What's the benefit of using separate ad servers for video and display?

Published by: Sarah Kirtcheff , Flashtalking
Published on: March 4, 2010

Many third party video serving solutions are built specifically for video and that can be very advantageous. But wouldn't it be better to have a single ad serving platform that can handle any sort of format from display to video to mobile and beyond? Why doesn't such a system exist and would publishers use such a system? Or is it better to have them separate?


A lot of these ad serving systems are moving to cloud servers. So why even ask the question at that point? Cloud servers are everywhere and nowhere. Barring any problems with access control systems, cloud computing should solve the qualm of using multiple servers!

Sarah, the OpenX Enterprise platform (not to be confused with the free Community platforms), does offer the ability to traffic display, video, mobile, rich media, etc on a single platform. We support any VAST compliant player, and have current integration with several of the leading players in the video space. You can deliver pre, mid, post and overlay campaigns along with your display media and even link companion ads.

One of the major initiatives of the OpenX team in the recent release of Enterprise 3.0 is to provide users a single platform that enables what we call a "Multi-Screen" approach. What this means is that you should be able to engage your audience across devices... enabling holistic targeting, frequency capping and segmentation, be it on-line, i.p. tv, mobile, or in your video environment.

Still, Joey is right that no current solution is fully robust to enable the breadth of features that a focused platform might offer... but the plug-in architecture of the OpenX platform and our new solution get you pretty close, and future releases are expected to bridge the gap further.

Happy to discuss this further with anyone interested - leon@openx.org

Would the single point of entry be something like a salesforce or operative, dsm front end tool for creating orders? I would imagine having different servers would make inventory management pretty challenging not to mention having to schedule the same ads in multiple servers for multiple platforms (if you could even do that if you had the same specs for multiple platforms). For instance say you wanted to combine a single impression goal together across multiple different platforms and creatives. But I totally see the point that different tools make sense for different jobs.

It could be, yes. There are a number of front-end sales tools that make the inventory management & selection easier by handling inventory from multiple ad servers. Depending how you set up the sell-able "product", it could even be transparent to the seller. It is more up-front work for the inventory manager, though.

You are also allowing that one company to focus on that one medium and thus you hope that they are able to give it the time, effort and development it deserves. Would you rather it try to do a decent job performing 5 functions as opposed to being a superstar at 1.

Like Joey said pros and cons to both.

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In an ideal world, sure - we'd have an adserver to support every channel - be it linear television, mobile, digital video, display, iPhone applications, Android applications, you name it. But the truth of the matter is that each channel has it's own peculiarities. Swiss Army Knives are good tools - but none of the individual tools is as good as a single big ol' version of each. Is it potentially more cumbersome to carry a bunch of separate tools in your tool belt? Sure it is - but you probably do a better job in the end. Our team has been living the positives and negatives of having different systems providing ad delivery to different channels, and the only saving grace to that potentially very challenging scenario is making sure that some systems are single entry points to all channels.

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