When selecting an ad platform, publishers must chose between selecting an ASP solution or hosting an in-house solution. For in-house solutions, publishers must also decide if they are going to build it or buy it. Here are some key considerations when entertaining an in-house ad serving platform.
In-house solutions require a greater commitment of internal resources. For Ad Operations, in-house platforms are far more specific in support requirements: finding employee candidates that know these systems will be harder to do and they often command higher salaries than their counterparts. Going in-house will obviously impact your IT and development resources who will be responsible for adding and maintaining servers, databases and bandwidth.
Integration with other products. If you have already done integrations with your other workflow systems (CRM, order management, billing), those will have to be redone. Again, don’t forget that these are far more niche products; vendors, as well as consultants, have less experience usually and are harder to find.
Build it the right way. If you decide to build your ad platform, take into consideration the maintenance and pick a programming language that is readily available! In my many years in the industry, this is the one error most ‘build-it-yourself’ publishers have made: picking the latest and greatest coding language – which leads to higher developer costs and decreased potentially for outsourcing parts of the code base requirements.
In-house has its benefits. Bringing your ad platform in-house can have massive returns on your investment (and although these solutions tend to save money in the long run, the initial investment can be substantial). The largest appeal to use an in-house solution is that you own every piece of data about what is going on with your site, users and advertisers – not to mention ultimate flexibility to tailor the ads platform to your needs. The level of granularity you can achieve by going in-house is almost impossible to achieve in an ASP solution. Make NO mistake – moving to an in-house (built or bought) solution is a large endeavor, but it ultimately may provide your company a unique competitive advantage that will provide both revenue opportunities and operational efficiencies.
Robert Koshar is the founder of RMK Interactive; a firm that works with publishers to accomplish their online advertising business goals; from product selections through to implementation, staffing and training. Robert has worked in the online advertising technology and operations space since 1998 and has worked for major publishers in the U.S., Germany and the U.K.