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Introduction & Vision
One of the major challenges within the online advertising market is the massive fragmentation of companies, services, and technology providers. A significant lack of standards among the mix of technologies and disparate datacenters makes integration between parties difficult if not impossible. The new advent of cloud computing--massive, central, multi-tenant datacenters for large-scale computing --introduces a new possibility of collaboration and integration between advertising companies. AppNexus has built the first such cloud-computing environment, 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, and publishers are getting smarter about which specific users are valuable for a given campaign and these advertisers now require more and more detailed buying mechanisms to reach those users. Acquiring individual users means that buyers of ad-inventory need to be able to apply their data and decision making systems to each individual impression. Instead, today's mechanisms require bulk purchasing based on some coarse targeting parameters. Attempts at deeper integration generally involve some level of HTTP redirects, which bounce a user back and forth between various serving systems. (I've written some more detailed information about the limitations of redirects on my blog here and here.)
This can change, however, in the low-latency environment of a computing cloud. 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 and yield of their inventory.
Such integration isn't easily possible without several core underlying integration technologies. First - we must realize the association of one cookie-ID to another. It would be impossible for ad 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 cookie information. An impression without user-data is worthless. To address this issue AppNexus is launching a central Server-Side Data Store Specifications 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 and 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
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.
Enable your decisioning systems to value users on a per-impression basis