Something we’ve never really delved very deeply into (until recently) is AD SERVING.

Ad Serving is delivering advertising in the form of banners and textual blocks into a website. And it’s the way a very large portion of the internet makes their money - by hosting the advertisements inside their website.

Fairfax publication ‘The Senior’ is one of our Silverstripe projects, and has always used a Silverstripe ad-serving extension. With a recent requirement to get more stats and more external control out of the ad-serving, we’ve changed some of the positions to serve through DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP).

Google’s products sometimes come from the left-field in terms of usability, and DFP is no exception. It’s pretty complex to work out what you’re doing - particularly getting your head around the terminology and structure.  None the less, once you’ve given up on the extensive help docs and just tried it out, there’s a lot of benefits to using it for your small publication - like a community or niche newspaper, or for your growing blog advertising. And it’s free when you’re a small(ish)-fry.

One of the main benefits of the DFP infrastructure is that it lets you sell advertising directly to a customer AND hooks you into the expansive Google advertising market - delivering ads through AdSense. Adsense sells your advertising space to the highest advertising bidder - so you don’t have to go out looking for advertisers.

That means when you don’t have direct-sales advertising, you can still be earning from your website ad spots. And if your website is niche, you can even choose the type of advertisers you run.

Controlling your Ad Inventory becomes far more powerful, and you can see how reporting clarity for your customers would make them happy.


The DoubleClick Ecosystem.

DFP doubleclick products

Imagine me going ‘uuuummmm….’

I learnt that integrating with other DoubleClick products (that other people in the ecosystem use) can be difficult - and that’s where some decision-making comes into play.

The DoubleClick world has products for creative applications, managing media bids, revenue management, search, and all the stats you could imagine. 

What we wanted was to give an ad agency access to manage CREATIVE and STATS for an order on The Senior. This would allow them to A/B test the creative to get the better results, and to review and report on the statistics related to those ads. It also lets them integrate ads running on The Senior into the entirety of their campaign - so they can see how ads on The Senior perform compared with ads for the same client running on comparative websites.

This doesn’t seem to be as straightforward as you’d hope from the likes of Google. And we’re hoping this post will be updated with a solution when we’ve worked through it. 
(Let me know if you know the answer).!!

As a stop-gap however we can give Agency access to the DFP stats for now, which lets them manage some aspects.

There’s also an extensive API system that makes just about everything programmable too - which lets you make what you want. That feels like it could get costly, but would hand a lot of power to a larger organisation running a network of websites.


(Sort-of) wrap up.

DFP is far more impressive as a publishing platform than what most in-CMS or other network-enabled Ad Servers can deliver. 

I want to say that I’ll finish this article with more solutions once we’ve worked out some issues that even Google haven’t been able to properly address for us yet.

Until then, if you’re running a small news outlet and would like to be making (and earning) more out of your advertising, it’s not a difficult initial setup to get you started with DFP. And we know how it’s done.