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Advantages of Using Third Party Ad Servers

Oct 10, 2018  ·  8 min read
Lina Lugova
Lina Lugova, Marketing expert at Epom

Users interact with the third party ad server each time they load pretty much every web page. Website owners show a variety of ads depending on the advertisers' targeting criteria — geo, age, behavior etc. Precise targeting helps advertisers show the user only relevant ads that he would click on.

Publishers are managing hundreds of advertisers at a time: to keep them all in one place they'd have to build an ad serving technology to determine which ads to show, where to place them, how often will they be shown, and who will see them. Advertisers, on the other hand, will need to come up with a system to track the ad campaign performance, optimize it and control the ad spend.

It's a lot of work, right? And that's why they often outsource it to the third-party ad server.

What is a third-party ad server?

The definition, in short, would be:

A third party ad server is a web server which hosts data regarding ads and delivers ads directly to websites and mobile apps. Besides hosting — serving ads, third-party ad servers enable you to manage and optimize online advertising activity.

A third party ad server is a B2B service which delivers ads directly to websites and allows website owners to best capitalize their ad inventory. Third-party ad serving core customers are publishers, media agencies and advertisers. The customers pay to have access to be able to log into the third party ad serving interface. Once inside the interface, the functionality is broken down into two separate areas: campaign management and ad reporting.

Customers choose a third-party ad server for these main reasons:

  1. To simplify the ad serving process & to keep all the demand partners in one place.
  2. To avoid any discrepancy.
  3. To get a reliable solution for ad serving.
  4. To run cross-platform, complex ad campaigns, and use multiple ad formats.
  5. To get real-time analytics on ad campaign performance.
  6. To optimize ad campaigns and run custom reports.

Depending on the online advertising entity, the benefits of the third party ad server can vary.

Third-Party Ad Server for Publishers

Publishers interacting with the third party ad server by receiving code from it, show the third-party ads on their pages and work with its reporting systems. Epom third-party ad server enables you to buy and manage huge volumes of desktop, mobile, in-app and video traffic. Epom Ad Server provides the programmatic solution which means advertisers will buy impressions at the most optimized and cost-effective bid.

Third Party Ad Server For Advertisers

A third-party ad server enables advertisers to store all the information about their ad campaigns across all publishers, ad networks & other platforms all in one place. Ad servers reports help them measure and monitor whether their impressions were actually shown.

Third Party Ad Server for Ad Networks

Ad network is a tech platform that acts as a middleman between publishers and advertisers. The third-party ad server helps track revenue delivered by every publisher and efficiently optimize ad campaigns to yield maximum results. Third-party ad servers also provide several roles and permissions with separate access for publishers and advertisers and also show the metrics that are most relevant to them.

Moreover, with the third party ad server you can create your own ad network from scratch without spending time — money on developing your own ad serving solution

How does the third-party ad server work?

The ad serving process is done within seconds without the user noticing it. Here is how the ad server works:

  1. User visits your website or app.
  2. At this very moment, ad tags are requested from the third-party ad server. The ad tag includes a list of criteria on which ads are suitable. The criteria is formed by advertisers, who choose geo, age, behavior, the size of the ad slot, and much more.
  3. The third-party ad server chooses which ads to serve based on the pre-defined criteria.
  4. The selected ads are delivered directly to the website or app to be shown to the user.
  5. The third-party ad server tracks impressions, clicks, conversions, and other essential metrics & stores the stats on a single platform.

Sounds easy, right? But imagine this process is being done with hundreds of ad campaigns simultaneously.

Read more about how ad server works here.

Benefits of Using the Third Party Ad Server

A/B testing & Optimization

A third party ad server gives you total control over the ad creatives and simplifies the A/B testing process. Publishers considered A/B testing to be a quite tricky and time-consuming process. Third-party ad serving technology helps do this with just a few clicks.

Moreover, ad servers have automatic optimization technologies, which help boost ad campaign performance without any manual work.

Epom Ad Server provides all clients with automatic CTR, conversion, and eCPM optimization to simplify their ad operations and to automate split testing within a single account. Successful strategies can be saved and potentially reapplied to campaigns under the same or similar conditions later on.

In-depth customization

Third-party ad servers help control and customize everything according to your business goals. The third-party ad server allows you to customize the dashboard, reporting and to use only the features that you need.
For ad networks who seek total customization and want to expand their range of services, White Labeling the Ad Server can be an extremely helpful solution.
With Epom White Label Ad Server, you can create your own ad network with a personalized UI: branded emails, logos, custom code — every aspect of our ad serving solution can be tailored to your brand identity.

Advanced reporting features

The third-party ad server enables you to run deduplicated custom reports to get a better understanding of your campaign performance and to make better informed decisions on further optimization. You can thereby set the right frequency cap, test different creatives and successfully copy the targeting combos that lead to a conversion.
Epom Ad Server helps you eliminate the discrepancy in reporting and see the campaign results objectively. Read more about the ad discrepancy and how to reduce it here.

Third-Party Ad Server Comparison

There are a few ad servers that offer extensive functionality. If you want to find the Double Click alternative, here's the table of the major third-party ad servers and their key features:

Feature OpenX Enterprise Zedo Adk2 AdButler Epom
Client Range enterprise solution only (after OnRamp shut-down) major focus on publishers, but works with advertisers and networks ad networks and agencies advertisers, publishers, networks publishers (small, mid-sized, large), advertisers, ad networks/agencies
Mobile Ad Server No No
Video Ad Server No
In-app Ad Serving No yes, free SDK for iOS and Android
Special Solution for Networks yes (basic features) No yes (full range of network-specific features)
Full Roles Management No No No 4 sub-accounts with different access levels and specific features (user, supervisor, publisher and advertiser accounts)
White-labeling No
Publishers & Advertisers Account
See more

To sum it all up, the third-party ad server helps you manage all your video, mobile, desktop & in-app ad campaigns in one place. Forecasting, deep targeting, automatic optimization, and real-time reporting are the main features to look at while choosing an ad server. In the ever-changing digital environment, there's a solution to keep your cross-platform digital advertising in order.

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