Frequently Asked Questions
There's a few step to get up and running. Go here for a step by step setup with videos.
I created a special version of the software you can download and try on your own PC to see if it’s compatible and if your area can connect to our servers here in the US.
All you need is a Personal Computer, Tablet or Mini Computer running version 98 to Windows 10 operating system and an internet connection. Next, just download the Demo Software and install. The software is already setup to run on our demo account without changing your PC in any way.
When you run the software you PC will start displaying Ads and Videos from the Demo network if all went well. If you want to play around with updating ads and videos just contact me for a login.
When your done with the demo just uninstall it.
Watch me do it from Start to Finish on a Lenovo Stick PC with Windows 10
Please follow these steps to activate a new ad server that you set up on your own.
1 – Download and install the software and install on the PC you are using as the Ad Server. Activate your PC and get a Server Name by paying $99 below (Yearly Hosting Fee). We include one FREE setup on newly activated accounts. If you add more PCs (Ad Servers) it will cost $50 each one time to set up.
2 – Make sure to change the Computer Name to match the Server Name we gave you when signing up followed by the number of the ad server in your account. An example would be “MYSERVER-01“. The word MYSERVER would be replaced by your server name assigned to you below after activation. If you don’t know this name just call and we can help you figure it out.
(This will make your PC asked to be rebooted if done right.)
3 – Make sure all screen savers and extra programs are uninstalled or disabled. Set the system to NEVER sleep or turn off the screen and set the hard drive to sleep after 30 minutes if you like, but not required.
4 – Remove all virus protectors or set them to NOT auto-update.
5 – Turn off Auto Updates from Microsoft for the operating system.
6 – Make sure your not behind a firewall that does not allow FTP or HTTP connections to ports 25, 21 and 80. This is normally ok in most cases.
7 – Pay for the activation so we can create the account for this new PC which turns into an Ad Server.
8 – Install at the location and start selling ads.
Note: We suggest you also install “Google Remote Desktop” to all PCs you will be using as ad servers so you can take full control over them remotely when and if there is a problem on location. This will keep you from having to drive to your locations for a simple reboot, setting or other needed service requirements.
This is a step by step set of instructions with video on how to setup your Ad Server and controlling PC when your business in a box arrives. Watch these instructions before you call for your one-on-one training on the system and setup.
Remember you need to have at least 3 ads in the system at all times on the display and the sponsor side for smooth operation. This is due to timing systems in the software.
You also need to have paid for Activation for each new Ad Server you plan to add to your network of Ad Servers.
Step 1: What’s in the box. This video is of the desktop version of an ad server and theres will be the same, but different layout.
Now your ad server system is setup!
The next step is to install the Desktop Control Panel software on whatever windows based PC you will use to control all the ad servers you own.
Step 1: Install VLC for Windows here
Step 2: Install the Desktop Control Panel here
Next you have the website used to manage your ads both static, video and live streams which we call the DAM Ad Manager which is located at this web address: http://www.atozminibillboards.com/hosts. To use this site with your account you have to register and we manually activate your account. At the same time your registration is linked to your personal network of ad servers from 01 to 99 of them.
Below is a demo of creating a simple static ad and using the website to manage an ad.
QR Codes are a machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone.
Adding one of these codes to your ads will allow a person to scan the screen to have interaction with the ads. Some great applications you can use it for, but not limited to are below:
SMS Text Messages
PDF and other file downloads
Google Map links
Social Media Profiles
PayPal Payment buttons
Accordion Sample Description
There really is no best software but we use Photoimpact which cost $29 to $59 depending on where you buy it. You can also Paint that comes free with windows.
- #1 – Fotor – We Have a New Winner!
- #2 – Gimp – Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen
- #3) Inpixio Photo Clip – Super Simple. Professional Edits in Minutes
- #4) BeFunky – Fun is its Middle Name
- #5) Photoshop Express – Your Photoshop Fix. Just FREE.
- #6) Canva – By Far the Easiest
- #7) Paint.net – Better than MS Paint!
- #8) Pixlr
- #9) Ashampoo Photo Optimizer – Bonus Editor – A Great Bulk Editor
You make your own ads if the clients does not supply it for you. We suggest you charge a small fee if the client needs an ad created. You can also have ads made from graphic designers on Fiverr.com from $5 to $15.
The ad sizes will change according to what screen resolution you set the systems to.
In the 1024 x 768 mode the Left side of the screen uses jpg images at 960 x 615 in pixels and any other size will be stretched or reduced to fit. The right side uses gif files only at 320 x 615 and depending on the file some will animate, but not all.
