If you want to have a better control over the ads on your website or sell ad spots directly to the buyer, Smart Spots is a solution you should take a closer look at. It’s a simple ad rotation script from the guys of Smart Scripts, who also created Smart Thumbs, Smart Tube & Text and Smart Tube Pro. While other free or even paid ad server solutions work fine until there’s a lot of traffic on the website(s) the ads are placed on, Smart Spots uses memcache to cache ads and keep the server fast. In addition, impressions and clicks stats are saved in flat files or real time cache to keep the server load low. These features make it a perfect ad server for high traffic tubes, TGPs or babeblogs.
Lets have a look at the main features of this nifty online script:
- There is a e-mail notification system informing you about automated campaigns and banners changes
- Easy management of advertising positions with the help of groups
- You can choose between selling advertisement time or clicks
- You can display ads based on countries, browser languages or a keyword defined in advertisement code
- You can let the script display a random campaign banner
- Memcache is supported (advertisements can be cached)
- There is a message system, so you can communicate with your Advertisers
- You can create an unlimited amount of campaigns
- Advertisers can order campaigns and pay via Paxum or Paypal
- You can display your ads on an unlimited amount of websites, while having only one base installation
- You can view clicks and impressions for your advertisement
I didn’t try out each and every function of this script but everything I used so far worked like a charm. There’s a detailed manual explaining step by step how to use the script but instructions are not really needed because this ad server is really easy to understand and not overloaded with features most people don’t need anyway.
It’s basically adding an advert place, creating a campaign, adding banners and finally copying the advert code and inserting it into your desired ad spot on your website. You can also assign groups to your ads, which makes ad management easier if you place ads on more than one domain.
Finding banners with a good click ratio
What I use Smart Spots often for is finding banners with a good click ratio. If you never compared banner click ratios before, you will be surprised how big the difference can be. I basically upload like ten banners, let them run in rotation until every banner got a few hundred clicks and after that I compare the clicks ratio (impressions/clicks) of the banners and keep only the best one. Like this you can send much more clicks to your sponsors!
Another nice feature is the stats section. There you have an overview showing stats of the last 24 hours as well as daily stats and country stats (requires mode_geoip installed). You can filter those stats by groups, advert places, advertisers, campaigns and banners. You can also view history stats simply by choosing a time period.
Easy ad-integration into your website
Updates are not that often but sometimes features are added or bugs are fixed. What I like about the update process of Smart Spots is that you can do it without first downloading it, uploading it onto your server and then performing a complicated update. All you have to do is clicking one button and within a few minutes the script is updated.
The price of Smart Spots is $50. That’s not much for a script that works just perfectly and gives you a great value. I personally only had an issue once and the support answered and helped pretty quick. There is also a support forum that you can join in order to get help or report a possible bug.
I use Smart Spots since years and couldn’t be happier about this script. I tried free solutions before but they had just too many functions and weren’t that easy to understand. Smart Spots is extremely simple but it has all the main features an ad server should have and works great on sites with lots of traffic.