What is an Ad Server?
An ad server is a software platform that is used to manage the distribution of ad campaigns across channels.
It stores variations of creative assets for ad campaigns, like imagery, audio, and video files, and selects the proper version to serve the right customers.
Ad servers also have the capacity to gather information about an advertisement’s performance, such as the number of clicks and impressions.
An ad server selects the ideal ad from its reserve of available ads to shoot in the available ad slot on a mobile app or website in the milliseconds it takes for a page to load.
Ad servers are data-driven matchmakers that pair audiences with advertisements based on a variety of descriptive tags on geolocation, interests, and behaviors.
For instance, the ad server searches for people whose data indicates they are interested in hiking when an advertisement is about outdoor gear.
These sophisticated algorithms base their decisions on a number of targeting variables, the frequency with which an advertisement is presented, the location and format in which it is displayed, and the advertisement’s earning potential.
How does an ad server work?
Ad servers have advanced beyond their primary role of ad storage and delivery to include real-time decision-making capabilities and campaign performance insights in order to meet the escalating demands of the digital marketing sector.
This naturally leads to some misunderstandings about how the capabilities of ad servers compare to those of other ad tech platforms.
Ad servers are distinct from ad networks, which pool the available ad space inventories from various publishers and act as a middleman in the sale of those spaces to advertisers.