Comparing Ad Servers to Asset Management Systems


High performing creative production teams are those that are most organized when so many files come into play. If each creative has three files for instance, and ten different dimensions are created, in ten different languages, there are 300 files being designed and built. This doesn’t take into account the more raw assets like original video files that the design team may have been working on. Clearly there is a need for intelligent file storage systems and in the world of ad development these are called Asset Management Systems.

Some parties unfamiliar with the inner workings of an ad server may be unfamiliar with the storage facilitates that it has available. The third party ad server is not designed as a storage facility for creative. Creative uploaded to the ad server cannot easily be downloaded again, and the ad server does not support the upload of file types used for development such as FLA files or PSD files (the files used by the designer in the creation of layered images in Photoshop). There is however an area called the “creative library”. This is tree of folders inside the third party ad serving interface that can visualise and arrange creative before it is picked up for the trafficking process (see link below – Chapter 3 – Display ad serving). The creative library can be seen as ‘the drop off point’ for the creative, but it is an area relatively rudimentary compared to true Asset management systems.

Asset management systems are not designed for mass ad distribution like the third party ad server but provide secure archiving so that historical ads can be retrieved later. These systems also provide the ability to tag or label creative in intuitive ways (which is called the application of “meta data”) so that they can be easily retrieved, recovered and assembled later on. Assessment Management systems are also essential to Creative Agencies that work across many borders in many different countries.

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