An Ad Server is a server that provides special services and technologies for the placement of advertisements.
Usually the server includes a software for the delivery and controlling of online marketing campaigns. The ad server saves marketing material of an online campaign and delivers it to its own or foreign websites.
Apart from that, ad servers have to fulfill a whole bunch of other functions as well:
- Reporting: One of an ad server´s main functions is to document the amount of impressions and clicks for each marketing campaign. Based on this wide range of collected data, advertisers can create reportings to evaluate the efficiency of their marketing campaigns.
- Targeting: For the delivery of advertisements to specific target groups ad servers use filters. These can either display advertisements to the desired audience or prevent the display of ads in certain cases.
- Restrictions: Ad servers can also restrict the delivery of advertisements to certain time periods, countries, regions etc. This can be a very useful function e.g. if an advertiser only wants his ad to be displayed at nighttime or on certain days of the week.
- Frequency Capping: This is a special kind of restriction. With “frequency capping”, ad servers can limit the number of times an advertisement is displayed to the same user.