Key Points

  • Video ad servers and display ad servers are often one and the same.
  • However, the capabilities of dedicated video ad servers can be stronger.
  • Publishers newly entering the ad space can save themselves time and headaches by adopting ad servers that can handle both ad formats.

Video ads and display ads feel like opposites in some ways. They involve different creative, they have different average CPMs, they show up in different places and they come in different unit types. 

But what about ad servers? Are video ad servers any different from display ad servers?

While the end result is quite different, most mainstream ad servers today are capable of serving both display ads and video ads with relative ease. However, there are some important differences to understand, and we're going to cover those in this article. Read on to learn everything you need to know.

No matter what kind of hosted ad server you're using, at the end of the day, you need to know that you are maximizing your ad revenue. That's what matters to publishers, and it's what Playwire puts first. Want to learn more about how we can grow your digital advertising revenue? Reach out.

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The Complete Guide to Ad Servers

The Complete Guide to Ad Servers

They're Often the Same Thing

Let's get this out of the way: Most hosted ad servers you can use today are capable of serving both display ads and video. In other words, they're video and display ad servers - not one or the other.

Why? Because so many publishers want to run both display ads and video ads. And advertisers are the same - they want to reach their target audiences in multiple ways, and video and display ads are two of those ways.

In many cases, it simply wouldn't make sense for an ad server to be display or video only. That would just be them limiting their ability to make money off of certain types of publishers. 

Meanwhile, the technology required to server display and video ads is mostly the same with just a few minor differences. Adding video to the mix wasn't a big strain on most existing ad servers' technological resources, so there was no reason not to do video ads.

The Difference Is What You See on the Screen

Obviously, there is a difference. For the end user, it's the difference between a still image and a video. It's also the difference between a display banner ad and a video player that's either embedded in the content or floating alongside the content viewport.

That's the main difference, though. The other parts of the equation are largely the same - you still have a user, publisher, advertiser, piece of creative and ad server. To be video-capable, however, ad servers need to be able to receive video ad requests from video players. 

Beyond that, the differences are minor. Most publishers and users wouldn't know the difference.

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Ad Server Resource Center

The Complete Ad Server Resource Center

Dedicated Video Ad Server?

If video ad servers and display ad servers are so similar, why, then, do dedicated video ad servers exist at all? 

To start, they're pretty rare. But some publishers are video content only, so it would make sense that they would want an ad server that focuses on video. Focusing on video ad serving may enable these ad servers to accommodate more advanced types of video ad units and go deeper into video-specific reporting, analytics, and forecasting.

Do you need a dedicated video ad serving platform? Ultimately, only you can answer that question. But really, the only reason to actively pursue a dedicated ad server is if you never intend to run any other kind of ad. 

Most publishers can't be sure that they'll only ever do one type of ad campaign or content, so you may save yourself some hassle by going with a top ad server that can accommodate both display and video. 

Playwire: Serving Up the Best in Video and Display

In most cases, it's not accurate to think of display ad servers and video ad servers as completely different entities. That's because most mainstream ad servers can do both - and do them really well.

There are differences between servers, however, and a dedicated video ad server could afford video-only publishers some benefits in the form of more power and more intuitive reporting and analytics.

But when it comes down to it, you probably won't go wrong with an ad server that can do both display advertising and video advertising. The key, however, is making sure it's looped into an ad tech stack that is perfectly optimized to maximize your yield.

That's where Playwire comes in. From server setup to yield ops and beyond, we've got publishers' backs. We can have your back, too. Ready to get started? Contact our team online today.

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