We have switched our 3rd party ad server from Adzerk to Google/Doubleclick for Publishers (DFP) on Oct 1 2017
TL;DR: Because most of the work is on the back-end, you won’t notice significant changes. For those without ad blockers, you may find that some ads disappear for a few min on Oct 1 during the transition. After the change is complete, you’ll stop seeing requests to Adzerk and start seeing requests to Google DFP instead. While our tools upgrade, our commitment to your positive experience does not change.
First off, my name is Yi (pronounced like the letter “E”), and I started working at Stack Overflow this past January as a Product Manager. I’m responsible for building honest and helpful advertising products that connect companies with developers. Outside Stack, you may find me meditating in New York subway trains, dangling down from a trapeze, kicking or screaming at Krav Maga, or performing awkward improv comedy.
As many of you know, advertising on Stack Exchange sites is one of the ways we make money to survive as a company.
So why are we switching ad servers?
There are a handful of reasons why Stack Overflow and Adzerk are parting ways after 7 successful years together. We will discuss a few below to provide more insight, but this list isn’t exhaustive. We want to share with you, our users, a bit about our considerations for the future relationship between you and promotional content on our sites.
Our goals as business entities are no longer aligned. Adzerk is now focusing on growing their native advertising offering, a product we do not offer.
DFP will allow us to make ads more targeted and relevant to your interests and needs. Going forward, our focus on creating an undisruptive ad experience will not change. In addition, we’d like the ad products to be of your interest and value; and DFP will empower us to do more of that.
We want to make advertising more useful for you through new products and processes. Mostly so we have less of a reason to hate on Steve. ;) That means investing in ad operations through new hires and new platforms. (We’ve doubled our headcount this year!) Scaling will be a key focus for our team, so we can build a more sustainable business.
How will I be affected?
A few initial changes will be evident. The first is when we transition from Adzerk to DFP on Oct 1. You will briefly, on all sites, not see advertisements. Shortly after that you’ll be in the new world. After that, you may see ads delivering faster. In all reality, the ad server change should go largely unnoticed.
As always, protecting your PII (Personal Identifiable Information) is of critical importance to us. We (both Stack Overflow as an organization and the Ads team) work hard to ensure the safety of your privacy. Nothing will change with this transition.
Our advertising philosophy
While we are switching ad servers for a number of reasons, there is one principal one: we want to make ads better. Doing so means starting at the bottom, by refining systems and processes. Then we will find new ways to support you in everything you do as a developer. We aim to bridge the gap between your problems and solutions via partnerships with marketers.
The reality is we do ads differently than most in the industry: We turn away offers from potential partners often; we reject the premise that interruptive ads such as expandables should be the cornerstone of any business. Why? Because we are here to support you—not to inhibit you— and we feel those types of ads get in the way. Ultimately, that belief drove us to make this decision and will motivate us when building new ways to help you get things done.