Why Adzerk Is Your AdJuggler Alternative

We've heard the news - AdJuggler has gone the way of the dodo. So while you're scrambling to find a new place to serve your ads, we invite you to demo the Adzerk ad platform. We're proud to provide the ad serving infrastructure for internet heavyweights like Stack Exchange, Reddit, BitTorrent, Imgur, Newsmax, and many others.

Adzerk Makes It Easy To Get Started.

Serving ads using our JavaScript ad tags takes only a few minutes to set up. We have a a getting started guide that describes the full process. And if you have questions, just email our support team based out of Adzerk headquarters.

Adzerk Is Easy To Use.

Trafficking ads shouldn't be hard, and the Adzerk interface is built around the needs of actual ad ops and ad sales teams. Getting a campaign live takes minutes, and pulling reports takes seconds.

Adzerk Has All The Basic Ad Serving Features and Much, Much More.

While all the basic publisher ad server features are included, Adzerk is designed to meet the custom needs of our varied clients. We have APIs for ad serving and ad management, a direct integration with RTB partners, a User Database for storing first-party data, behavior targeting, retargeting, email ad serving, sales management tools...

Adzerk Will Scale With Your Traffic.

Never worry about demand to your site bringing down your load times. Adzerk is super robust, maintained 24/7 by our DevOps team.

Adzerk Has Awesome Support.

We don't call ourselves the best support in the ad industry for nothing. We work one-on-one with our customers to help them succeed, and we'll go above and beyond to make sure their needs are met.

Like What You See?

Get in touch with us today! We'll set you up with a demo account that's free for testing for the first 30 days. And you'll have access to all our docs and great support.

What a Native Ad Server Offers that a CMS Doesn't

If you're new to the native ads game, you are probably learning a lot about native ad servers and how they differ from a CMS. Chances are that you're using a CMS already, and it's likely been highly customized to meet your site's needs.

So is it possible to configure your CMS to serve native ads?

Not really. While there is some overlap between a CMS and an ad server, they are intended for different uses:

A CMS is designed to serve content that doesn't need to change with each request.

By request, we mean each time a browser reaches out to a server to get the content and render it as a page.

In most cases, a CMS serves HTML pages and related content like images, HTML5 videos, etc. and it will have built-in tools that make it easy to manage the content. The big three— WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla— all do a great job at this, and they are also specialized to deliver specific types of web content: blogs, landing pages, large, complex enterprise sites, etc.

But no CMS is specialized at serving ads, no matter if those ads are banners, native units, or full-out sponsored content.

Ads have different requirements than static web content.

Advertisers need to track metrics that most CMS' won't offer: clicks, conversions, impressions for individual units on a page, viewable impressions, and more.

Even more importantly, ads aren't served the same way to all users.

In the simplest ad serving scenarios, a website might sell an ad unit and use their CMS to add a banner to the page, creating a placement. When that sponsorship expires, they will sell another ad and update their CMS accordingly.

But most sites want to sell more than one unit at a time, which requires rotation. And nowadays most ads are precisely targeted to users through retargeting, behavioral targeting, location targeting, and ad sold via real-time bidding. A CMS cannot support that— either for banners or native ads.

Why not add use an add-on to my CMS to serve ads?

Most add-ons that enable a CMS to serve ads (like WordPress plugins) are actually just interfaces for an ad server. For instance, Adzerk has a plugin for Drupal developed by that community. However, using the plug requires an Adzerk account, so ad servers never leave the equation.

Also, plugins are limited in their functionality. An ad server that includes an API (like Adzerk) can offer more options for integration with your CMS than a third-party plugin. You can serve ads via Javascript tags, Python or Ruby libraries, mobile SDKs, or write your own code to ping the API directly.

The advantage for native content

The right native ad server for you will let you serve the type of native content you want (such as sponsored content, in-feed units, or interactive ads) with minimum set up time and difficulty to maintain. For example, if you are only serving sponsored articles, choose a native ad server that specializes just in that.

But if you need a more complete solution (like a combination of banners and native units, or custom native units) then you should consider a more robust ad server like Adzerk. Please get in touch with our solution engineers if you aren't sure which native ad server is right for you— we'll be happy to point you in the right direction.

Introducing ContentDB - Metadata Storage for Ad Requests

ContentDB is Adzerk's latest add-on that increases the functionality of our ad server. It is a server-side database designed for contextual targeting that enables:

  • Targeting based on metadata about content. For example, a music service can target ads based on artist name, genre, track title, etc.
  • Passing metadata into creatives. For example, the music service can display an ad that incorporates the name of the song currently playing.

Instead of passing entire metadata objects into an ad request, which is time-consuming to gather, ContentDB retrieves metadata from its database using keys passed into the request.

How It Works

  1. An Adzerk user creates a ContentDB record using our API. This record consists of a JSON object that contains the metadata associated with a schema and key. For example, an album schema includes the key 23529, which references a JSON object for the album "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot."
  2. When making an ad request, the Adzerk user passes in the ContentDB schema and key for the content. For example, if a listener is playing "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot", the music service will pass in the album schema and its key when it requests an ad. This works in both the JavaScript ad tags or the Native Ads API.
  3. You can also pass multiple schemas into the ad request. For example, you may include both track and artist schemas.
  4. Adzerk ad ops users will target flights or ads to ContentDB records using Zerkel queries. For example, if Jeff Tweedy has released a new album, the ads promoting it can be targeted to listeners of "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" with a query like: "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" in content.custom.album.title. The title property is part of the JSON object stored in ContentDB.
  5. If the advertiser wants the album title to appear in the creative itself, they can use macros to display the title or any other properties in the ContentDB record. For example, {{content.custom.album.title}} will display "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" in-line with text.
  6. If you passed in multiple schemas in the request, you can use these in combination to target flights and display records in creatives. For instance, if you wanted to target all albums that feature Jeff Tweedy, you can create a Zerkel query that searches for the personnel property in the album schema AND the name property in artist.

