Best Ad Server Platforms For 2021: Third Party Technology Companies (Free Options Included In List)

Best Ad Server Platforms For 2021: Third Party Technology Companies (Free Options Included In List)

ad servers company solutions 2020 demonstration image MonetizeMoreAs you build up an audience for your website, you start to realize there’s a whole world to explore outside of AdSense for monetization.

However, first, you need to pick an ad server, in the early days, most small publishers didn’t require an ad server, in many cases just implementing AdSense or joining an ad network would suffice.

However, to truly take your ad revenue strategy to the next level you need to implement an ad server and take full control of your ad inventory.

Advertising servers help publishers in many ways and make managing ads simple. They allow you to set up a variety of ad units, make advertisers compete, create stronger audience targeting, deliver advanced reporting and much much more.

In this ad server comparison guide, you’ll get all the information you need to take your next step towards publisher success.

Choosing the best-fit ad server for your business is an important and challenging decision. Sign up to MonetizeMore to get a personalized ad server recommendation.

Our top ad servers list for 2021

The following products represent the best of 3rd party ad servers available in 2021.


1.  Google Ad Manager (Formerly known as DoubleClick for Publishers – DFP)

Google Ad Manager logo

The first server on our list is one of the best and well known in the market. It hosts a long list of impressive features, is the preferred option for many premium publishers, and is called the Google Ad Manager (GAM) ad server.

Recently, Google rebranded its advertising products putting Ad Exchange under the same umbrella as Google Ad Manager.

GAM advertising solutions offer a range of great features such as Ad Exchange dynamic allocation, simple reporting and management tools, vast monetization options, and reliability.

Two versions of this server exist. The first version is the small business version which caters to small-time users which is free of charge. The second GAM version is more robust and aimed at premium publishers.

For publishers with websites generating 5 million page views or earning more than $5000 of income per month, MonetizeMore is offering a free GAM setup.


2. OpenX


OpenX is a highly functional platform that provides its users with a real-time auction of advertising space on reputable and famous publisher sites. The company delivers product offerings to both advertisers and publishers.

Reports have indicated that 96% of AdAge’s leading national advertisers use OpenX. Some of these companies include famous brands such as Electronic Arts, Samsung, and CBS Interactive.

From a publisher’s perspective, the OpenX advertising server helps publishers to take full control over programmatic and direct campaigns.

Publishers can manage their ad inventory across multiple formats while maximizing returns, conduct forecasting and, enjoying advanced reporting functionalities.

Click here to find out more about OpenX.


3. Smart Ad Server

Smart Ad Server

The team from the Smart Ad Server has more than 17 years of experience in building ad technologies. With their ad server, publishers can run either programmatic or direct campaigns through all digital formats and different screen sizes.

Publishers can optimize monetization with a unified auction process that helps them to maximize revenue from each ad impression. Their ad server is one of the most feature-rich options available on the market.

Some of the features include simple cross-platform trafficking, granular reporting, advanced targeting, a real-time forecasting tool, flexible ad building, and more.

Click here to learn more about the Smart Ad Server.


4. Rubicon Project


The Rubicon Project ad server is called Magnite, which gives over 60 000 publishers access to 900000 advertisers. Via the self-serve ad server, publishers can connect with premium ad buyers, showcase their ad inventory and reach their target audience more easily.

The interface is intuitive, self-serve and helps publishers to manage their ad inventory effectively while setting up close-knit relationships with advertisers wanting to reach specific audiences.

Additionally, publishers can gain access to Real-Time Insights, Automated Ad Pods, which enables publishers to increase ad revenue with technology, data protection, programmatic guaranteed, flexible priority levels, and more!

Click here to find out more about the Rubicon Project.


5. Verizon Media (Previously Oath)

Verizon Media

With Verizon Media’s ad server, publishers can gain access to advanced management and ad serving functionalities for the entire digital advertising landscape. You can efficiently manage campaigns across traffic types like display, video, and mobile with Verizon’s technology.

The benefits of using the Verizon Media ad server are many. Publishers can expect a streamlined workflow that enables them to manage complex processes in real-time with accurate forecasting tools.

Furthermore, publishers can enjoy advanced mobile targeting, cross-screen monetization, effective and simple programmatic management, accurate inventory management, and more.

Verizon Media’s ad-related services consist of a team with over 15 years of ad tech experience, they serve worldwide clients and serve over 200 billion ad requests per month.

Click here for more information about Verizon Media.


6. Zedo


Zedo was founded as early as 1999 and was one of the first companies to implement the self-service advertising module in multiple languages. Even today, it features one of the best direct sales tools in the market.

Besides being one of the oldest ad serving technology and the biggest independent solutions still in use, Zedo provides a long list of features for publishers.

