What is a Self-Service Ad Server?

Ana Kealy

Ana Kealy

Ad Serving

Ad Tech

Self-Service

What is a Self-Service Ad Server?

If you want to monetize a website as a Publisher or monetize a network of websites as an Ad Network by selling online ad inventory to advertisers, a white label self-service ad server is one of the best and quickest ways to get your business up and running. In this article we will cover what is self-service advertising, the benefits this brings, and what to look for when deciding on using a self-service ad server to start a business.

What is self-service advertising?

A self-service ad serving platform offers a truly intuitive and easy to use UI, with a large range of editable features, that allows Advertisers to set up campaigns and Publishers to set up ad zones quickly and without help, then monitor statistics in real-time from intuitive and customizable dashboards in order to fine tune and optimize campaigns and ad zones to increase revenue opportunities. 

Traditionally, advertising Sales Teams have to work very closely with the Ad Ops Team to make sure a booked ad is pushed through the ad serving system smoothly. The Sales Team have to organize seperate deals with Publishers in order to asign traffic and negotiate pricing. This is very labour intensive, with a multi phased, multi person process. With self-service, these functions are automated, working more efficiently and using a fraction of human interaction and resources. Having a Self-Service option allows a Sales person to concentrate on larger clients and also focus on business development to grow your business. 

Google Ads, for example, is a Self-Service platform. If offers an interface that Publishers can join to sell their website's ad inventory via a large range of different ad formats, and Advertisers can sign up and instantly set up campaigns, targeting the ad zones corresponding to the ad formats selected on the targeted websites via Google’s Publisher network.

Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads and LinkedIn Marketing Solutions are also Self-Service platforms, however they do not contain a network of websites, they are actually the Publisher and Advertisers can set up campaigns using each platform's specific targeting features.

Therefore, Self-Service advertising platforms cut out the need for an Advertiser or Publisher to interact with a Sales Representative. They simply sign up to the platform and get going straight away, generating revenues for themselves and the owner of the Self-Service Ad Server.

Types of Self-Service Ad Servers

There are three main ways to use a Self-Service Ad Server as a business:

Self-Service Ad Network: You can use the platform as an Ad Network which means that you can monetize the ad inventory from a large range of Publisher website clients to Advertiser clients. 

Self-Service Publisher Ad Server: If you are a Publisher with a website or network of websites, you can set up a Self-Service Ad Server in order to monetize your own ad zones. Your clients will only be Advertisers who can sign up and bid for your ad zones. Many niche Publishers use this option. For example if your website’s content is all about fishing, then you will want to target Advertisers who sell fishing gear, fishing holidays, fishing books, etc.

DSP Self-Service Ad Server: Self-Service DSPs are owned by a third-party ad tech vendor. They allow Advertisers to manage their ad campaigns similar to a Self-Service Advertising Platform and also allow the Advertiser to connect to both their own list of supply sources as well as those offered by the DSP service provider itself.

Benefits of a Self-Service Ad Server Businesses

For businesses wanting to start their own Ad Network, or for Publishers wanting to use a Self-Service Ad Server to monetize their own ad zones solely, there are several great benefits:

Reduced overheads: Self-Service uses a low cost technical automated platform to replace the manual tasks in the ad booking process saving you the overheads of salaries for Sales persons, Operations support and Developers etc. giving you a cost efficient and scalable platform.

Quick to get up and running: Using a Self-Service Ad Server platform is a simple and quick integration and because the UI is intuitive, your Advertiser and Publisher clients can start monetizing campaigns and ad zones immediately.

Publisher & Advertiser control: You can set the criteria you want before approving your clients and you can customize the features that clients can use on the Self-Serve platform 

Better cash flow: There is no need for an accounts department to raise an invoice for Advertiser account funding or to manually check bank accounts for payments not received. Self-Service works on pre-payment of accounts by Advertisers who can fund their accounts by themselves, directly in the platform, then the platform automatically generates invoices for Advertiser clients.

Greater potential to scale up: Having a Self-Service option leaves a Sales person free to focus on sourcing large clients and also providing large clients with account management to help grow revenues, while small and medium sized clients are managed via the Self-Service platform. 

Full transparency: Admin permissions to the platform allow you 100% visibility on all data and revenues generated.

