by Mark Thielen | Dec 10, 2012
While ad management has never been easy, it seems that day by day it’s growing in complexity. Only a few short years ago ad management consisted of just booking display campaigns, but today it encompasses a huge variety of channels, new technologies, service providers, and devices.
Fortunately, there are tools to help us stay one step ahead of this increasing complexity. Excellent ad serving technologies are available that help to streamline the workflow. The benefits of an “all-in-one” principle are clear: the more functions that an ad server offers, the lower the risk of technical problems. This is because fewer systems are involved in the delivery process, so coordination requirements are reduced. If the entire business-relevant ad delivery chain can be mapped within the ad server – from display to mobile devices to video – processes naturally become more efficient.
Integration, automation, and reliance on rules
Technology is becoming more flexible, so many ad serving platforms can be extended via APIs to enable third-party functions. Once integrated, these allow the platform to expand in tandem with the evolution of the digital environment. This is important because anyone who wants to get the most out of their campaigns going forward needs to consider optimization systems, targeting service providers, and data providers during ad management activities.
On top of these considerations, real-time bidding (RTB) brings new metrics into play. It’s not only that RTB introduces new price models; new rules will also need to be defined and implemented. For example, black and whitelists are key to excluding advertisers and environments, as well as making sure there is no overlap with guaranteed campaign bookings. Rules, which can be stored in the background, help to provide more transparency in the highly automated ad management arena.
A shift toward holistic ad serving
Holistic ad serving combines established ad serving infrastructure with RTB technology. This means that publishers can go from conducting campaign management manually to operating programmatically. The benefits include efficiency, quality, and economies of scale. While in the past it was common practice to first fill direct campaigns and then turn remnant inventory loose on ad exchanges where impressions go to the highest bidder, in holistic ad serving publishers will be able to allow RTB demand to compete with directly sold campaigns.
For publishers today, ad servers are core integrations, while exchanges or marketplaces are seen as add-ons. Companies tend to use one ad serving solution for managing traditionally sold campaigns and a separate supply side platform (SSP) to manage auctions of remnant inventory. Of course, it’s better if the ad server has native RTB capabilities or is running its own SSP or exchange, because by building an SSP marketplace on top of an existing ad server, a publisher can seamlessly fuse all RTB auctioning functions and make ad serving decisions from a single unified system.
The demand for more detailed data analysis
As the digital advertising environment matures, the variety of campaign details that advertisers want to monitor continues to grow. This increasing demand for granularity affects the control methods and optimization of campaigns. For example, in the IAB’s new portrait ad format advertisers want to be able to track partial areas of the advertisements. This is why rich media tools like ADTECH Canvas become more and more important, as they enable the tracking of user engagements for rich media ads.
Emerging platforms and the need for SDKs
Video and display advertising are constantly moving closer together, and within the next two years there will be no difference in how these platforms are handled at the ad management level. The workflow will become more uniform, so only the screens will need to be considered separately. Alongside this, in the future IP and Smart TV will feature prominently as advertising channels. This development is currently delayed by a lack of standards, but mobile’s MRAID illustrates just how fast things can take off once a uniform standard has been established – after only a short period of time, video ads and moving images on smartphones have become commonplace.
Moving forward, it’s essential that ad serving providers supply SDKs to help advertisers and publishers quickly adapt to new technologies. Today with the right SDK, it’s already possible to deliver ads into Windows 8 applications.
The bottom line
In this shifting landscape, one thing is for certain. No matter what direction the ad industry is moving in, technology providers will always come up with new solutions to help streamline ad operations. At ADTECH, we’re constantly working on integrating new functionalities into our ad serving platform. We have vast experience in all the topics covered here, so readers are welcome to contact me personally (email@example.com) to learn more about the latest trends and our solutions to address them.