Revive Adserver is a free, open source ad server system, maintained by a project team with the same name.
Revive Adserver can be used by owners of individual websites, publishers of multiple websites, ad networks, ad networks, advertising agencies, or advertisers.
What is an ad server used for?
When managing a website, or perhaps even multiple websites, there can be a lot of work involved in putting advertisements on the site and removing them again, especially when this is done by entering the ads directly into the site’s coding. It takes a lot of time and it reduces flexibility. An advertising server (usually shortened to ad server) like Revive Adserver can provide a real solution in this scenario for publishers.
For ad networks, Revive Adserver can provide the processing power to create and manage all advertising campaigns for their clients, including direct advertisers, agencies, affiliate networks and house ads. On the other side of the equation are the websites that carry the ads for the network. Revive Adserver delivers and measures all ads, clicks and conversions.
For an advertisers, the ability to manage and optimize the various campaigns that are displayed by publishers and networks is key. It enables them to see which banners work the best in terms of click through or conversion. It even allows for rather advanced A/B testing.
How does Revive Adserver work?
Websites and zones
In Revive Adserver , one can define websites, and also one or more zones for each website. A zone represents a space on the web pages where ads are supposed to be displayed. For every zone there is a little snippet of HTML code, which must be placed in the site, at the exact spot where the zone should go. This forms the integration between the site and Revive Adserver . It is a one time job, that will take little time for an experienced webmaster or developer. The word ‘zone’ is a term in Revive Adserver , other systems refer to it as ‘location’, ‘spot’, ‘placement’ or ‘position’.
Advertisers, campaigns and ads
One can also create advertisers, campaigns and ads in Revive Adserver . Those can be internal campaigns or campaigns from direct advertisers, but also ads from external ad networks like Google AdSense, from affiliate networks, or from advertisers and agencies that use systems like DoubleClick for Advertisers (DFA). Nowadays, more and more ad space is filled using real time bidding, by means of exchanges such as AppNexus or the Google DoubleClick AdExchange.
Targeting: the right ad at the right spot
The final step is to link the right campaigns to the right zones, effectively determining which ads will appear where. This can be combined with various forms of targeting, matching the display of ads to specific situations. Revive Adserver can handle targeting based on date, day of week and hour of day, geographic area (country or city, and more), web browser used by the visitor, and language set by the visitor, to name just a few. There are also advanced targeting options, using known information about members or customers (like their gender, education or age range), or from known details about the site’s content and structure (for instance: display the ad only in the ‘news’ section or anywhere but the ‘sports’ pages).
Statistics: to measure is to manage
Revive Adserver measures how often ads are displayed and clicked, and has reports for these metrics plus ad revenue, for the publisher, advertiser and webmaster. It also has functionality to measure conversions, leads or transactions on the advertiser’s website that occur as a result on a click on a banner that was displayed on the publisher’s site.
The features mentioned above are in fact just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more advanced features and use cases.
Advanced applications and extensions
Revive Adserver is the successor of another open source project called OpenX Source. With the release of version 2.8 of the OpenX Source software in early 2009, an important feature was available for the first time: the plugin architecture.
The developers of the Revive Adserver (when it was still known as OpenX Source) came to the realization that they wouldn’t be able to incorporate all the features that all of their users around the world would like. Instead, Revive Adserver has a plugin framework that enables third party developers to add functionality to the software, without having to make changes to the core code. This is an approach that has proven to be highly successful in other open source software like WordPress or web shop system Magento.