Glossary | A | Ad Server

What is an Ad Server?

An ad server is a web-based application used by developers, ad networks, and marketers to help with ad management, campaign management and distributing ads to both websites and applications. It provides management tools for tracking, uploading, and deploying ad campaigns.   

Ad servers act as an intermediary between advertisers and publishers, facilitating the display of ads in a targeted and controlled manner. Ad servers streamline the ad serving process, by providing functionalities that allow for campaign management, ad inventory management, targeting and segmentation capabilities, tracking and reporting of ad performance, and ad delivery optimization.  

Advertisers use ad servers to upload and manage their ad campaign’s creative assets, set targeting criteria such as demographics or user interests, define campaign parameters like budget and scheduling, and track performance metrics such as impressions, clicks, conversions, and revenue.   

Publishers integrate ad server tags or code snippets into their website or apps to request and display ads. The ad server determines which ads to serve based on factors like targeting criteria, available ad inventory, and bid prices.  

Ad serving technology can be offered as a hosted service (operating on a provider’s servers) or self-hosted (operating on internal company servers). Instead of having to visit each website where an ad is to be placed individually, ad servers automate much of the distribution process for ads and can successfully track all relevant statistics about ad impressions, clicks, and overall ad performance.  

Ad servers play a critical role in managing the delivery and tracking of online advertising, ensuring that ads are served accurately and efficiently within the defined campaign parameters. They also enable performance analysis and optimization, allowing advertisers to make data-driven decisions, and publishers to maximize their revenue from ads.