How does Ad server work in the Video Streaming Platform?

An ad server is the essence of impactful cross-channel advertising. Knowing what is an ad server? How does the ad server work? And how to choose the best ad server? It is the foundation of ad tech knowledge. It can be considered as a one-stop in the advertising journey. Let’s dig deep in the path and know more about how does ad servers work in video streaming platforms.

If you want to set up an ad network or wish to skyrocket your publisher revenue with digital advertising, the choice of a proper ad server must be a starting point. Ad servers can be deemed a building foundation for any streaming brand that floats in the online advertising sector.

The first ad server was launched in 1995 as a significant breakthrough in the industry. In the modern 20s, dozens of powerful ad servers facilitate precisely targeted, cost-effective, and automated online advertising for both advertisers and publishers. If you crave to take a closer look at ad server technology, keep reading the article ahead right away.

What is an Ad Server?

An ad server is an advertising technology (AdTech) used by advertisers, publishers, ad networks, and ad agencies to manage online advertising campaigns. Ad servers are liable for making immediate decisions about what ads to be displayed on a website, then serving them.

On top of that, an ad server gathers and reports data (including impressions, clicks, etc.) for advertisers to obtain insights from and observe their ads’ performance. On the basic level, ad servers are used to display and manage advertising content to the right users on a website.

What is Video Ad Serving?

Video ad serving is the most effective ad format helping prospects get the worth of their advertising efforts. Video ad works in the same manner as ad serving works; an ad is a “server” from an ad server to multiple apps and websites. Mainly there are two types of ad servers:

  • The advertiser ad server;
  • Publisher ad server.

Most video ad serving platforms follow the IAM standards and use an XML specification known as VAST. It enables video ads to serve online video players on various platforms such as desktop, web, app, and mobile that support VAST. VAST enables ad servers and video players to speak the same language.

Mainly there are two types of tags used in the video ad servers, VPAID, and VAST tag. The tag is passed on to various tracking and publishers. The difference with VPAID enables ads to have interactive features. It allows video ad servers to track advanced measurements around ad viewability.

Types of Online Video Ads:

  • In-Stream Video Ad;
  • Pre-Roll Video Ad;
  • Mid-Roll Video Ad;
  • Post-Roll Video Ad;
  • Out-Stream Video Ad.

First-Ever Ad Server: Explore What it is?

Ad servers first started resembling in 1995 when the online advertising sector was in its infancy, helping publishers manage and control online ads efficiently. Online ad-targeting possibilities were minimal; advertisers could target ads based on minimal header data pulled from the user’s browser like:

  • Language set on the user’s computer;
  • URL of the page that ad is being loaded;
  • Browser version and type;
  • User’s operating system.

However, the first-ever ad server was set up by FocaLink Media Services in 1995. Since then, ad servers have come a great way. It is constantly evolving with the whole ecosystem, helping to cater to the growing demand of publishers and advertisers at the same time. Some of the functionality was added to ad servers with time, such as budget control targeting, frequency capping, and others. Users can use newer ad server platforms, including SSPs, DSPs, and many more.  

What is the Main Purpose of an Ad Server?

Ad servers can also be used by advertisers (known as a third-party ad server) and publishers (known as a first-party ad server). However, first and third-party ad servers are typically the same technology. Advertisers and publishers use them for slightly different reasons.

What are First-Party Ad Servers?

First-party ad servers enable publishers to handle ad slots on the websites. The display ads have been sold directly to advertisers through direct campaigns. No direct campaigns are available in the event; first-party ad servers act as a management platform serving to decide which ad codes to serve in their ad slots.

A first-party ad server is primarily responsible for targeting, that is. They decide which ads to display based on nuanced targeting parameters to collect, serve, and report the data. However, they’re used for inventory forecasting, i.e., how inventory and what type the publisher will have for sale in the future based on traffic projections and current campaigns.

What are Third-Party Ad Servers?

By using ad servers, advertisers can track their advertising campaigns. The advertiser ad server ad tag is loaded through the first-party ad server; hence its functionality is limited compared to first-party servers. It’s used to collect campaign data and verify specific metrics at the same time, like clicks and impressions.

Third-party ad servers can be used for creative optimizations. For example, the advertiser can easily change the creative used in a campaign and run a series of A/B tests of the productive, but the targeting is determined on the first-party ad server side.

The primary difference is that advertisers practice the third party as a server to aggregate all the campaign data across all ad networks, publishers, and other platforms. All campaigns are served as an auditing tool to verify and measure whether the impressions were correctly delivered.

Advertisers and publishers may report various numbers, but a specific degree of discrepancy is deemed normal. Third-party ad servers provide advertisers control and ownership of the collected data.

How Does an Ad Server Work?

To learn how ad servers work? You need to know what they appeared in the first place. The popularity of the internet began to take off in the mid-1990s, traditional print publishers started moving online. It not only helps in creating a vast amount of content but also enjoys a dormant opportunity.

During past years the buying and selling of ads between publisher and advertiser were performed manually and directly. The publisher then noticed that they need a more straightforward and effective way to manage various ads on video streaming platforms. Since the first party ad server was born and later, a third-party ad server was discovered.

Calling the Publisher Ad Tag

The ad tag placed inside the ad unit transmits a request to the ad server when the viewer visits the publishers for the first time. Once the ad server receives the request, it decides to share the ad unit’s data with users based on the type of deals the publisher is operating.

Selecting the Ad Creative

Once receiving the ad tag, the ad server determines which type of ad units are available. If it’s an auction type as a unit, the ad request is created and sent to the demanded side for further bids. After receiving the bids, the ad server compares and chooses the winner later on.

Calling Advertiser Ad Creatives

Once after winning the bid, the ad server on the advertiser’s end transfers the winning ad creative to the publisher’s ad server. The publisher’s server places the winning creative to the ad unit available on the website. It makes it easier for visitors to view the ads at the same time.

What are the Essential Features of an Ad Server?

The ad servers provide a mixture of ad management and ad delivery features for publishers and advertisers. Ad server offers limited suggestions; hence make sure to choose the ad server with all essential features, including:

  • Ad creative upload;
  • Campaign schedule;
  • Automatic optimization;
  • Delivery speed;
  • Technical targeting;
  • Time targeting;
  • Behavioral targeting;
  • Retargeting;
  • SEO;
  • Creative sequencing;
  • Frequency capping;
  • Ad tracking;
  • Reporting.

Wrapping It Up

Advertising servers or ad servers are essential components of the ad serving process in general. They bear primary liability for storing and serving original content onto multiple platforms like social media outlets, websites, mobile apps, etc.

Ad network, ad exchange, SSP, DSP, and any other online Ad solution these days require ad server integration to assist ads and implement essential optimization functions. You can find many companies out there offering managed and self-service; they offer remote and local server capabilities for advertisers and publishers.

Post by Alphanso Tech

Created in 2013, Alphanso Tech is a leading IT Consulting company with a presence in the USA, Canada, and India.We are a trusted and leading service provider to many top-tier companies in the area of Custom WordPress Development , Web Application Development , iOS App Development , Outsourcing Services, Online Marketing and many other related activities.

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