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So the time has come, where you think you need a new ad server. This is not a trivial endeavor and generally is a very long and arduous journey, so you want to be absolutely certain getting into a new ad server really makes sense. How do you know it’s time?
Well, here are a few of the more common reasons we see people change ad servers:
- Simplifying technology across your organization
- Replacing multiple ad servers with one common platform
- You’re on a self-hosted solution which made a lot of sense years ago, but is now something your IT folks are tired of dealing with and don’t want to support
- Whenever you have an issue and call support, they won’t take your call nor will they return your emails (this is their subtle way of saying it’s time for you to move on)
- Key targeting capabilities that your sales folks need and your advertisers demand are not supported
- When you ask your vendor about mobile and video capabilities, their eyes glaze over
All of these are very valid reasons to take on the selection and implementation of a new ad server, so how do you get started? Well, that is somewhat of a loaded question. One of the best ways to figure out who’s out there is to talk with your peers (aka the AdMonsters community). You’ll get a lot of names, but you also need to be careful.
Who Is the Fairest of Them All?
Asking “What is the best ad server?” is a lot like asking “What’s the best automobile?” Someone may say the Honda Odyssey and someone else may say the Ford F-150. If you have four kids, then the Honda Odyssey makes perfect sense. If you haul heavy construction materials, then clearly it’s the Ford truck. If you have no kids, don’t need a truck and drive 40 miles to work, then neither one of those is a very good option for you, so the answer to the question depends on your specific needs.
The same applies to ad servers – you need to identify your specific needs. Is it price, functionality, customer support, workflow integration, vendor location or something else entirely?
You’ll find that all of the ad serving vendors shine in their own ways, so it’s really a matter of determining your needs, then figuring out which vendor(s) can best meet your requirements. Maybe no vendors fit your bill – well, then it becomes a matter of who is willing to commit to that feature on their roadmap as well as meet all of your other criteria.
Take the Time, Do It Right
We’ve mentioned it before in other posts, but it’s critically important for you to treat the ad server selection and implementation just like any large project, and dedicate the proper resources to the effort. Your team should spend the time to gather (and document) your requirements and not just cool features and price, but really dig deep to understand the requirements of your entire organization (ad ops, sales, finance, IT, etc.). By taking the time upfront, you’ll then have the core elements identified against which you can evaluate the respective vendors to determine the solution that looks best for your business.
What’s the bottom line: take the time to make sure you truly need a new ad server, and once you know that you do, don’t underestimate the task and absolutely dedicate the resources (time, money, people, etc.) to doing a thorough evaluation to get the best option for your organization.
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