Ad Server User Guide

1. Orders & Segments

1.1 Order

The Order is the main operational entity that encapsulates all the information needed to deliver creatives to the ad network users.

The main scope of an order is to group segments together for the purpose of obtaining aggregate measurements like ad impressions, unique visitors and other metrics for the objects inside the campaign.

The relations between an Order, a Segment and Ads are the following:

Each Segment runs independently of other Segments of the same Order based on its targeting;

The main operation workflow for deploying a campaign – order is:

  1. Create a New Order (Orders > New Order); Choose the owner account of the order and main user of the order. Choose an additional user if necessary (this additional user can view this order and receive order alerts). Choose other parameters like order name, agency, customer, billing reference, sales agent and order type and Save.
  2. Create a Segment; Choose Start and End Date of the Segment and Delivery Type; Set the booking impressions (only for some Delivery types) and Target limits;
  3. Select the Media Spaces where the ad will run (Media Space = Site + Section + Zone);
  4. Set other Targeting (geo, frequency, hour/day etc.), if necessary;
  5. For Delivery Types that needs inventory reservations Reserve ad inventory. Check if the reserved inventory is satisfactory and Save the Segment.
  6. Go to the Ad Library and create the creatives for the campaign;
  7. Return to Orders > Segment and on the Manage Ads section choose the creatives you want to assign on this segment and allocate them;
  8. Start the segment;

On the Order editing screen, the user has the option to enable both Post Tracking and Interactions Tracking on creatives. Enabling post tracking on the Order page will enable it by default on all the segments contained by it.

The user also has the option to set a Maximum overall budget and a Maximum daily budget for the respective order.

The Ad Server Management System will deploy the new Segments based on the System Update Times.

The current run priority and status of any segment from the system can be observed in the SYSTEM LIVE PROBABILITY table.

Any Order or Segment can be modified at any time. The Ad Server Management System will recalculate the serving priorities due to historical data and current settings every hour.

1.2 Segments

The Segment is the main ad serving unit responsible with targeting, capping, media spaces inventory reservation, creative allocation, delivery limitations, serving companions, pricing, etc.

The Segments are grouped in an Order (Campaign) in order to have aggregated reporting statistics across business entities and also to have a high level of customization in ad delivery operations.

Each Segment can be controller individually inside an Order by status and can have its own combination of Media Spaces.

Each Segment can have its own targeting filters and can contain an unlimited number of creatives assigned.

Segments can be excluded from one-another by using the Collision Avoidance tags.

The segment control parameters are:

1.1.1 Types and Delivery

Delivery types with inventory reservation:

Delivery types without inventory reservation:

Special types:

1.1.2 Media Spaces

The Media Spaces represent the publisher network trafficking objects and it models the structure of an ad network through sites, sections and zones.

In order to select a combination of Media Spaces, these must be created in advance in the Settings module: Settings > Sites, Settings > Sections, Settings > Zones.

In order for a Segment to run on all the Sections of a site, the top level Account option must be ticked instead of individual Sections when selecting from the SECTIONS tree. After adding the selection to the list, the Sections option will read “Not specified”, meaning that the Segment will run on all the sections of that respective Media Spaces combination.

In order for a Segment to run on all the Publisher Sites, the top level Account option must be ticked instead of individual Sites when selecting from the SITES tree. After adding the selection to the list, the Sites option will read “Run on network”, meaning that the Segment will run on all the sites of that respective Media Spaces combination.

Zones must be selected individually when doing a Media Spaces combination.

Media Spaces Restrictions can also be set in place to restrict an ad from running on selected Media Spaces combinations. This can be done under the Media Spaces Restriction tab and the process is similar to the one described above for Media Spaces selection.

1.1.3 Targeting filters

For a better control over the delivery of the Segment, targeting filters can be set in place.

The user has the option the set a daily fixed number of Impressions, Clicks or even an overall daily budget.

Frequency filtering

Frequency capping allows the user to set different frequencies per visitor. A frequency capping can be set per the entire ad or a number of days with a Repeat ad each “X” minute option. This option will stop the delivery for each unique visitor until the time span has passed.

All capping filters can be combined with the first matching condition being applied to limit the delivery per unique visitor.

Geographic filtering

Ads can be geographically targeted by IP address on three levels of localization: Country, Region and City.

IP filtering

Ads can be targeted by an IP address class or by a single IP.

