What is the difference between DART, Open Ad Stream and AdSense?
January 13, 2010 11:24 AM   Subscribe

Could someone please bring me up to speed on the following online advertising services and how they work: 24/7 Real Media's Open Ad Stream, DART, and Google AdSense.

I have a very elementary understanding of basic online advertising concepts (i.e. PPC, search engine marketing), but I'd like to reach a point where I can talk intelligently about online ad services in general.

I would like to know how these specific ad technologies work. What are the differences between them? What basic things do I need to know?

Apart from attempting to research each one separately, my Google-fu has failed me in giving me a complete, concise answer comparing Open Ad Stream, DART, and AdSense.

Extra points for shared knowledge regarding online third-party advertising tags.

(Bows down before collective wisdom of hive mind) Much thanks in advance! And I apologize if my question is a bit open-ended -- I'm just looking to see what there is to possibly know.
posted by hellomina to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Best answer: I'm having a little bit of trouble parsing this. What exactly are you looking to do? Do you want to place ads on a website in order to monetise traffic? Do you want to drive traffic to your site via advertising on other sites or search engines?

Google Adsense is essentially the "webmaster's" side of Google Adwords, which is Google's PPC programme.

It shows ads to a visitor to your site based primarily on the site content, but also individual visitor's location, demographics (in some cases), etc.

Log out of Metafilter and you'll see these in action. A user from Canada will see locally relevant ads. A visitor from, say the UK will see a different set of ads. Metafilter makes anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars every time someone clicks the ads, or if they accrue some pre-determined amount of impressions.

That's Adsense, in a nutshell.

I'm not hugely experienced with DART or Open Ad Stream. What little I know of them is that they're not equivalent products to Adsense. They seem to be ad inventory management tools to help you serve effective ads to visitors to your site. (Whereas Adsense essentially IS the inventory.)

For example, let's say I if I had a deal with a sponsor who wanted 10,000 impressions of a banner in a particular place on my site, triggered only when a user visits my home page and stays there for more than 10 seconds. I'd use Open Ad Stream to track the behavior, trigger and track the ads as appropriate.

The roughly analogous product from Google is Google Ad Manager.

Someone with more experience using large scale ad management suites may want to correct me there.

It's worth noting that Google acquired Double Click, which produces DART.
posted by generichuman at 11:47 AM on January 13, 2010

Best answer: DART (aka Doubleclick) offers a variety of different products. DFP (Dart for Publishers) is an ad serving software product similar to Open AdStream (OAS). In both cases, you put tags into your web pages which call the ad server, and the ad server dynamically returns an appropriate ad into the page based on a variety of different parameters. Users log into the system to upload the creative files (which could be gifs, flash, javascript, video, etc) and set how many ads (aka "impressions") should run for a given time period or targeted to specific demographic categories or geographical areas. These systems also allow you to run reports for how the ad campaigns performed, and forecast available inventory. DFP is a little more popular than OAS; OAS is less expensive. There are pros and cons of both systems which I won't really get into.

DART also offers another product call DFA (Dart for Advertisers) which is tool used by ad agencies to serve and track ad campaigns that are running across multiple websites. The agency would then send a "3rd party tag" to the publisher, which they would upload into their ad serving software (DFP, OAS, or another system). This allows the advertiser to easily log in to one system to get reports and delivery metrics for their entire campaign even if they run on 20 different websites. In this scenario, the webpage calls the primary publisher ad server (the 2nd party), and then that system calls the 3rd party to actually deliver the ad. The downside to this is increased latency which often causes discrepancies in the number of impressions counted between the different systems. Another popular 3rd party ad server is Atlas.

Google AdSense is kind of a different animal, as generichuman mentions.
posted by bobafet at 11:58 AM on January 13, 2010

Response by poster: I'm just here to learn as much as I can for a position I am applying for (which prefers knowledge of the aforementioned services). I see my phrasing was incorrect in my question, as you cannot really 'compare' AdSense to DFP/DFA and OAS since they are completely different products. Thank you for clarifying that for me. Both answers so far are extremely helpful, and exactly along the vein of what I'm looking for.

Basically ,my Google queries bring up way too much for me to want to go through; I couldn't find a nice, simple explanation of them all. I'm just here for very streamlined, basic summaries.

I personally try to opt-out of ad-tracking cookies using this tool from the Network Advertising Initiative. Now I understand how the cookies work, at least with DFA.
posted by hellomina at 12:50 PM on January 13, 2010

If you're coming at this from a job-hunting angle, it might be helpful to be familiar with industry groups such as the IAB and Admonsters.
posted by bobafet at 1:12 PM on January 13, 2010

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