platform does all of the work for you once it’s set up, it’s really at the service of every publisher and is an excellent campaign optimization tool.