Best Ad Servers Review: Google Ad Manager (DFP), Revive, Smart & EasyPlatform




All Publishers who have earnings from display advertising and especially those who want to develop their direct deals have to make the important decision which ad serving platform to use. Ad serving platforms (also called: ad servers) handle the entire process of showing display advertisements on a website, including managing rotation, geo targeting and other rules and targeting criteria. And of course - reporting on performance.
So which are the best ad serving solutions?

Obviously the best platform should be easy to use and flexible enough to handle both direct campaigns and remnant inventory. It should be fast and reliable and not too expensive. There are a number of ad platforms out there, but in this overview we decided to focus on the most famous of them and compare their options:

Google Ad Manager (DFP)

Overview and Pros
Google Ad Manager, once known as DFP, is one of the most popular ad serving platforms out there. Google Ad Manager provides a variety of features for managing the inventory and cooperation between the sales teams and the traffic managers. It has near real time performance statistics. It also integrates easily with AdSense, a major benefit for publishers who are selling some inventory directly and in the same time monetizing remnant inventory through the Google ad network. Other networks can also be used as well and optimized for optimal revenue by using Price Priority. With Google Ad Manager you can compete all your ads (direct deals or ad networks) with the Open Ad Exchange if they are not defined as Sponsorship. You can enter the average eCPM for each ad network or the CPM of a direct deal and let the Open Ad Exchange compete against them for each impression.
Cons
Google Ad Manager isn't always the most intuitive product to use and it may take a lot of training to get you used to the interface and functionalities. It's not easily self-explanatory and to make it more difficult – there is no official support besides community forums. Because of this, problems can be dragged forever or simply stay unsolved. Another minus is the fact that DFP’s interface is slow and it also freezes periodically. It takes a significant amount of time until you finish a setup of a new campaign or change existing settings.
Cost
Google Ad Manageris free for publishers who serve less than 180 million monthly impressions. This cap does not include AdSense or AdExchange impressions. For publishers who exceed this limit, Google offers the Google Ad Manager Premium solution.

REVIVE (OPENX) ADSERVER

Overview and Pros
The Revive Adserver project was started in the summer of 2013, when OpenX open source project was purchased by the Revive Adserver team. It is free to use and download this open ad serving system. The source code of revive adserver including all its earlier versions is available to its users. It does not store or transmit any personal data of the user and no registration is required to download the software. The source code of the software is open to all and developers are allowed to suggest any edit in the source code via a pull request. A safe and hassle-free download of the software is available without the need for any user registration. If you'd like to use the Revive Adserver software without having to download, install, configure, and maintain it yourself, there is also a paid hosted edition.
Cons
This hosted version of the Revive ad server is not free, and you will be charged per 1000 impressions served. It is a complicated software with a lot of advanced features and you need to be an experienced user to get advantage of it. If you decide to use the free open source version, you will need a server and a developer to install and maintain it. It might be vulnerable to cyber attacks which can which will lead to loss of data and sensitive information.
Cost
Revive adserver is free to download (and install on your own server) and it is paid for the hosted version. The hosted version offers different subscription plans starting from 10$ per month. If you choose to buy the hosted version it will be difficult to buy the exact package according your needs, so you always pay more than you use.

SMART ADSERVER

Overview and Pros
Smart AdServer is a French ad server provider with known international presence. Most of the customers tend to be European online publishers. It is very robust service and a good alternative to DFP if you are looking for an ad server. Smart AdServer is famous with its simplicity of use and well-organized interfaces. It has an excellent access to DSPs. It is interconnected with the APIs of several performance-based marketing companies, affiliation platforms and ad networks. The main reason publishers like them is that this ad server provides customizable ad templates for both desktop and mobile web and delivers amazing ad experiences without any special technical expertise needed. Smart offers a gallery of ready-to-use rich media ad formats for display campaigns: expandable, video, native ads, Rising Stars and more.
Cons
There is no availability to upload first or third party data for targeting. Reporting is not so great and needs more features. Some clients report that the engineering team is really slow. If you have technical issues, it is hard to work with them.
Cost
This Adserver is not free, and you will be charged per 1000 impressions served. There is no public info about the pricing at Smart AdServer, so if you are interested, ask for more details on their website.
When it comes to functionality ad servers range from very basic – where you can host creatives, set basic parameters, and deliver ads – to very advanced, with features such as forecasts and programmatic supply. Smaller, free to use options are fine to begin with and to learn more about what your advertising strategy will look like. However, at some point you will need to upgrade to a more feature-rich option to maximize your efforts. Highly-advanced ad servers require advanced skills to manage. Preferably, use such an ad server only if you are willing to invest many hours learning its specifics or be ready to hire in-house experts to run it. Otherwise you will end up with a "high-tech rocket" that you cannot manage properly.

EASYPLATFORM™ DIRECT DEALS MANAGER

Utilized correctly, an ad server will save you a lot of time and contribute to the growth of your business so you may have more unique selling points and strong points to sell your inventory. If you are looking for a simple and easy-to-use hosted ad server for your website and you need a professional ad tech support, read this article about our own ad serving solution - the Direct Deals Manager. If you have more questions feel free to contact our team. If you want to start immediately showing ads on your website, just register your website at our platform and give it a try. Upon approval of the site you will receive an email to complete the registration and activate your profile.

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