Banner Management With phpAdsNew (conclusion)

In the third and final article covering phpAdsNew, Harish Kamath explains how to use the program for generating the reports that advertisers love for keeping track of how their campaigns are doing. He also explains how to get some information very useful to administrators, and how to manage phpAdsNew.

Introduction

No more spillovers or extensions! No sequels or prequels! The moment that each one of you has been waiting for: the third and final part of my phpAdsNew series!

With that Oscar-ish style of introduction out of the way, let’s get down to business, shall we?

In the first two parts of the series, I outlined how to set up the phpAdsNew application in two different modes. In the first part, I showed you how to configure the tool for a single website and in the second, I gave you detailed information on how to integrate this software across multiple websites. Along the way, you also became familiar with many phpAdsNew specific terms such as “publishers,” “zones,” “advertisers,” “campaigns,” “AdViews,” and so on.

In this third (and final) part, I will concentrate on the mundane, and probably the least interesting bits of the application. I’ll start by giving you more information about the “Statistics” and “Reports” sections. While these sections may not be of any particular interest to developers, they play a critical role in the attempts of webmasters to attract potential advertisers to their website(s). Next, I’ll walk you through some of the important sub-sections of the “Settings” module — this is the place where you can tweak and fine-tune your phpAdsNew installation so that you can get the most out of it.

On a personal note, I’ll admit that this is first time that I’ve had such a good response from readers. Not a day goes by without an e-mail in my Inbox regarding phpAdsNew. So, keep that feedback rolling in!

Time to flip the page and get on with the show!

{mospagebreak title=Adding Up the Numbers}

While they may be keen to cash in on the popularity of your website, advertisers also want to make sure that they are getting what they paid for: visitors to their own website. While one cannot guarantee the number of actual referrals, advertisers are generally pleased if you provide them with statistics outlining the number of times that the banners were displayed, the number of times they were clicked and so on.

This is where the “Statistics” section of phpAdsNew comes in handy. In the next two sections, I will give you an introduction to the different statistics generated by this tool. I’ll also show you how advertisers (and publishers) can access these screens by themselves.

For starters: log on to the Administration module of phpAdsNew using your “administrator” credentials. The application should default to the “Inventory” section. Navigate to the “Statistics” section to view the following in your browser:

As an administrator, you have access to the statistics for all advertisers and publishers. By default, the “Statistics” module displays information about the advertisers. The above screen lists the AdViews (the number of times banners have been displayed) and AdClicks (the number of times banners have been clicked) for each advertiser, one by one.

Click on the “Expand All” hyperlink to get a detailed view of the numbers, on a per-advertiser basis, or the “campaigns” created for each advertiser, and finally, for each banner uploaded to the tool.

Take a closer look:

You can always click on “Hide inactive advertisers” link to filter out older advertisers that are no longer advertising on your website.

Alternatively, you can specify the period for which you would like narrow the numbers down to. Just select one of the options from the drop down at the top of the listing and phpAdsNew will do the needful.

Another interesting feature of this application is that the advertisers can also be given access to these modules. Just ask the advertiser to log on using the credentials that you added at the time of creation and voila — they can view the statistics of their campaigns and banners without much hassle.

Here is a sample view that’s visible to an advertiser if he/she logs on:

Once again, the advertiser has the option of grouping the statistics on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Select the period and click on the “arrow” alongside.

For more discerning advertisers, there is a “Campaign Overview” tab that allows them to review the data on the basis of the different campaigns.

Or, he/she could click on each campaign to drill down further, as shown below:

Or, the advertiser could review a banner-specific view of the statistics by clicking on the “Banner overview” option, displayed next:

Note that as an “administrator” of phpAdsNew, you have access to these statistics (and more). Just click on a particular advertiser in the listing, shown earlier on this page, to access this information.

{mospagebreak title=From the Other Side}

So far, I’ve only shown one side of the picture — the advertiser’s perspective. As a publisher, you should be interested in these numbers, as well. After all, these numbers should allow you to attract new advertisers. Not surprisingly, this versatile application gives you (and other publishers that might use your instance of phpAdsNew) all the information needed to make your job(s) easier.

Click on the “Publisher & Zones” tab in the “Statistics” section to view the following:

As you might have guessed, this screen will display the data on the basis of the publishers that you’ve added and the zones associated with each publisher. Yes, the nature of the data remains the same — AdViews and AdClicks along with the corresponding CTR are listed for each publisher. Just in case you’ve forgotten, CTR is an acronym for “Click-Through Ratio,” which is the ratio of AdClicks to AdViews. The higher, the better!

Once again, you can filter the data for a specific period or alternatively, just click on a particular publisher to view specific details about a particular zone. As the name suggests, the “Zone overview” screen gives you zone-specific information,  along with an option to view the data for associated banners.

Click on a particular zone to view the “Linked banner history” screen that gives you a “daily,” “weekly,” or “monthly” view of the statistics for the selected zone.

Alternatively, you could click on the “Linked banner overview” tab, which in turn will display banner-specific information as shown below.

As an administrator, you’re always interested in the “big picture.” For example, you would definitely like to know how the websites, which you manage from your instance of phpAdsNew, are doing, right? Click the “Global history” tab on the “Statistics” section to view the following screen:

As mentioned above, this screen lists the AdViews, AdClicks and CTR for all banners that have been uploaded to the application, giving you the “complete” picture!

Finally, you have the “Miscellaneous” tab that allows you to view the statistics on the basis of the dimensions or other interesting parameters.


Whew – that’s about it as far as the “Statistics” module is concerned.  I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: this tool never ceases to amaze me!