When you use the Custom Screen Sizing mode the sizes will be shown to you on the Desktop control panel software and when pressing the letter "h" on the keyboard connected to the ad server. More about this here
Many business owners of the DAM system have asked for the feature of showing News and Weather on a regular schedule and now it’s here. The new feature allows you to set two video URLs that will stream for 5 minutes each at approximately the top of every hour.
The two URLs could be used for any video actually, but designed for News first and the Weather 5 minutes later. I’ve set default URLs directly inside the code that can be overridden with any URLs you like when saved.
If you change the URLs please check them in the “Video URL” section at the top of the screen first before using them in a live system.
Step 1: Run the latest Desktop Control Panel software by running the . This will get the latest version and run it.
Step 2: Update the Ad Server software also by running . Let the system count down and it will update the software and run it. You can stop it after it starts by pressing the spacebar on your keyboard.
Desktop Control Panel V4.9.5
The Hourly video stream settings area
These two streams can be activated and deactivated by checking the box next to the URLs labeled as such. A check means it is activated and will show start streaming at the top of each hour. No check means no streaming. You can have one or the other or both activated and each stream lasts for about 5 minutes or so.
These URLs can be very long so I added Clr to clear out the URL stream for you before adding a new one for ease of use.
Make sure you test the URLs first here if you change them from the defaults
Remember that these videos eat into your Ad viewing time and make you no money so think about this in your overall business model. You lose about ~11 minutes per hour if you have both the News and the Weather activated.
Original information found at: http://converg.com/more-advertisers-turning-to-internet/
More Advertisers Turning To Internet
… and relying less on print.
The majority (92%) of advertisers are using Internet advertising in their media campaigns followed by print advertising at 88 percent, according to a new LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll.
At the same time, less than half are using radio advertising (46%), television advertising (46%) and mobile advertising (39%). The Harris Poll found there is a regional difference as advertisers in the South are more likely to use radio advertising (57%) and television advertising (56%) while those in the West are least likely to use both (39% each).
Among those advertisers who are using each of these types of media, there is a difference in the level of usage since last year. Three-quarters of those who use Internet advertising (74%) say they are incorporating it more often while 69 percent of those who use mobile advertising are using it more often compared to a year ago. Unsurprisingly, the largest drop is with print advertising as half (49%) of those who use it are using it less often compared to a year ago while 41 percent are using it the same amount.
Of those who use Internet advertising just 14 percent say they use it in a standalone campaign, while 54 percent say the use it in an integrated campaign with other media and 33 percent use Internet advertising in both types of campaigns equally.
Four out of five advertisers who use Internet advertising use it as a branding device (79%) and two- thirds use it to drive information gathering for an offline transaction (65%). Slightly less than three in five advertisers (58%) use Internet advertising to drive online transactions while 57 percent say the use it to promote community around their brand.
Internet users find many aspects of online advertising very annoying. The majority (80%) say they find ads that expand on the page and cover the content very frustrating while 79 percent say ads where they can’t find the close or skip button are very frustrating.
Three-quarters of consumers (76%) find Internet ads that automatically pop up very frustrating while two-thirds (66%) say ads that open if they are “moused over” are very frustrating. Three in five consumers find both animated ads that automatically start playing and ads that play music and/or have loud soundtracks to be very frustrating (60% for both).
“Although the trend among advertisers is clearly towards the Internet, advertisers have to walk a fine line,” the study concludes.
At least three in five consumers are very frustrated with six of the main Internet advertising characteristics, and there is the potential to see a backlash forming. To be successful, those that advertise on the Internet will need to come up with more engaging ways to connect with consumers. This is where Converg Media comes in, we bring the convergence of different media type into your advertising campaigns.
The most important thing you need to remember is your Ad Server is a Windows based computer and needs to have the display settings match the resolution you select in the desktop control panel.
Step 1 Set windows resolution and in this case it's 1024 x 768 (uses customizing)
Now stretch or shrink the display by holding down the keys below until you have the full width of your TV viewing area. Play with this until you get a perfect horizontal and vertical size display.
- “+” or “r” stretch right slow
- “R” stretch right fast
- “–” or “l” shrink left slow
- “L” shrink left fast
- “d” stretch down slow or “D” stretch down fast
- “u” shrink up slow or “U” shrink up fast
Step 2: Press the “H” key to display the system information at the bottom of the screen and use this as your true bottom of the screen. Increase or decrease vertical size until you see the information just meet the bottom of the screen. This information will disappear after 15 seconds so you might need to press “H” a few times while setting the size.
Step 3: Once you have the display set to perfectly filling the TV screen now press the “S” or “s” key. A window will pop up telling you it saved the settings. Press OK or they will not be saved. You can do this over and over again until you get it right.
