Ad Servers and how they work
Ad servers enable advertisers and publishers to optimize, manage, and distribute ads across a multitude of paid channels within programmatic advertising.
Ad servers are the technological engines that allow advertisers and publishers to optimize, manage, and distribute ads across a multitude of paid channels. Based on a combination of advertising campaign settings such as audience segments, budget, and timeline, ad servers calculate in real-time the best ads to load for specific audiences on an array of devices, retail, and media channels.
A highly diverse cross-section of needs and challenges call for different types of ad servers: first-party ad servers are run by publishers offering ad space on their sites for direct or programmatic campaigns. This type accepts a range of creative assets to fill ad inventory using customizable parameters to reach an audience and then measure performance through clicks, impressions, and viewability. Third-party ad servers are owned by external parties and are utilized by advertisers aiming to reach particular audiences and campaign goals with finer control over their creatives to interact with multiple publishers at once. Importantly, these ad servers centralize campaign management and measurement as ads appear and engage shoppers, streamers, and browsers across publisher sites.
As audiences browse the web, listen to podcasts or stream video, ad servers talk to one another to showcase a digital campaign in fractions of a second. When users open a website, the browser calls a publisher’s web server for the page’s content. This process loops in ad servers to dynamically serve up the most relevant ads by adapting to campaign parameters, simplifying the ad buying and planning process for digital advertising.
Ad server technology is a type of adtech employed to deploy and optimize digital campaigns from building brand-specific creatives to automating how they reach audiences. The technology relies on servers talking to one another to programmatically buy, sell, and place an ad in front of the most relevant audiences at the right time across a spectrum of media channels. One of the many capabilities of an ad server is the delivery of ads across visual, audio, and interactive formats to meet and augment digital customer journeys across advertising campaigns.
Advertisers count on DSP (demand side platform) marketplaces to access publisher inventory and purchase placements for video ads, display ads, and mobile ads. Amazon DSP is one such example that allows advertisers and agencies to buy media placements to be programmatically delivered on Amazon websites, publisher sites, and third-party exchanges. Publishers looking to sell ad slots leverage supply-side platforms that automate sales of digital ad events on a spectrum of user-facing mediums, known as publisher ad servers. Amazon Publisher Services offers cloud-based services and tools that allows digital publishers to effectively monetize their content and inventory, while bringing transparency to the forefront of digital ad supply spend.
Ad server networks, DSPs, and SSPs are elements to programmatic advertising that give advertisers the flexibility to buy and sell ads in an automated way.
While there are multiple types of ad servers, Amazon Ad Server is a great example. Amazon Ad Server is a multichannel, third-party ad server for advertisers and agencies executing digital advertising strategies to build creatives, manage and optimize campaigns, and measure insights in delivering premium ad experiences with relevance and ease. Ad authors can export and generate files such as banners or video with Amazon Ad Server, offering fluidity and freedom to move creatives between ad servers.
Ad servers drive revenue on a range of event-driven delivery metrics such as cost per impression, cost per click, and cost per conversion when an ad is shown. Additional capabilities such as managed services, training and support, and advanced measurement analysis and features further add to earnings. Ad servers charge fees associated with delivering ads to viewers based on digital channel, format, analytics, and viewability metrics. Base fees typically tally how many times an ad is loaded and shown per industry standard guidelines, or impressions. Fees may also factor in when an ad is clicked and leads to a purchase.