What: A portal for advertisers to create, manage, and pay for ad campaigns
Used by: There are two main use cases:

High-Traffic Social Platforms/Communities:

Rather than going after direct-sold large advertisers, many brands target the long-tail: advertisers with low budgets, but in aggregate drive revenue.

For instance, rather than a single $10K deal with P&G, they go after small businesses who spend $100/month. To make this successful, these brands need to offer scale and hyper-relevant targeting, such as interest/category, search keyword, and demographic.

Examples include reddit, Facebook, Adwords (Google), Pinterest, LinkedIn

Marketplaces/Sponsored Listings:

Many sites with sponsored listings - like, Yelp, Chairish - already have platforms for their listers/sellers/etc to manage their organic inventory. When designing their sponsored listings program, they usually build the functionality directly into this portal versus requiring their users to talk to a salesperson and sign directly.


  • Scalable Revenue - The more you can automate the buying/selling process, the fewer internal resources you'll need for campaign creation, account management, accounting, and so on
  • Quick Access - Rather than the more manual process of creating Insertion Orders and deciding on campaign details, anyone could get a campaign going in hours


  • Branding Compliance - If advertisers are signing up on their own, you need a way to approve ads to ensure they aren't illegal/off-brand/etc. Usually this entails hiring an approval team for reviewing each ad before it's set live
  • Not a 'Build It And They Will Come' Product - While some small businesses and the "long-tail" will jump on self-serve, many won't. For this reason, many companies offer a self-serve portal for long-tail, but still have a direct Sales team for the large deals


These cons refer to self-serve for community-based apps/sites. For sponsored listings, since the ads will consist of organic listings, one can assume they are already brand compliant.

Execution - Kevel as Backend Infrastructure

Kevel's APIs provide the tools to build your native ad platform's backend infrastructure. To that end, we offer:

Campaign Management API - Connect to your front-end to let users create, start, stop, and edit their campaigns
Inventory Management API - Use this API to automatically build new ad units, placements, and optimization rules
Reporting API - Pull all advertising data directly into your front-end for your advertisers to pull reports

Kevel doesn't offer a pre-built front-end package, because most advertisers prefer their ad platforms to be fully customized, which can only be done if the user dashboard is built by the publisher.

Payment - Credit Card

Most self-serve platforms employ credit card processing for payments. Additionally, many still offer Insertion Orders for larger deals (see here for more info on IOs).

For CC integration, we recommend Stripe. Like Kevel, Stripe is API-focused and provides much flexibility around the payment process.

Payment - Debited From Account

For sponsored listings companies, it's possible you already have a payment relationship with your advertiser.

For instance, you could be an eCommerce marketplace and already have a system in place for paying out sales to your sellers. If you let users opt-into a sponsored listings program, then you could jut remove any ad spend from the revenue you'd normally pay out.

For instance, if you owe a seller $1,000 over a given month, but they chose to spend $200 in paid spend credits, you'd pay them $800 instead.


Interested in learning more about how to build a self-serve native ad server? You can contact us here.