Whether you own a small personal blog or a top 1000 website, the importance of monetizing your website to the fullest is essential. Depending on your needs and the type of website you have, there are a variety of ways to improve your ability to monetize, simplify your advertising solution, and encourage a better bottom line. One of the greatest ways to do this is to expand your advertising options with the usage of an Ad Server, a powerful piece of software that controls how advertising appears on your website.
An Ad server, in layman's terms, is a system that runs on a server separate from your own website and handles all of our advertising. Whether or not you are serving standard advertising set by agencies like the IAB, or creating your own unique ad-sizes, there are ad serving platforms available to offer you a wide variety of monetization solutinos. While they come in a variety of flavors, the greatest thing about ad servers is that the largest and most popular ad platforms are now 100% free for small-scale websites. This is because these platforms all now offer rev-share or partnership opportunities to monetize your website, and want you to use their platform so you are the most compatible. This also means you have a choice between many ad serving platforms, including four of the most popular ones out there: Google DFP, OpenX, AOL ADTECH, and Adzerk.
The "industry standard" of adserving is Google's Doubleclick for Publishers, or Google DFP. Google DFP is the most popular ad serving platform on the market because it is used widely by publishers and advertisers not only for its reliable ad serving, but also for its compatibility with Analytics, Adsense, Adwords, and a whole suite of other Google products. Google combines all of these resoruces under one roof with DFP at the center, allowing you to compare data and incorporate Adsense into your system with ease. Google also offers higher end software, like DART, for enterprise customers, which gives Google perspective and access at all stages in the ad serving paltform, making every DFP user part of the effective bigger picture. Google also allows very easy monetization with Adsense, accurate statistics, and something called asyncrhonous serving - meaning your ad tags, if they are taking too long to load, will serve after your site loads, meaning your ads won't slow down the site. This is essential to a successful website.
Next up to Google DFP is certainly OpenX, a long-time competitor and free alternative to Google DFP. While OpenX allows you to download their software and serve ads from your very own server, they also offer free "managed" hosting with a cap of 100 million ad impressions per month, meaning you get free, powerful ad serving much like with Google. OpenX also offers their own "name your own price" ad exchange, where they will serve ads on your site with their own ads at whatever price you name, and can servea anything from regular ad sizes, to mobile ads, and even video ads. OpenX is certain free and versatile, but it's also much more boggy, and lacks a user-friendliness that Google's DFP has. To add to the confusino, OpenX is often inaccurate in ad serving as it uses a very different method to count how many impressions you serve an ad in comparison to Adsense, Analytics, or other company's data. Regardless, it's an excellent option if you can't stand DFP, or prefer to have a free solution that you have much more control over.
For those unhappy with OpenX and DFP, yet still interested in a mainstream ad platform that's 100% free, then ADTECH Lite may be for you! AOL Advertising, a division of the iconic telecom brand, has been making strives in the world of digital media and is now one of the largest ad serving companies and properties on the internet. Several years ago AOL bought the ad serving platform ADTECH, and now offer a LITE edition capable of serving your average, every-day advertising with ease. To add to that, AOL also offers an opportunity to build a relationship with their advertising division through Advertising.com, their publisher services department, through ADTECH Lite as well. While ADTECH offers much fewer options compared to the other ad serving platforms out there, it's still an effective way to serve your ads for free.
Last, but certainly not least, is a new, hip player on the block: Adzerk. Unlike other ad platforms out there that simply serve your ads, Adzerk advertises itself as an "adOS," as it can not only serve tags, but also offer you a wide variety of plugins and networking opportunities depending on your type of website. Through the plugin system you can add in support services, optimization, join ad networks, and more all from an easy to access control panel. While Adzerk doesn't serve as a publisher, they partnered with big networks like Rubicon to offer similar services to other networks out there, and they offer asynchronous ads like DFP too. They're certainly new and fresh on the market, but they offer just as many of the services other platforms offer, and perhaps even more.
In the end many factors determine whether or not a certain ad server is right for you. Things like the size of your size, types of ads you wish to serve, and current ad partners all determine the best way to handle ad serving and figure out which platform is best for you. Stay tuned to our tutorials section as we post guides on these ad serving platforms and much, much more.