While conversations about transparency have been going on for some time now, the beginning of 2018 has brought greater focus on the topic.
Over the last four months, PubMatic has made several announcements regarding the steps the company has taken to increase transparency. In early November, we announced our fraud-free program where if fraud is detected, our demand partners don’t have to pay for it. More recently, we have also announced our move to offer first-price auctions for header bidding and the elimination of buy-side fees. The intensifying interest in transparency is a good thing.
PubMatic’s mission is simple: to fuel the endless potential of internet content creators. One way to achieve this is to enable publishers with control over their auction dynamics. For publishers to effectively navigate industry changes, transparency and control should serve as a guiding light.
So, using transparency and control as a lens, what do our latest announcements mean for publishers?
The Move to First-Price Auctions
Publishers have P&Ls to manage. In today’s world of publishing, every dollar matters. A publisher can grow revenue by selling more, reducing expenses, or doing both at the same time.
However, for a publisher to effectively manage their business, they need greater visibility into what buyers are paying so they can create more efficient decisioning logic in their auctions. Thus, creating wins for both themselves and buyers.
Moving to first-price auctions increases transparency and returns control to publishers because they can now understand yield and improve it. This adds business stability and allows for greater predictability. Don’t forget—it is important that publishers support buyers with the ability to compete in both first-price and second-price auctions.
No More Buyer Fees
Buyers require transparency on their side as well. Variable or unknown fees charged to buyers can have a negative impact on campaign ROI. The more transparency and predictability a buyer has through an SSP or exchange, the more confidence they have in that supply path. The more confidence a buyer has, the more money they will spend which means more revenue for publishers. Everybody benefits.
Transparency Is a Two-Way Street
Transparency only works when there is equal visibility for all. I have seen some other industry initiatives that try to increase transparency only on the demand side. However, in conversations with publishers, this is dead-on-arrival. While this initiative promises radical transparency to the buy side, it reduces a publisher’s control over their rate card by not providing the same transparency to the owners of supply. Transparency is always a good thing but it needs to be equally transparent to all parties involved for the industry, at large, to grow.
Transparency is Ultimately About Trust
Every publisher should ask themselves one question to help them make the decision that is best for their business: Does this change increase or decrease my visibility and control of my stack and business? The choice should sit with the buyer and seller, not with a third party.
At PubMatic, we want to operate a fair and transparent auction that is aligned with the business objectives of our partners. At the end of the day, transparency is ultimately about trust and trust is the difference between being a vendor or a true partner.
Let us know how we can join you in improving the programmatic ecosystem with increased transparency and trust.