Time filtering (Hour/Day)

Different Hour/Day intervals for the Segment to run can be set from the Hour/Day tab.

Keywords filtering

Ads can be targeted ads by keywords from the URL or Referrer of the ad placement page.

Custom parameters

This filter can be used in custom defined specific scenarios.

Browser/OS

Ads can be targeted based on the Browser or Operating System used.

Resolution

Ads can be targeted based on Screen Resolution by setting the Maximum and Minimum width/height of the Browser’s Resolution.

1.1.4 Ad assignments

Each Ad from the Ad Library can be allocated to any Segment that has an appropriate Media Space selected. This means that an Ad can be allocated to a Segment only if that Segment contains a Media Space with a zone that matches the creative’s size.

Ads are allocated to segments using the Manage Ads section from the bottom of the page.

Pressing the “Choose” button will open a selection of ads with sizes compatible with the zones selected in the Media Spaces of the Segment.

An ad is assigned to a segment by first selecting the desired Zone from the dropdown and then pressing the Assign button.

Manual priority:

The rotation of each ad can be specified manually using the Priority value. If left blank, the system will run the creatives evenly distributed.

Display mode:

The user can also override the run period of a particular ad by selecting different start and end dates from the ones of the segment.

1.1.5 Inventory reservation

Inventory reservation is probably the most important method in ad trafficking and day-to-day operations.

There are three major Ad delivery types:

The inventory reservation system will try to guarantee the delivery plan when you book it on a Segment and the Ad Server System will automatically calculate the delivery probability in order to have the same delivery rate as the one planned.

All Segment types that needs inventory reservations (Uniform, Quick, Forced) will be automatically adjusted by the system after the booking plan and will have priority in front of other type of Segments that do not require inventory reservation.

How to reserve inventory:

  1. Choose all the Media Spaces where the Segment will run and make all other targeting settings;
  2. Use "Reserve Inventory" to make inventory reservation for this Segment (the reservation process can take between a few seconds and 1 minute, depending on the Segment parameters) Order > Segment > Reserve Inventory;
  3. Check to see if the Inventory forecast is acceptable for the Segment and Save it;
  4. If you want to modify the Media Spaces, the booked inventory will be deleted and the Reservation must be done again. You can delete the inventory manually Order > Segment > Delete Inventory, or the system will do it automatically when you save the new Media Spaces configuration.

The inventory reservation can be rebooked at any time. The Ad Server System will calculate the running priorities after the current reservation numbers. If you rebook the Segment, the old inventory data will be deleted.

Note

The inventory reservation mechanism uses historical data so, in order to have available impressions for booking the media spaces (site - section - zone), you must first have traffic data (ads impressions) for at least a full week.

All inventory reservation modifications will go into effect at the beginning of the following hour.

2. Settings

All the advertising network settings can be managed from the Settings tab of the interface.

2.1 Accounts (Acc)

The Accounts section of the Ad Server can be found in the Acc tab under the left-hand side Settings menu option.

The Ad Server security architecture is based on a classical tree organization structure compounded by accounts formed by publishers, advertisers and users units.

An account is a collection of users with similar rights over functional entities like orders, sites, zones etc.

ad server organization structure
Network (Publisher) Is the primary container for Sites, Sections and
Zones (ad network).
Can own sub-networks composed by sites, sections
and ad slots.
Owns Advertisers accounts
and can manage and access all its Child
Account Objects.
Advertiser Can own sub-networks or advertisers.
Subordinate to one Network. Owns Orders and Creatives Library. Can
manage and access all its Child
Account Objects.

2.1.1 Publishers

The Publisher represents a collection of the following objects grouped under the same account:

Basically, the publisher account can manage sites and campaigns on media spaces belonging to him or to other subordinated publishers.

2.1.2 Advertisers

An Advertiser account is usually owned by a Publisher account. Its main scope is to group Orders (Campaigns) under the same authority with specific security rights.

Due to flexible security management rights Advertiser account and users can be easily configured to have access to complex rights like Order editing, Creatives entry and full Reports to only viewing certain global Reports.

An Advertiser account can be easily upgraded to a full Publisher account if necessary.

2.1.3 Users(logins)

Users can access the Ad Server by using their login credentials (email and password).

Each user is placed under the Account security context and can access almost all Account objects.

