So I help run this new media network with about 60 or so sites (ranging from the small, niche ones to the bigger sites with a more general coverage). One big task that usually eats up my daily todo list is managing ad placements. Well, at least I can say I would rather have a problem managing sponsors and advertisers rather than not having ad revenue at all.
Still, I believe in working smart and I’m almost hitting myself in the head for not implementing an efficient ad-serving solution since the start. Now I’m considering a few options:
- Of course the first option here is to serve the ads directly. For most of our sites, the ads are hard-coded into the themes. I do have the ad expiries on Google Calendar, so we get alerted when we need to follow up for renewals. And I get to track clickthroughs and page impressions via pMetrics (crude, yes, but it does work for me). The advantage here is that it’s pretty straightforward. I can say I have full control over what gets displayed on the sites. But the downside is that it gets cumbersome to manage things this way with a big network.
- I could have someone create an adserver from scratch. Actually for some sites that need rotating ads (e.g., two or more ads or banners sharing the same space at random or alternating) I use a simple PHP script, and it does the job well. We’re welcoming some developers into the team soon, and we might as well ask them to help out with this concern.
- However, with readily available adserver options like OpenX, I can just have this installed somewhere and tweaked to our liking.
- But since running my own adserver would require some resources (in terms of servers/hosting and maintenance/management) I might as well have dedicated adserver-providers take care of this for me. Our very own colleagues at Performancing has launched their Performancing Ads. Even Google has launched its (closed) beta of Google Ad Manager.
Whatever happens, I’m sure of one thing: that serving ads manually become really tedious and cumbersome at some point. And this has its inherent disadvantages. For instance, ad-serving software usually let you track and analyze statistics like page impressions, clickthroughs and perhaps even conversion rates. Directly served ads might be more difficult to track.
So in the aim of working smarter, we’re moving toward a more efficient way of doing things. The question is which?