Their ad server provides ad tracking, serving, planning & reporting, API integrations as well as expert customer services online 24/7.

Click here for more information about the features Zedo provides.


7. Kevel (Formerly AdZerk)


Kevel offers members of the ad industry a unique and custom solution unlike any other. With the Kevel API, users can build custom online ad serving platforms to cater to their own specific needs.

The Kevel API allows them to build a server fast, all while costing much less than creating an entirely new platform. They also provide all the necessary features such as giving full campaign control, increasing revenues, reporting capabilities, and more.

With Kevel’s white label product offerings, you can have a working publisher ad server up and running in a matter of weeks.

This unique product works so well that some of the most popular websites in the world including Bed Bath & Beyond, WattPad, Tradingview, and more use it.

Click here for more information about Kevel.


8. Broad Street


The Broadstreet ad server is best suited for small-medium sized businesses, local news, and magazine-styled sites which focus on direct sales.

For niche publishers, Broad Street can be the perfect fit. They help their clients provide as much value possible to advertisers thereby improving efficiency and overall performance.

With the Broad Street platform you can expect ease of use (little additional learning curve for previous GAM or OpenX users), automated reporting to make delivering reports to clients effortless, sponsored content analytics, newsletter advertising management via your dashboard, and even a white labeling option.

Click here for more information about Broad Street.


9. AdGear for Publishers


AdGear is an ad tech solutions company that provides publishers with a range of services such as ad serving, RTB, analytics, DSP, and more.

In 2016 Samsung acquired the Canadian-based company in support of Samsung’s Smart TV services. It now focuses on connecting Samsung OTT/CTV audiences to advertisers.

The AdGear team is highly responsive and stays up to date on any industry trends while continuously improving its products and preventing fraud.

Click here to find out more about Ad Gear.


10. AerServ (Part of the InMobi Company)


Aerserv is a mobile-focused monetization company that was recently acquired by InMobi, a global advertising platform. With Aerserv’s range of publisher products, it’s able to assist in monetizing mobile and in-app traffic with its ad inventory management systems, audience monetization, programmatic brand demand, and yield optimization technology.

It also provides users access to AerMarket, Aerserv’s ad exchange. Aerserv is an excellent option for mobile publishers as they aim to differentiate themselves from competitors with state of the art technology focused on mobile and app publishers.

Furthermore, each client that joins Aerserve becomes a close partner as their goal is to build long-term relationships with their clients serving every need possible. They help publishers with every step of the process from setup to monetization and provide regular support afterward.

Click here to learn more about Aerserve and its product offerings.


More tips to help you find the best fit for your business

When looking through our list of ad servers, keeping your individual needs in mind is very important. Many of the companies listed above have different specialties and features. Some are aimed at small-medium sized publishers while others cater only to premium websites.

If you are having trouble deciding which ad server companies would fit your business best, be sure to read our article on “How to Choose the Right Advertising Server for your Site” before making your decision.

For more technical advice, be sure to contact the MonetizeMore support staff to get answers to any other ad optimization, Google Ad Manager or Ad Exchange related questions.


What’s your programmatic revenue strategy for 2021?

At MonetizeMore, we help publishers get more revenue from their existing ad inventory. We’re a leading Google Publishing Partner with a suite of publisher monetization solutions that helps our clients reach revenue targets and solve ad operations headaches.

The above ad servers are a good start to narrow down the best-fit ad server for your business. However, choosing the right ad server requires a customized analysis and recommendation from an expert.

Sign up to MonetizeMore to get a personalized ad server recommendation.

request free ad operations consultations


What does ad server mean?

An ad server is a technology platform that helps publishers manage their ads. It allows them to set up a variety of ad units, make advertisers compete for ad impressions, create more effective audience targeting, deliver advanced reporting, optimize ad revenue, and more.

Is Google ads an ad server?

Google offers a wide range of services, of which the Google Ads platform is just one. Google Ad Manager is Google's ad server used by publishers to traffic, sell, and manage their ad inventories.

What is the DFP ad server?

The DFP ad server is now called Google Ad Manager. It's Google's flagship ad serving product used by publishers to manage their ads and optimize their ad revenue.

How much does an ad server cost?

There are many different ad servers available on the market, which makes it difficult to say in general what an ad server costs as prices vary. For Google Ad Manager, Google's ad server, it is free to use up to a specific impression threshold, which is 90 million impressions for specific regions. After that, users get charged for impressions from non-Ad Exchange and non-AdSense networks. Find out more about that here:


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Kean Graham

CEO and Founder at MonetizeMore

Kean is the resident expert in Ad Optimization covering areas like AdSense Optimization, DFP Management, and third-party ad network partnerships. Kean believes in the supremacy of direct publisher deals and holistic optimization as keys to effective and consistent ad revenue increases.

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