As purchasing large quantities of online advertising space becomes more and more common for media buyers, so has the need for a better and more efficient way of accomplishing this task. Enter the genius of ad serving.
While ad serving may appear quite technical on the surface, its actually pretty simple. A buyer will purchase advertising space from various websites and create an entry for each placement on the ad server. The entry will include data specific to each placement, such as ad size and creative. An “ad tag” will then be generated from each entry. These tags can then be sent directly to the publisher and plugged into their website. The ad tags can be monitored from the ad server allowing advertisers to track the progress of each ad.
So now that we’ve gotten the technical stuff out of the way, what makes ad serving so beneficial for advertisers? Glad you asked.
- Control: Providing publishers ad tags, instead of a JPEG, takes much of the control away from the publisher and puts it back in the hands of the buyer. Through ad serving, publisher are unable to change the settings of the ad. The size, placement, and time of run are all coded into the ad tag. This ensures that the ad will only appear when, where, and how it is intend.
- Tracking: One of the most attractive features of ad serving is the ability to track ads in real time. Gone are days of hounding publishers for result reports. With ad serving, impressions and CTR (Click Through Rate) are tracked as the occur. This allows real time results to be passed on to clients or used to make changes regarding placement and creative.
- Creative control: Often, in online marketing, it can be difficult to predict which ad will perform better than others. In the dark days before ad serving, this may have been a real problem, but no longer. Buyers now have the option to simply lower the publishing rate or turn the ad off entirely. These changes will immediately take effect, through the ad tag, on the publishers site. Many ad servers even offer the option of weighting ads. This means that if one ad is tracking better than the other, that ad will automatically be served more often than the other.
- Testing: When an ad tag is sent off to a publisher, they have the ability to plug it into a test site to ensure that the ad will appear on the site as intended. This enables them to notify the advertiser to any problems that might occur when the ad is live on the site. By doing this, both advertisers and publishers can feel confident that no one involved with have to make or receive any angry phone calls due to issues with the ad.
- Ease of management: One of the hardest parts of monitoring online placement can be the collecting of data. Managing a variety of publishers and reports related to different clients can be a headache for all involved. However, with ad serving this problem is a thing of the past. All data related to the placement of any ads, for any client, is housed in one place. By simply accessing your ad serving terminal you can have any and all information needed.
While ad serving may not become the norm for online advertising, it should be earnestly considered for those looking to purchase a large amount of online ad space.