What is an Ad Server?
An Ad Server is a web based tool used by websites which want to display ads and are also called “publishers”, Ad networks and advertisers to help with ad management, campaign management and ad trafficking. An ad server also provides reporting on ads served on the website. Finally, an ad server serves the creative side: this means that the ad server or ad serving company also delivers the ad to each user’s browser.
An ad server stores information about ads and delivers them to one or more web sites for display to visitors. Ad servers also track ad displays, clicks on ads, and generate statistical reports. Ad servers can also selectively display ads to site visitors based on predefined criteria.
Ad server platforms are broadly of two types, hosted versions that are run and maintained on an ad server company’s site, and self-hosted versions that you install and maintain on your own server.
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 Click Trackers.
How is an Ad Server different from an Ad Network?
An Ad Network sells advertising for a group of publishers or sites. An ad network may sell ads for specific sites such as travel sites, or it may sell ads for many different types of websites. An ad network sells advertising, but an ad server is used by both publishers and advertisers. Ad networks also use an ad server. Sometimes a company that runs an ad network may also sell ad serving solutions to publishers.
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.