Users can be heavily customized to have different levels of access using the following sections under the Settings – Acc menu options:

2.1.4 User System Permissions

User access can be customized to different levels of functionality using the System Permission options under the Settings – Acc interface option.

2.2 Site

A Site is an abstract object that models a real website or a business entity with similar attributes.

The Site attributes are:

2.3 Section (Sec)

A Section is an abstract object that models functional or similar content section of a site (ex. a main site category like “sports” or a more generic “homepage” section).

The Section attributes are:

The User has to option to duplicate a specific section on all of his accounts;

Note

On every account, at least one section must be defined in order to book spaces in the Ad Media Spaces editing interface.

2.4 Zone

The Zone represents the abstract object that uniquely identifies an ad slot in a web page (or on any other media type).

The Zone attributes are:

Note

Each web page or media type can hold an unlimited number of zones. It is recommended to have only one distinct zone per page (unique Zone KeyID), although the system can also run with duplicated zones on the same page.

On every account at least one zone must be defined in order to book spaces in Ad Media Spaces editing interface.

2.5 Custom parameters (Pars)

The custom parameters can be used for a variety of custom targeting.

The Customer parameter attributes are:

Note

The system will use and always store the latest values of the custom parameters sent from the HTML ad tags.

Custom parameters are placed under Account security policy and can be used in Ad Media Targeting interface accordingly. Also, the values are stored attached on the Publisher from which the ad request is made and will be used on serving time in the same manner: an ad request from a site will have access only to the parameters set on the site account.

3. Ad Library

All the creatives owned by an Account can be found in the Ad Library. They are referenced by a unique assignment ID used to associate the creative with an Ad.

Every creative is build using one of the existing templates found in the Ad Server.

All of the Ad Server Ad Templates can be found HERE.

4. Reports

With our Reporting system you can get accurate and detailed reports of all your ad campaigns results in an easy and fast way. Also, the reporting engine can perform real-time data, accurate analysis on all system objects like ads, orders, publishers and sites.

Reports are conveniently designed to meet different business scenarios. You can find standard and dynamic reports such as: Order global, Ads by Media Spaces, Post Tracking analysis (conversions), Inventory forecast, Custom parameters analysis reports and others.

All standard reports can be scheduled by email daily or on custom time span interval and can be exported with Excel type applications.

Additionally, for business analysts, the Reporting Server comes with a more sophisticated OLAP engine where all system measures (impressions, clicks, revenues) can be analysed by a variety of dimensions, like Publisher, Site, Order, Segment, Client, Agency, Order type, Creative template in a fast way using Microsoft Pivot Table technology.

All access to reports and the date inside them are managed by the system rights policy and can be easily customized at user level. So, you can customize access specific to only some objects or to specific reports for every user login provisioned in the system.

4.1 Processing Cycle

Processing engines collect and process trafficking data from ad servers at the beginning of every hour so that the latency from real-time data is minimal. When the processing cycle ends, the aggregated data is pushed to the admin interface so you can see newly counts for every object in the system with a latency of maximum 1 hour and a half.

Additionally, a daily second processing cycle is used to count and report statistics like daily unique impressions for every order or ad. This process runs at the end of the day, when all the day’s trafficking data is available.

4.2 Counting methods

4.2.1 Impressions

An impression represents a unique creative visualization in a web browser context.

For all rich media templates that are served with Standard HTML tags for JavaScript, the ad impressions are counted using a client side 1x1 pixel image designated as a tracking request pushed to client browser after the ad creative script is outputted.

For Pop Up/Under and Transitional creatives, the tracking 1x1 pixel are displayed together with the creatives.

All these 1x1 pixel requests with 200 HTTP status code are collected on the ads web server logs and then analysed by the processing engine hourly.

4.2.2 Clicks

A click represents a unique user action on a creative in a web browser context.

The clicks are tracked with the Ad Server click handler that receives the click action from the creative and then redirects (302 HTTP) the user agent to the final destination of the advertiser.

All click requests are collected in the ads web server logs and then analysed by the processing engine hourly.

4.2.3 Fraud and Cache Filtering

The processing module extracts the impressions and clicks directly from the ads web server logs and before validation and assignment to the campaigns, a set of fraud and cache protection rules will be applied:

Additional to processing filters, a fraud elimination mechanism exists on serving time in order to ban manual requests for impressions and clicks.