Why Should I Use This?

ContentDB can be used for highly granular and complex contextual targeting. Instead of passing in a large number of keywords to represent the content of a page, you can use ContentDB to request that page's JSON metadata record via a key. The size of records and types of data are close to unlimited. Since the data is stored server-side, the database requests are extremely fast and will load the page's metadata into the ad response in real-time.

If you are using natural language processing or a similar method for creating contextual targeting metadata, you can store that data in ContentDB prior to an ad request, and the data will persist as long as you like.

You can also use Adzerk macros as ContentDB keys. For example, if you want to target metadata based on a user's IP address, that IP address can be stored as a key along with the corresponding data.

Learn More

Our knowledge base explains how to implement ContentDB in detail. For more information, please get in touch with our account management team.

Adzerk Ranks 262 in the Inc. 500 List, 5 in North Carolina

Inc. 5000 - Adzerk makes Inc. 500

Adzerk is proud to announce that we are ranked #262 on the 2015 Inc. 500, a list of the fastest growing private companies in the United States.

Our three-year growth rate was 1,726%, based on 2014 revenue of $2.1 million.

We ranked #5 for North Carolina companies on the list, and we were the highest ranking software company in NC. Overall, we ranked #28 for software companies in the US!

This is a huge achievement for the Adzerk team, and everyone who was a part of Adzerk in the past three years was essential for making this happen. But making the Inc. 500 would have been impossible without our customers.

They've built their businesses on top of our ad server and APIs and have worked with us to create a better ad serving ecosystem. They are an awesome group of publishers and developers, willing to try new solutions and dedicated to making the internet a better place. We honestly love working with them and highlighting their stories on our site.

So this award is also for you, Adzerk customers! Let's do it again next year.

5 Out of the Box Ideas for Using an Ad Server API

If you think that an ad server API is useful only for serving banners to web pages and mobile apps, think again. An ad serving API that can deliver any form of content on request, such as Adzerk's Native Ads API, is a powerful tool for delivering context-driven content in real-time.

This content can be an advertisement (an image, a video, a block of text, an interactive app, etc.) or a notification for alerting users. Since an API can be called by various software, any number of events can trigger a request for content. Once the content is delivered (in JSON format in the case of Adzerk), the software can render the raw contents any way it needs to.

Versatility makes an ad server API a great choice for delivering content that is:

  • Time specific
  • Location specific
  • User specific
  • IP specific
  • Language specific
  • OS/browser specific

While it is possible to host content on a CDN and use targeting rules to retrieve it for specific users, an ad server API simplifies the delivery process, responding to requests that contain targeting parameters like geo-location, keywords, etc.

Here are some of the more creative solutions an ad server API can provide:

1. Mobile App Notifications

Mobile app notifications from ad server API

Sometimes standard push notifications aren't enough. Perhaps you need to serve customized images or video in your app, or serve notifications to very specific segments of a large userbase. You could filter 50,000,000 users to reach your audience of females from the Bay Area who have logged in at least once per week, but it will be time and labor intensive without an ad server.

By passing user data into your ad server request (or storing data locally with Adzerk's UserDB), you can leverage the ad serving engine to make decisions about which content to serve.

2. In-Store Displays

In-store displays from ad server API

We may not have "Minority Report"-style eye scanners yet (and many would argue that this is a good thing) but digital ads in stores can still offer customized ads by making requests to an ad server. Stores can display different content at different times of day, frequency cap ads to limit how often they appear to shoppers, and even respond to data from the registers.

For instance, if Nike shirt ads lead to more sales than Adidas shirt ads, an ad server could count a purchase as a conversion and optimize its serving so Nike ads appear more frequently.

3. In-Flight Content

In-flight content from ad server API

Ads are often shown during or in between in-flight content, but since these ads are untargeted, they are usually of low value. An airline can make ad requests for multiple placements (i.e. seats) before a flight, using the metadata returned from the ad server to load ad units stored locally on the plane.

A flight that is set to arrive in New York can display ads pertaining to local businesses, like restaurants and other attractions, and demographic data from flyers (such as age, gender, miles flown, etc.) can be used for more personally relevant ads.

4. Wearable Technology

Wearable technology from ad server API

While the small screens of smart watches can't offer the same inventory brands are used to, apps for wearable devices can send alerts and branded messages. As for mobile notifications, an ad server simplifies the process of deploying messages to granular user segments.

An ad server can also work in conjunction with beacons— if a smart watch wearer wanders into a beacon's range, an app can make an ad request passing in the beacon ID, which can trigger any number of messages. This is especially powerful if other behavioral data is passed in the ad request as well.

5. Digital Billboards

Digital billboard from ad server API

Most digital billboards rotate their ads statically, but requesting ads from an ad server can increase the value of their inventory. Imagine billboards that display relevant ads at different times of day (like breakfast ads during the morning commute) or respond to weather and traffic conditions. Making a request to an ad server takes care of all the decision making.

Want to Learn More?

The future of digital advertising will be determined by getting relevant messages to the correct users in a useful context. APIs offer the versatility needed to expand inventory to those contexts.

Adzerk's Native Ads API returns JSON data that can be used in any of these five applications. If you're interested in checking out the API, get in touch with us and we'll set you up with a trial account.