When we talk about an ad server, what we really mean is a sometimes-small, but sophisticated piece of technology. Whenever we visit a web page with an ad, either the web server itself or our web browser makes a request to a remote server for that ad. This ad server will be provided a variety of information about how to find an ad that can earn the most money through clicks, views, or actions (I’ll explain these shortly).
In order to choose a specific ad, our server must be provided with targeting parameters. Servers will typically receive at least basic information about the viewer’s location (based on our IP address at minimum, and occasionally based on GPS information from our phone or computer), what operating system and web browser we’re using, maybe the content of the page we’re on, and maybe the last few pages we’ve visited on the current website.
We’ll focus on building an ad-targeting platform that has a small amount of basic information about viewer location and the content of the page visited. After we’ve seen how to pick an ad from this information, we can add other targeting parameters later.
ADS WITH BUDGETSIn a typical ad-targeting platform, each ad is provided with a budget to be spent over time. We don’t address budgeting or accounting here, so both need to be built. Generally, budgets should at least attempt to be spread out over time, and as a practical approach, I’ve found that adding a portion of the ad’s total budget on an hourly basis (with different ads getting budgeted at different times through the hour) works well.
Our first step in returning ads to the user is getting the ads into our platform in the first place.
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