It all starts with OpenX. OpenX, from their web site at www.openx.org, is “a free, open source ad server that manages the selling and delivery of your online advertising inventory.” What exactly does that mean Let's break it down.
Online advertising is based on showing small graphical or text banner ads for services, as anyone who has spent a few hours on the Internet has probably noticed. They are similar to traditional print advertisements in that they are usually graphical and try to call attention to their product in the best way possible. But they are also more sophisticated then traditional print-based advertisements I that how many times they are seen, clicked on, and how often they lead to a sale can all be determined by tracking software. OpenX keeps track of all of that.
OpenX also deals with the potential hassle of rotating advertisements. A successful or curious web publisher would want to try out different advertisement banners on its site, to see which ones are the best. A web publisher without OpenX would have to manually edit the web page files to change one advertisement for another. When it was done, if the web publisher wanted to display another ad, he or she would have to make another edit. However, one of OpenX's basic functions is to automatically rotate advertisements in various different areas on your web site, so that many different advertisements can be automatically displayed over time.
All of the advertising banners that are available to be displayed on a web site are called its advertising inventory. Displaying them, possibly for a certain length of time, number of views, or number of clicks, is delivering the inventory. And getting people to pay for it is the selling. OpenX covers all these bases.
Installing OpenX is just as easy, if not easier, than installing Drupal. The software is available for a free download from www.openx.org. It is assumed that if you are interested in an advertising manager you already have a web site. If so, it is recommended to create a subdomain on the web site such as banners.yourwebsite.com, or advertising.yourwebsite.com. Also, you should make sure that your web host supports PHP and mySQL or PostgreSQL, similar to Drupal's requirements.
The software comes with a very clear and understandable readme file which tells what exactly to do in order to set up the software. In short, you should upload everything to your web host that you downloaded from openx.org, change the file permissions on the images and var folders after installation, and then point your web browser to the location in which you uploaded OpenX. You will be greeted with an installation wizard, which will ask you for information about your MySQL or PostgreSQL database. After giving it the information, just sit back and watch several status messages pop up and a progress bar progress across the screen. Then, you should be done. If you encounter any problems during installation you can refer to the excellent FAQ located at www.openx.org/en/faq.
Now you've got OpenX installed on your web host, and you're staring at the login screen. What do you do now This is where it gets complicated.
OpenX uses a lot of what one can only assume is official online advertising terminology to refer to everything in its interface, but for a new online publisher it can be very confusing. The first term, publisher, is what you have become after installing OpenX, because a publisher is someone who publishes online banner advertising. Or, in other words, inventory. You are now a publisher and you serve inventory through your zones. Zones are the specific areas on your web site that you have pre-defined to hold ads. The amount of time that you display the inventory should be limited by something such as time, impressions, clicks, or conversions. This limited time for displaying the inventory is called a campaign.
There are a lot of things to define once you log into OpenX for the first time. So, after you log in, you can see a slick interface with five tabs at the top of the page - Home, Statistics, Reports, Inventory, and My Account. The first thing that you must do is define your own web site as a place that accepts ads. Click on the Inventory tab, and four sub-tabs will show up on the new page. Choose Websites & Zones this time, and when that page opens you can see an empty list of no web sites, and the link Add new website. Click on it.
Defining a web site is pretty simple, you just have to enter some identifying information about it. Fill in the required fields and click on Save Changes. OpenX will automatically take you to the next page, which is Zones. These are the areas that you will use to display your ads. Take some time to think about where you want to display your ads, and what size you want them to be. There are several standard banner ad sizes such as the Leaderboard at 728x90 pixels, and the Wide Skyscraper at 160x600. Make your selection and click Next. The button will take you automatically to the Advanced tab for the Zone, which you can use to make complex requirements for the Zone. It is not necessary, however, so just hit Save Changes. The web site will automatically take you to the Linked Banners tab next, but since you don't have any banners yet there is nothing to do there. To leave, just click on the Inventory tab at the top of the page.The Inventory page defaults to showing the Advertisers & Campaigns subtab. Advertisers are whoever wants to put advertising on your web site - or deliver inventory to your zones. Click on the Add new advertiser link at the top of the page to begin.
Once again adding a new advertiser is just a small step of filling in basic information about the advertiser. This is really only important if you plan to send email notifications to the advertiser when certain goals are reached, a very nice feature which has not yet been utilized at koreaittimes. com. After finishing, click on Next. You will automatically be taken to the Add New Campaign screen. A campaign is a set of limitations on how often, when, and potentially where and to whom the advertisements will be shown. While it is possible to set a large number of different variables here it is not necessary to show ads, so it can be skipped just by pressing Save Changes.
The next step is very critical, where you link the zones that you previously defined on your web site to the campaign. If you only want a campaign to show in one zone, here is the place to define it. Click on all the zone check boxes that you created previously for simplicity, and click Save Changes.
Once again, automatically you will be advanced to the next page, which is the Banners page. This is the place where you finally define the actual banner that will be used on the page. Click on Add new Banner at the top of the area to go to the new banner setup process. There are several types of banners that you can create including a local image banner and even a plain text ad. The most popular style at koreaittimes.com so far has been the HTML banner. You can choose that, and it will give a dialog box in which you can input any HTML code that you received from an advertiser. After inputting the code, enter the width and height of the banner and click on Save Changes. The next page is also unimportant, so click on Save Changes again to move on. The third page is crucial, because this is where you match up the banner to the zone it should be displayed in. Only zones which are the same size as the banner can be chosen here. Choose the appropriate zone and click Save Changes.
Your banner advertisement should be ready to be displayed on your web site. There's just one more thing you need to do. If you are using a Drupal site, as the Korea IT Times is, you should download and install the openx module to show the advertisements. Simply enter in the information about your OpenX server in the module admin page. Then the advertisements will show up as blocks in your block layout page, which you can then access to move the blocks anywhere in your web site, depending on your theme that you have selected. If you are not using Drupal, there is an invocation code that is linked to each zone that you have set up which you can use to show the zone's linked banners in the same manner, anywhere you wish on your web site. You just have to paste the invocation code in where you want the banner to show up.
And that's it. Check the magazine again next month for information on how to choose the best advertising networks to make the most money for your web site.