Ad Management Software | 4 | WebReference

Ad Management Software | 4

Advanced Features

[Editor's note: this article was written by Charlie Morris in August of 1998. As such, we cannot insure that information enclosed is up to date as of the time you are reading it. Please contact the vendors discussed for updated information on their individual offerings.]

Sites that are really serious about serving ads, especially large sites or groups of sites with diverse content, need more advanced capabilities provided by a more sophisticated ad-management package. We'll talk about some of the features to look for, then briefly describe each of the most popular stand-alone ad-management solutions.

Delivery Options

The simpler solutions use specific code for each advertiser. This means that if you change advertisers, you have to change the code on each HTML page. Not only is this a lot of work, but it makes it almost impossible to move an advertiser out of rotation exactly when their traffic target has been met, so you are forced to over-deliver on every contract. Sites with multiple advertisers need a system that can automatically add and remove different advertisers from rotation as traffic targets are met.

In additon, advertisers usually want even coverage. In other words, if they buy 30,000 impressions over a month, they want 1,000 per day for the entire month, not 15,000 for the first 2 days of the month. The better ad-management packages can keep track of how many times each banner has been served, and continually adjust delivery rate to meet traffic targets on time.

Multiple Ads on a Page

You need to be able to serve different ads to different positions on the same page. This enables you to use a variety of ad sizes and scale the pricing for different spots on the page. For example, you might have a standard 468x60 ad at the top of your page, a smaller square banner on a sidebar, and a low-priced banner at the bottom of the page.

Rich Banner Types

Just being able to serve images may not be enough. Web surfers get jaded quickly, and they are already tired of simple graphic banners. Some advertisers are now using Java, Flash or HTML banners, but not all ad-management packages can handle them.


Caching is a big issue, and many a lengthy diatribe about caching has appeared recently in the various online advertising forums. Since Web pages routinely get cached in various places, a substantial percentage of the ads your readers see are not being counted by your server, and you're not getting paid for them, unless your ad-management system has a way to defeat caching, or can "bust cache" as some say.

Comments are welcome

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Created: Aug. 19, 1998
Revised: Aug. 25, 1998