Running your own ad server can open up a lot of possibilities when it comes to delivering ads on your blog or across multiple blogs. If your looking to centralize management of your ads, create a unique offering, cut down on ad blindness, then running an ad server is the way to go.
An easy ad server to install and operate is OpenAds, formally known as PHPAdsNew. The software is freely available and most unix based hosting services offer it as part of their administrative control panel.
Installing the software is pretty straight forward. However, getting a handle on how to load up advertisers, create advertising zones for your blog, and then map ad inventory up to ad zones can be a little bit of a learning curve.
Fortunately, the software comes with a good bit of documentation. It’s entirely possible to install the ad server and get it setup without any prior knowledge of how it works. However, if you can find the talent, I recommend hiring the initial setup out to someone who knows how to do it and then copy what they’ve done.
There are a few draw backs to running your own ad server though, like concerns about server up time and on-going software maintenance. If you don’t want to be concerned about maintaining software updates, or keeping servers online, then an alternative solution is Google’s Ad Manager.
Google provides an ad server that’s very similar in concept to OpenAds called Google Ad Manager. The service is extremely simple to use and it comes with Google style tutorials to help walk you through the getting started process.
Because the service is provided by Google, you shouldn’t have to worry about software or servers and you get reporting on click-thru rates.