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Introduction & Vision

One of the major challenges within the online advertising market is the massive fragmentation of companies, service & technology providers. A significant lack of standards, mix of technologies and disparate data centers makes integration between parties difficult if not impossible. The new advent of cloud-computing - massive central multi-tenant data centers for large-scale computing - introduces a new possibility of collaboration and integration between advertising companies. AppNexus has built the first such cloud-computing environments, and is building the software layers that will enable and push the new "cloud advertising" paradigm.

More and more the buying and selling of online display advertising is moving from a "bulk impression" model to a "user specific" buying model. Agencies, networks & publishers are getting smarter about which specific users are valuable for a given a campaign and require more and more detailed buying mechanisms to acquire said users. Acquiring individual users means that buyers of ad-inventory need to be able to apply their data and decision making systems on each individual impression. Today's mechanisms do not enable a buyer to do so and instead require bulk purchasing based on some coarse targeting parameters. Deeper integration attempts generally involve some level of HTTP redirects which bounce a user back and forth between various serving systems. (I wrote some more detailed information about the limitations of redirects on my blog here and here)

The low-latency environment of a cloud-computing environment enables a much deeper level of integration between buyers and sellers. With a dependable millisecond latency to buyers, sellers can request real-time valuations for each and every impression allowing both buyers and sellers to maximize the efficiency & yield of their inventory. Yet, such integration isn't easily possible without several core underlying integration technologies.

First – we must realize the association of one cookie-ID to another one. It would be impossible for buyer B to value an impression from seller S without knowing that S's user-id 'ABC' is the same as B's user-id '123'. For this reason AppNexus is providing a central ID Synchronization Service to enable all parties to synchronize their cookies to a central ID.

Second – to effectively make a pricing decision buyer B must have access to his cookie information. An impression without user-data is worthless. To address this issue AppNexus is launching a central Server-Side Data Store as a service to allow buyers and sellers to move their cookie-data into the cloud.

Third – there is no industry-wide standard that dictates how companies can trade inventory in a cloud environment. To facilitate this process AppNexus is defining standards and a set of tools that enable cloud customers to request and receive server-side valuations of their ad-inventory, track usage & billing information and enforce some basic quality standards. We call this the Cloud Impression Bus. (note that it's 'Bus' in the sense of a Computing Bus not a School Bus)

How it all fits together

ID Syncronization

Step one of the process is synchronize your cookie IDs to the central AppNexus cloud cookie ID. Because user's cookie are still browser-side the integration involves placing a simple HTTP pixel or javascript call which passes your cookie-ID to AppNexus once for each unique cookie that you see. For more information on the exact specifications please see the ID Service Specifications.

Cookie Data Migration

The next step is to migrate existing user data into the AppNexus server-side cookie store. Depending on how your data is stored and structured there are various ways in which you can accomplish this.

Details coming

Enable your decisioning systems to value users on a per-impression basis

Details Coming

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