Full control: You are able to set your own rates and conditions and control everything on your network.

Non-stop business: Self-Service platforms are active 24/7, as there is no need for a Sales team working 9-5 to generate revenues. The platform allows Advertisers to bypass the need to adhere to timezone and business time restrictions when launching new campaigns.

Benefits for Publishers as clients of a Self-Service Ad Server

There are several benefits for your Publisher clients with a Self-Service Ad Server because they can manage everything themselves. These include quick sign up, select from a range of ad formats to set up ad zones quickly and easily with the platform’s generated ad tags, block unwanted advertising verticals or ad formats, block unwanted Advertisers, boost traffic for high performing ad zones, A/B test ad zones in order to optimize revenues, view ad zone data and statistics from different GEOs via customizable dashboards to know everything about how the site’s traffic performs.

Benefits for Advertisers as clients of a Self-Service Ad Server

Advertisers can sign up and fund their accounts to get going. Then they can set up test and full campaigns, use automated bidding tools to control ROI to get the most competitive prices for their traffic sources, set daily campaign budgets, choose from a range of ad formats, quick campaign set up including bidding, various targeting options, frequency capping,  A/B testing of creatives, automated traffic distribution algorithms to ensure the best performing creatives/landing pages receive the most traffic, stop, pause and launch campaigns, conversion tracking to measure each campaign's effectiveness and evaluation of statistics and data to know exactly what ad zones generate sales and clicks.

What to look for in a Self-Service Ad Server

There are many Self-Service Ad Server solutions on the market, with various different feature offerings. Here is a list of some key features you should look for:

Latest technology: Ad tech makes advances all the time and because you will be using a white label version of an existing ad serving platform, it is important to select a platform option that continues to develop its tech so you stay competitive in the market and which also gives you full tech support from a team of dedicated Developers.

Competitive ad formats: Having a large range of high performing ad formats is key. Offering a diverse range of formats brings more opportunities for Publishers to create and test different ad zones as well as offering Advertisers more creative ways to monetize their offers. For example EXADS offers a large range of ad formats including Video, Native, several types of Display Banners, rich media Fullpage Interstitials, Popunders, Push Notifications and Email Clicks. Additionally, you should ensure that your platform can compete with giants like Google, who offer Responsive Display Ads which allow advertisers to simply upload an image and texts and the system automatically creates banners ads of various sizes to fit any standard IAB banner display ad placement. EXADS also provides Responsive Display Ads.

Automation tools for Advertisers: Algorithms and automation tools are a necessity for Advertisers in today's market. They allow the automation of smart bidding to ensure a greater ROI, they allow traffic redirection algorithms to send traffic to the best performing ad creatives and landing pages helping automate testing and the optimization of campaigns. EXADS provides a range of automation tools for Advertisers.

Large range of payment methods: The platform should offer a wide range of methods for Advertiser account funding and Publisher payment methods that your clients can manage via the Self-Service platform. 

Statistics and dashboard customization: Campaigns and ad zones generate a lot of data and all stakeholders need to be able to easily evaluate this data in real-time. The ability to filter and analyze data is required so they can make the correct optimization decisions. EXADS ad server provides fully customizable dashboards, with various display graphs and charts and data point selections for Advertisers, Publishers and Business Owners.

White labeling: If you are setting up an ad network business the Self-Service platform should allow you to rebrand the platform with your logo, brand colors, brand look and feel and a unique ad serving domain.

Platform Documentation: Of course, there is no interaction needed with clients as the Self-Service Ad Server is designed to be easy to use and intuitive. However, it is important to provide your clients with documentation about each feature. The documentation should be split between Advertisers and Publishers as both have different needs and the platform offers each client type different features. If you are looking for a white label Self-Service Ad Serving platform, EXADS offers detailed, regularly updated documentation for an Ad Network to use on their own platform’s website. It explains how each feature works, how to use it, the benefits of using it and tips to ensure maximum benefits. Additionally for every new or improved feature release, in depth documentation is also updated.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a white label Self-Service Ad Server, EXADS covers all of the above features and more. Why not get in touch with us to find out how you can quickly get started in monetizing online advertising.

 

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Ana Kealy

Ana Kealy

Product Marketing Manager

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