Online ad serving 101

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Do you know how online ad serving works? Are you familiar with the difference between a publisher-side ad server and an advertiser (or third-party) ad server? No? Then read this excellent article on the topic by my colleague and ad industry veteran Eric Picard. The article’s actually an updated version of one that he wrote almost six years ago; amazingly, despite the changes in the online world, and the emergence of major new kinds of online ads, the basic principles remain unchanged.

However, as Eric points out, there is a lot of room left for innovation in online ad serving, particularly in the planning/buying and trafficking tools that are available for agencies. It’s still remarkably labor-intensive to plan and deploy a major campaign across a large number of publishers; it’s even more complex to understand the performance of such a campaign in the context of other kinds of online marketing that you might be doing.

I’ll be returning to this topic in the continuation of my ‘Mysteries of online measuring online marketing response’ series. Stay tuned.