Most of the top ad server providers cater to the needs of both publishers and advertisers, but there are certain things you need to keep in mind when choosing your ideal solution.
How to choose the right ad server?
First of all, determine the business goals of your advertising campaign. What capabilities of the ad server would help you reach them?
Consider both short-term and long-term advertising needs. Working with an ad server should be seamless and make your life easier instead of adding problems for the advertisers.
It is a sound idea to prepare a checklist of features and quality expectations according to your requirements and budget. Make sure you separate your must-haves and nice-to-haves into two lists. Also bear in mind your company's technical expertise. Who will be working with the ad server, how easy is it to export reports and analyse them? These factors are crucial for advertisers.
Depending on the content you intend to post, there are different options available to you. Videos are gaining momentum with advertisers, so if you have plans to produce video content (even if not from the word go), it might make sense to go with the ad server that supports VAST or VPAID tags, tracks video-specific metrics, and has video ads waterfall capabilities.
Another type of campaigns is XML advertising. If you are keen on experimenting with those, XML functionality is a must to ensure correct work.
Also think about your traffic. Generally, the more of it the advertisers run through the platform, the lower is the cost per impression. Bear this in mind as some options may offer better deals for your volume. If you choose to gradually build up your online presence and have a limited budget to get started, you may go with one provider and switch later, although generally that is not advised. Therefore it is a good idea to find a partner you feel comfortable working with right from the start.
Often, ad server providers offer self-service or guided live demos of their platforms. Take advantage of this and try to run through one full cycle from creating an ad to monitoring its performance to see how comfortable you are with the workflow. Take your time to explore the functionality available and double-check what is included in the pricing plan that suits your needs. Working with the platform should be intuitive and not require extensive technical expertise. This will save you time in the future when you decide to expand your advertising efforts.
Test the available support as well. How responsive is the ad server's team? Questions may arise initially, so make sure the technical support will be within easy reach when it is needed.