Server-Side Ad Serving: The Future of Monetization
7 min read
Server-side ad serving frees publishers of client-side ad tags and gives the power to control their monetization destiny.
Historically, publishers have relied on third-party client-side tags or bulky in-app SDKs to serve ads and monetize their sites/apps. In doing so they created an Internet filled with slow-to-load webpages, apps that crash, malware, obtrusive banner ads, and PII-leakage.

This approach set in motion retaliations that have helped to diminish ad revenue, including:

The rise of ad blockers (that can eat into at least 35% of revenue) International privacy laws that make it harder to monetize hundreds of millions of users (like GDPR, CCPA, and LGPD) Banner blindness and low CTRs that make ads less valuable to advertisers (lowering eCPMs) User attrition from visitors unhappy with ads and slow load times Internet browsers auto-blocking third-party cookies

Client-side ad tags and a focus on programmatic ads have brought us here - but the good news is that the industry is evolving: as the months go by, more and more companies are rethinking their ad strategies, with a push toward monetizing via direct-sold placements enabled through server-side ad requests.

A server-side ad strategy allows publishers to (1) monetize ad block users, (2) ensure ads are GDPR/CCPA compliant, and (3) display beautiful, high-value native ads that users actually enjoy.

This article dives into what server-side ad serving is and why we expect it to be the future of ad monetization.

Table of Contents:

What is server-side ad serving?

Server-side ad serving is one method by which publishers request and place ads or internal promotions on their digital properties. While traditional ad calls involve on-page (client-side) pings, server-side calls happen outside of the client via a backend, asynchronous request at time of page load.

It involves, at time of ad impression:

Sending a request to an internal or third-party ad decision engine, which picks the winning ad to display and returns the ad details in JSON Parsing the data in the response Inserting the raw information directly into your mobile…
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