If you have been wanting to run an ad server for testing AdSense or simply to just better manage your ad inventory and available placements, you are in luck. Google has launched their new Ad Manager platform, a “hosted ad management solution”. It is free for publishers (at least it is as of now), although you need to apply, and it is hosted, which means you do not need to install your own ad server to do it for you.
The setting up within the control panel looks confusing at first glance, but there are very prominent tutorials set up that walk publishers through the six steps to setting up an ad order: Ad Slot, Upload, Placement, Targeting, Code & Ad Product.
There is also a great demo available here, so if you aren’t sure how to use it, or not sure if it is something that could be beneficial to your site, it is worth watching as a general overview of the program. It is just under three minutes long. There is a non-video tour here, if you prefer not to watch a video.
Some other interesting things I noticed while playing around with my Ad Manager account:
- Offers geotargeting (Country, region or state, metro or DMA, and city )
- Can target campaigns based on type of browser (so advertise Firefox referrals to those using only IE) and browser language (target those who use various languages)
- Can target based on operating system
- You can use your own site’s demographic information to target ads based on gender/age. This is not shared amongst publishers. More information here.
- There is also support for using Ad Manager to run pop-up and floating ads on your sites.
- Can use AdSense for remnant ad inventory
- All ad images (whether regular images, Flash, rich media) are all hosted by Google, meaning you do not have to use your own bandwidth to serve the ads.
- If running Flash ads, there is an option to specify an image ad to run in place of a Flash ad if the end user does not have Flash installed/enabled.
- Automatic resizing of images (a larger creative will be reduced in size, while a smaller ad in a larger space would not be enlarged)
- Options for using a workaround to run interstitial ads.
- Frequency capping
- Assign people to various roles within the Ad Manager account (such as sales managers)
- Information in your Ad Manager account is NOT shared with AdWords or AdSense reps, unless you specifically chose to grant them access (such as assign them a role)
Now, for now using Ad Manager is free. However there are hints in the terms & conditions that there could be a fee associated with it at some point.
Program Fee. Google reserves the right to charge fees for Program-related training and, upon sixty (60) days advance notice (the “Fees Notice Period”), to charge fees for the Program. In the event that Google charges fees for the Program, You will have the right to terminate the Program during the Fees Notice Period.
That being said, it could be a situation similar to the AdSense for Search fees where it would only be used for site intensive users or media intensive users (ie. those that upload and display a lot of rich media / flash advertisements). Not only that, 60 days is a long amount of time to figure an alternative out if it does go to a fee-based system at some point.
It is currently only open to a small group of publishers, but you can apply for an invite or update. There are also testimonials from those already using it. I will post more about it after I have had a chance to use it.