So many TVs and Monitors are different and have higher and higher resolutions so I added a custom sizing routine to help with that directly in the software itself. See more here
DAM is a Digital Billboard system and uses Static ads on both the left and the right sides of the screen in the standard mode. The system can also stream from a Media Playlist videos, music and more by using Image Tagging methods. You can read more here
We have found that static ads have a higher profit margin and a better effectiveness for your clients in most cases.
You can also Stream videos to one or all systems too. More here
DAM uses Micro PCs by Intel of 2 brands which are Lenovo and Intel, however any PC that's windows based can be used as long as it meets the proper specs which are very minimal. There are what we sell.
The Ad Server is the small PC used to control your digital display. You can use your own PC or buy one from us pre-programmed and ready to go.
All Billboard style Ads are 15 Seconds long by default which can be changed using the "U_" command, but Video ads can have varying lengths however the best time is 30 seconds or less for Static Billboard style ads and 30 seconds for a Video style ads. There's other types of Video style ads like shows, movies and live streams like news.
$500 to $5,000 a month is normal from one system in a good location is a good number.
Realistic earnings from a standard location would be $500 a month and higher keeping your ad prices low like $25 to $100 a month. The system can hold 1000 ads but 50 to 100 ads would be better for your clients and you to manage.
Also selling the right side to a sponsor or more than one sponsor will increase your income also.
The location is the key to large income from 1 system. If that location is very popular you can really make some great money from one system.
Here a spreadsheet I made that you can play with to show you how much you can make depending on ads, costs and number of locations you have. Download here
Other Features and Utilities
As you all know (or not) your systems can display video in many formats from video files, video streams like YouTube, Vimeo and even HLS LIVE Stream URLs.
Well, before now you could select an Ad Server (digital billboard systems) location and send a Go Live command to that system in real-time via the Desktop Control Panel software. Now you can send to all your Ad Servers in your network at once as well as reset them all at once. This requires the latest version 4.9.4 to have this function.
To update your Desktop Control Panel use this icon below. It will update the software and run the new version all in one step. After it’s updated you can run the application with the standard icon.
Using the new features:
At the top of the Desktop Control Panel software you will see the buttons “Go Live” and “To All“. These buttons will send the “Media URL” to the selected or all Ad Servers in your network respectively.
To send to just the selected Ad Server:
Step 1: Find a video URL from either YouTube, Vimeo or any other place that hosts videos and or Live Streams and paste the URL into the area named “Media URL“.
Live streams can also be in the form of an HLS URL like this: https://live.chdrstatic.com/cbn/primary/1.m3u8 which is the Live Stream for Cheddar News.
Step 2: Press the “Start” button to make sure it works in the Desktop Control Software first. If it doesn’t work here it won’t work on the Ad Servers either. Some stream and videos are blocked from working outside their hosting location so always test them all first.
Step 3: Now choose how you want to push the video content to your Ad Server(s). If you push “Go Live” it will only stream on the selected Ad Server you Synced with. If you want the video source to go to all your Ad Server in your network click on “To All“.
Note: Depending on your video content the Ad Servers resume displaying ads after the video is done, however if you are doing a LIVE Stream and there’s not end the Ad Server(s) will never stop streaming until you press “Reset Ad
Server” or “Reset All” respectfully.
Also always use the power supply that comes with your Ad Server to power it up. Do not use the TV’s USB port because it only has limited power. These Ad Servers require 2.5 Amps to run correctly or they can be damaged. It fine to just turn the TVs off and keep the Ad Server running.
There’s a way to see the Ad Views by date and time each and every ad has been shown on the screen in the latest version of the Desktop Control Panel.
Step 1: Login and select the Ad Server number you want to check on.
Step 2: Click on Ad Stats in the drop down menu to download and view a spreadsheet of all the ads and their times shown on the screen. You can use Excel or Google Sheets to create charts and graphs if you require it for your customers or just notepad to see the raw text.
Note: You can also just click on “Last Update” which is a green button.
If you make a Display and Sponsor Ad with the same name, when one shows it will load the other also.
This will not work with video ads and sponsor ads because it screws up the timing as well as freezing the Sponsor ad for as long as the Video plays.
Example would be maybe a product for sale as the Display ad and a way to purchase that same product as the Sponsor ad. The example below shows the use of QR Codes which you can create here. http://www.the-qrcode-generator.com/
In the above example the Display side ad is named “green_screen.jpg” and the Sponsor side ad in named “green_screen.gif”. If one or the other is randomly loaded it will go fetch it’s twin for the other area.
The Ad Server software version with this feature is “15.9.6" or higher. Use the DAM Updater icon on the Ad Server or use the Desktop Control Panel software to force an update remotely to get to this version.
Remember remote updating is only possible if you kept your system software updated all along.
If you forgot how to update your ad server software you can read more about there here. https://digitaladvertisingmedia.com/updating-your-software/