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Choosing the Right Ad Server

There are several factors that go into determining which ad server, or servers, your Ad Operations team should use, and with such a crowded market, the selection process is ever more complicated. How do you sift through the marketing hype to determine which ad server is right for you? Which are ideal for reporting, trafficking, forecasting, or targeting? Which are ideal for mobile or video ad serving? How does the ad server support your indirect sales business?
We outline how to select an ad server, offering perspective on the pros and cons of many popular ad servers, including OpenX, AdTech, 24/7, and DFP for small, medium and DFP Premium. Know what features are included in upgrading to DFP Premium, and when you should start to think about a migration.
Last update: March 2014

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Choosing the Right Ad Server

  1. 1. 1 Choosing The Best Ad Server For Your Business
  2. 2. 2 Where do we get our info? • 14 years of experience • Client interviews • Partner interviews • Discoveries • Industry events
  3. 3. 3 This is an important decision. It’s ultimately responsible for delivering your company’s revenue • Uptime and reliability • Scalability • Technical limitations hinder revenue capture • Optimizing campaigns and managing yield Migrating is costly, time-consuming and complex • Long-term investment
  4. 4. 4 Before getting started, ask yourself: 1) What is your selling strategy? 2) How much experience does your team have in trafficking and campaign management? 3) Where do you see your business going, and who will sell your ads? 4) Do you have any special ad serving requirements? 5) How important is ease of use to you? 6) How much support do you need? 7) What is your budget?
  5. 5. 5 Ad Server Comparison
  6. 6. 6 Ad Serving Overview Ad Serving describes the technology and services that place advertisements on websites. Common functions are: • Uploading ads and rich media • Trafficking ads according to differing business rules • Targeting ads to different users • Yield management and optimization • Reporting impressions, clicks, and interaction metrics What follows is an analysis of some of the top ad servers today, to help you choose which one is right for you:
  7. 7. 7 DFP Small Business PROS CONS § Free § Fast and easy to implement § Growth path to DFP Premium § Built on new Google API platform § Integrates with AdSense and AdX § Lack of scale § Lack of targeting § Lack of mobile & video capabilities § Lack of reporting
  8. 8. 8 DFP Premium PROS CONS § Market leader § Flexible and comprehensive site taxonomy and hierarchy § Powerful targeting and packaging § Robust API architecture § Simple integration § Access to DFP add-on product suite § New platform may require re-tagging to take full advantage § Web-based support for most publishers
  9. 9. 9 DFP Small Business vs. Premium DFP Premium Differentiators • 5-level Ad Unit Hierarchy • Complex Key-Value Targeting • Advanced Video Ad Trafficking • Out-of-Page/Overlay • Highly Customizable Reporting (including unique users) • DFP Audience (retargeting add-on) • Full Road Blocking Functionality • Creative Wrappers
  10. 10. 10 When To Switch Customers upgrade when they: • Serve more than 20-30 million impressions per month o Note: The official cap from Google is 90 million monthly impressions • Develop a sophisticated sales strategy • Wish to capture more revenue opportunities via Google add-on products o When granular targeting, advanced video features, retargeting, full roadblock functionality, and robust reporting are needed
  11. 11. 11 ADTECH PROS CONS § Simple and flexible tagging structure § Powerful targeting options § Good European presence § Robust reporting and analytics § Display and video in a single interface § Integrated with an exchange § Supports viewability in reporting § Built-in agency component § UI can be confusing for new users § Forecasting requires campaign creation § Tagging not as robust as others
  12. 12. 12 FreeWheel PROS CONS § Growing video ad server § Open API § Allows publishers to manage content effectively § Customizable reports and forecasts § Robust targeting and ad rules § Primarily designed to support video ads § Not as focused on yield or eCPMs § Limited targeting for non-video ads
  13. 13. 13 XAXIS (Formerly 24/7 and OAS/OpenAdStream) PROS CONS § Flexible hierarchy § Simple, easy tag structure § Rich targeting options made simple § Integrated with exchange § Simple and intuitive site/page hierarchy and website taxonomy § Complex UI for traffickers § Less rich creative library § Targeting rules are difficult to manage for new users § Yield management can be highly sophisticated for new users
  14. 14. 14 OpenX PROS CONS § API system architecture § Simple integrations § Powerful targeting tools § Supports mobile, video and newsletter campaigns § Networks and Exchange controls in a single enterprise UI § Vanity domain feature for privacy § The product is newer § Lower market share may make new features less forthcoming § Inventory queries require campaign creation § Reporting not as robust
  15. 15. 15 AD SERVER THE BOTTOM LINE Good start for beginners, but falls short in supporting more advanced business requirements. For publishers of all sizes who want strong capabilities for inventory management, campaign optimization reporting / availability forecasting and other revenue opportunities. For medium to large publishers who want simplified workflows that can be easily customized. Also, has an agency component built-in.
  16. 16. 16 For large publishers with complex video setups. For medium to large publishers looking for a simple taxonomy with an exchange. For medium to large publishers, distinguishes itself as a robust, open platform that is easily able to integrate with an exchange. AD SERVER THE BOTTOM LINE
  17. 17. 17 So, which one is right for you? Drop us a line, we’d love to chat about it. We can tell you what to expect for your setup or migration, support your technical ad serving questions, and provide ad serving as a certified reseller and ad operations partner. info@operative.com
  18. 18. www.operative.com18

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There are several factors that go into determining which ad server, or servers, your Ad Operations team should use, and with such a crowded market, the selection process is ever more complicated. How do you sift through the marketing hype to determine which ad server is right for you? Which are ideal for reporting, trafficking, forecasting, or targeting? Which are ideal for mobile or video ad serving? How does the ad server support your indirect sales business? We outline how to select an ad server, offering perspective on the pros and cons of many popular ad servers, including OpenX, AdTech, 24/7, and DFP for small, medium and DFP Premium. Know what features are included in upgrading to DFP Premium, and when you should start to think about a migration. Last update: March 2014

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