So, have I understood the idea of “adserver” technology correctly?

Just a bit of technical background if someone can help me out. This.

In November, Timehop instructed some of its product engineers to begin building an ad server that focused on its own inventory, mobile-only. Leviev said they also wanted to maximize CPM and fill rate, not just choose one or the other. Currently, the system integrates with about 15 SSPs and DSP, the exact number depending on the day.

So, the mental image I’ve got is this.

Starting position, they’re signed up to, say, Google. Which just fills their space with whatever Google decides at whatever rate (and thus Google profit margin) it thinks it can get away with.

So, they take control of their own ad space. Their “adserver” now talks to 15 or more other pieces of software.

Might be Google, and Amazon, and Advertising.com – say – forcing them to compete for access to the space and thereby gaining better pricing. Or perhaps it goes up a level and connects into the Ogilvy and Mather, WPP etc ad buying operations to do the same thing? Leaps over that step of the ad networks themselves?

Presumably, the adserver then takes the best offers on space. Perhaps with some fill from the networks to cover space that doesn’t sell directly?

Have I got this roughly right? Not technically, because that’s beyond me. But as a general idea of the logical structure here?

That at some point of volume it’s worth bypassing the ad networks? That is, to do what the internet does so well, disintermediate?

3 comments on “So, have I understood the idea of “adserver” technology correctly?

  1. The article doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I think either there’s some conflating going on or they’ve simplified to the point where they’ve omitted a relevant chunk.

    They say they integrate with SSP and DSPs ( that is the sellers and buyers of advertising space ).

    The article seems to suggest they are selling the ad space in their app, and enjoying the revenue from cutting out the middle man ( or men ). So they are their own “SSP” ( supply side ) so i don’t see why they’d need to integrate with other SSPs, unless they are turning themselves into an ad exchange type business and selling space on other peoples platforms.

  2. I’m not as up-to-speed on the terms as I probably should be, but it sounds like they include Google etc’s ad services under supply-side. Bit weird, since they’re a middle-man, but whatever.

    So I read it as getting some ad space filled via SSPs, some direct from demand-side, and by being able to control when to go where they have been able to bump up what they charge per eyeball.

    Rather than the ‘standard’ model of giving over your ad space and hoping your chosen intermediary generates a good deal.

    So yeah, I think you’ve got it about right.

  3. (More generally, an adserver is just any box-with-blinking-lights that returns some kind of web-ad when queried by a browser/app running the relevant bit of code. Where that server gets it’s inventory and selection strategies from is abstract.)

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