With the growth of programmatic and header bidding, publishers are constantly searching for ways to increase monetization and streamline their operations and sales processes. In order to do this well, publisher ad operation teams need the correct tools that allow them to set up both programmatic and direct campaigns, provide real-time insights and offer a user-friendly UI.
As publishers evolve, they need to constantly evaluate their tool sets and ask themselves if their current ad tech stack addresses their changing needs. Committing to stay on a legacy ad stack might not be the best long-term strategy if the ad platform was not designed and developed to adapt to a fast-changing environment.
Legacy ad servers, despite being well-established platforms built primarily for direct-sold inventory, are now cobbled together and often limited in providing a holistic platform to manage and optimize between direct- and programmatically sold inventory.
There are also many ad tech companies that provide platforms for both publishers and advertisers. But it’s not clear where their interests are—especially when the companies providing both buy- and sell-side platforms are selling their own competing inventory. Such platforms may often lack transparency on how monetization decisions are made, and control who they will allow to integrate and when. This leads to less publisher control, more fragmentation, and heightened concerns from publishers over whose long-term interests are being served.
What Your Ad Stack Should Provide
When looking to streamline its organization, what should a publisher be asking of current tech tools? Here are a few suggested questions for publishers to ask their ad decisioning vendor:
Does the platform require you to log into different UIs to create direct and programmatic ‘campaigns?’
Your platform should offer a holistic UI where you can create, manage and update programmatic and direct ‘campaigns.’ This functionality provides improved ad operation workflow efficiencies.
Does the platform force you to flip from one SSP UI to another to see how many impressions programmatic and direct campaigns are receiving?
Switching back and forth is time consuming and can lead to discrepancies simply due to differences in when or how each platform aggregates data. Instead, you should have a platform that provides a unified reporting view. This will allow you to more easily track how both your programmatic and direct campaigns are performing.
Does the platform provide easy-to-use optimization settings of how programmatic and direct campaigns compete?
A holistic platform should allow you to control when and how programmatic campaigns are eligible to compete with direct campaigns. You should be able to increase yield while safeguarding direct campaigns (and your advertiser/buyer relationships) from being negatively affected.
Does the platform provide access to third-party demand (via tags or server-to-server) and perform a fair and transparent auction?
Header bidding has opened up more demand to publishers. Yet, it is important to review how the header bidding solution interacts with the ad server. Does the demand compete on an even playing field with other eligible campaigns within the ad server? Is there transparency on how and why a particular campaign ‘wins’ over another? Do reports provide cross-demand impression data?
Does the platform provide the proper management APIs—allowing you, the publisher, to integrate with third-party systems?
Being able to provide integration reports or line item creation APIs, with tools like the publisher’s CMS or BI/reporting system, is important for a holistic workflow.
What PubMatic Provides
We understand it is difficult to optimize revenue between programmatic and direct campaigns. To do this well, publishers should have an independent technology company that is solely focused on their success, and with no conflict of interest with owned and operated (O&O) inventory.
At PubMatic, we have developed a unified ad server to meet the challenges facing publishers today. From the start, our focus has been in providing publishers with the tools they need to best monetize their inventory. We do not have our own inventory, nor do we allow preferential treatment of inventory. Our commitment to transparency, with no buy-side fees, allows our publishers to know exactly how much they will make and what their inventory is worth. It is very important to us that we are able to provide these benefits, and more.
A Publisher’s Non-Negotiables
As you are looking to grow your ad stack, make sure to be on the lookout for vendors’ answers to these questions. Remember, a modern ad serving platform needs to offer holistic inventory management, with forecasting and real-time analytics, that will help publishers optimize and drive increased monetization. The platform should also have a single UI to create and manage both direct and programmatic campaigns with access to third- party demand to increase yield.
Equally importantly, the platform you choose should be supported by a team that is there to partner with the publisher. PubMatic works side-by-side with our publishers to provide enterprise-level support, direct answers, and quick solutions. We are focused on innovation and continually introduce new features to help you generate more revenue and keep your processes efficient.