4.3 Campaign reports

On the Orders tab of the Reports main module you can find a list with all the system campaigns on which current logged user credentials has access. The available reports can be accessed on entire Order level or even at Ad level.

Reports available for Orders and Ads:

  1. Global report: contains a wide range of data set, starting with general measures like impressions, clicks, CTR, total unique visitors and ending with detailed view of counts at ad, site, creative & zone, date, frequency per visitor, geographic and click reference levels. This report contains data from all running period of the campaign or ad.
  2. Media spaces report: shows data for an order or ad drilled-down by custom period with any combination of the followings: creative and network objects (publisher, site, section, zone);
  3. Post tracking (conversions) report: shows post tracking statistics grouped by reference with unique per day calculations; this report has data only if the Ad has the post tracking feature activated and successful post track request occurs;

Order reports are generated every hour after the end of hourly processing cycle and the unique visitors counts are updated at the end of the daily process cycle.

4.4 Discrepancies with 3rd party ad servers

When an ad server delivers ads that are hosted by a third party, small reporting discrepancies between the two systems may occur. For example, the publisher's ad server will initially count the impression and the third party will count the impression only after the ad is returned.

Discrepancies may also result from:

5. Help

The Help section of the Ad servers is used to raise new support tickets and also manage existing ones.

You can easily filter tickets by their ID, Opened user, title, category, status, creation date or Last update date.

You can raise a new Support ticket by pressing the Add new ticket button on the top-right hand side of the page.

The Issue title represents the title of the support ticket. A ticket must be included into one of the categories found under the Issue category dropdown before submitting.

It is best practice to add as many details as possible into the Issue Detail text field before submitting the ticket. (ex. Creative ID, Segment ID, Order ID). Screenshots, files or other archives can also be added to the support ticket by using the upload field found on the right of the text field.

Other users or relevant people can be added to the support thread using the Add to CC email field.

The Ad Server Knowledge base can also be found under this Section.

5.1 F.A.Q.

Q: How do I create an account and give reporting access to one of my suppliers?

To create a new sub-account, you must first navigate to your account’s settings page found under Settings (Setup) – Acc and press the New Account button in the Actions section of the page. A new Account setup page will be opened.

Please make sure that your account is marked as the owner of the new account under the Account Name and Type section. Fill in the Account name and press Save.

In order to create a new user for the new supplier account, press the New User button from the Actions section.

Fill in the First name, Last name and Email fields and set a Password (and Confirm password) for the new user. The password can be changed by the user later on.

In order to give the new user reporting access, please select the Reports – Reporting area option from the System permissions tab and add it to the list.

Under the Reports Permissions tab, check the desired options. The most common options are:

Under Sites Visibility you must add all the accounts or individual sites that the previously set reports will apply to.

Provide the new user with the Login URL either by using the Send by Email option or copying it and sending it directly. The Login URL can be found under the Quick login section of the page.

Q: I received a new creative in the form of an html file and some other additional files. How do I add it to the Ad Server?

When importing a creative into the Ad Server it is very important to choose the right template for the job (more information about the available templates can be found HERE).

Copy the .html file content into the HTML Content text field of your new ad and import all the other additional files into the ad’s Additional files section. Please make sure you follow the folder structure exactly and set all necessary Ad Attributes to the desired specs.

Quick tip!

Use the ad Preview option to see how your ad is being rendered on different screen sizes.

Q: I have imported my new ad but when I click it, nothing happens. What do I do?

If when clicking on your ad you are not redirected to your Destination URL, you must add the click macro to your HTML code. This can be done in two ways depending on the situation:

Q: I have assigned my ads on the _mobile zone but my ads aren’t showing. Why?

Please check that you have also implemented the adTag for that specific zone into the website page where you wish the ad to be delivered.

Quick tip!

A quick fix would be to change the suffix of the zone name from _mobile to _mob in Settings – Zone, as the Ad Server will change it automatically to _mob when the adTag is rendered into the page.

Q: I have created a new zone for my Account and assigned ads to it in an existing Inventory reservation type segment but it’s not delivering ads. Why is that?

In order for the System to be able to reserve inventory, it must first have a minimum of information about the websites it will reserve traffic from.

When creating a new zone for your Account, you must redo the inventory reservation for all the Inventory reservation type segments where the new zone will be assigned.

All the inventory reservation modifications will take effect at the beginning of the following hour.