{mospagebreak title=The “Reports” module}

While the “Reports” section may not be equipped with the bells and whistles of other phpAdsNew modules, I must admit that it does its job, and without much fuss. Let’s take a peek, shall we?

As the name suggests, this section allows an administrator to export data from the phpAdsNew database into a CSV (Comma-Separated Values) file. This comes in handy when you do not wish to give advertisers access to phpAdsNew. Simply export the data on a periodic basis and email the reports to your advertisers. In turn, they can view the statistics in widely available tools such as Microsoft Excel and Notepad.

Coming back to phpAdsNew: select the “Advertiser History” option from the drop down menu in order to generate the required statistics. Next, select an “Advertiser” from the drop down menu, specify the “delimiter” — comma, tab or semi-colon — that you wish to use and whether you would like to use “quotes” in the output. Next, hit the “Generate” button.

phpAdsNew will pop up the ubiquitous “Windows” dialog box, as shown below.

And if you are dealing with pesky advertisers, you can opt for the “Campaign history” option in order to provide more specific information to them about the campaigns that you’ve run on their behalf.

But there’s more. The “Publisher history” (or “Zone history”) option allows you to export data for a specific “publisher” (or “zone”). This comes in handy if you have a third-party website that uses your instance of phpAdsNew — publish the statistics specific to their website and send it to them!

Finally, you have the “Global history” option; no prizes for guessing what this does. Select this option to view the overall statistics for your phpAdsNew instance.

{mospagebreak title=Managing phpAdsNew}

In this concluding section, I’ll attempt to give you a quick overview of the final top-level module of phpdAdsNew, which is the “Settings” module. At the onset, I must admit that I’ll not be able to give you the “complete” picture; the number of options and tweaks are far too many to be covered in a single paragraph. So, I’ll concentrate on the important ones!

Fire up your browser and log on to the Administration module. Click on the only option that you haven’t clicked so far, i.e. the “Settings” tab, to view the following screen:

Don’t be alarmed if you see a warning that informs you that your “configuration” file is not locked; you can always change the permissions on this file to “read-only,” as documented in the first part of this series. 

At first glance, this module gives you access to four sub-modules:

  1. Main settings: Here, you can modify almost all application settings such as database access details, administrator settings, interface details and more.
  2. Maintenance: This section allows you to manage the finer details of phpAdsNew, such as the priority of the banners based on past behavior and the internal caches used by the application to server banners.
  3. Product Updates: This section allows you to keep your instance of phpAdsNew up-to-date by communicating with the official website. Note that the server needs to be connected to the Internet in order to retrieve this information.
  4. User log: This section allows you to review the activities of the different users, i.e. advertisers and publishers, that log on to the system — a convenient mechanism for monitoring the usage of the application.

Now that you have a brief idea of the different sub-sections, I will proceed to tell you more about the “Main settings” sub-section.

Here, you can access all the different features by selecting the appropriate option from the drop down menu. While there are several options that you can tweak and play around with, I will concentrate on the critical ones.

Select “Invocation and delivery settings” from the drop down to view the following screen.

This screen allows you to select the different mechanisms that you (or third-party publishers) can use to serve banners from phpAdsNew. Here, you could also specify whether you would like to use the “database” or “files” to cache the banners. I recommend the database option as I am confident of the capabilities of MySQL to handle the potential loads on the database that this may bring about!

Next, you have the “Statistics settings.” Here, you can control the manner in which the statistics are generated and more importantly, you can block specific IP addresses and hostnames from being logged. It would be a good idea to block the users that access your websites with the sole aim of increasing AdViews and AdClicks.  This should prevent fraudulent third-party publishers, if any, from misusing the system, ensuring that advertisers stick around for longer!

The “Banner settings” section allows you to tweak the default image and URL. If specified, this combination is used by phpAdsNew in the unlikely event that it cannot display any banners from its existing inventory. Here, you can also control the types of banner ads that are available to publishers; choose from local banners (SQL or Web server), external banners, HTML banners or text-based ads.

On a lighter note, the “User Interface Configuration” section permits you to customize the interface by allowing you to modify the name displayed in the header frame or, if you are HTML-savvy, you could design your own header and footer files for phpAdsNew.

Want to greet your advertisers with cheerful messages? No problem, just store the MOTD (Message Of The Day) in the “Welcome text” text box and you are done!

Yes, there is a whole lot more in this section. But, I’ll leave it to your sense of discovery and desire for learning to investigate the other features of the “Settings” section and yes, do not forget to share the results of your experiments with fellow readers!

Conclusion

Whew!

Finally, after three long articles with more than six thousand words interspersed with thirty odd screen shots, I have reached the end of my three part phpAdsNew series. It has been a long journey: right from the installation of the application to its configuration, from the creation of advertisers, campaigns, publishers, zones, banners to the generation of mind numbing statistics. The bottom line: I hope this series will help you to capitalize on the popularity of your website. And if you happen to become the next dot-com millionaire, feel free to send me a big thank-you “note” (pun intended)!

On a more serious note, if you’re interested in learning more about this tool, take a look at the following URLs:

The official phpAdsNew Web site: http://www.phpadsnew.com

phpAdsNew Support Forums: http://forum.phpadsnew.com/ 

Here are some alternative PHP-based Banner Management tools that you might want to try out:

phpBanner: http://product.cybergl.co.id/dev/version.php?cmd=browse&product_id=3

phpLedAds: http://www.ledscripts.com/free/php/phpledads

iDevAdMan v1.0 (Commercial) – http://www.idevdirect.com/idevadman.php
That’s about it from me for the moment. Till next time, take care!

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