In their Programmatic Advertising Forecast, eMarketer states that non-programmatic spend – the traditional insertion order based deals – is in steady decline and that programmatic advertising has increased year on year and is the preferred method of buying and selling display advertising. What can publishers do to keep up with this shift and to ensure their ad revenue is secure in the evolving online advertising ecosystem?
Publishers could be missing out on revenue
There are various ways publishers generate revenue – monthly subscription fees, sponsored and native content, newsletter sponsorships and display advertising being the most popular. For most, display advertising generates the largest portion of revenue, often enough to “float the boat.” It is because of this that publishers need to look at their various display ad sales channels more comprehensively.
Aware of it or not, there are opportunities for revenue generation from their display advertising efforts that remain untapped. With the right expertise and knowledge of holistic yield management they can realise greater revenue for their precious impressions.
It goes without saying that every publisher wants to be able to command top dollar for their inventory. However, few publishers can see past selling their inventory through the two more ‘traditional’ channels of Insertion Order based deals and “remnant inventory” channels. Fill rates, deal types and competition must be considered when looking at a sites potential to generate revenue.
Traditionally, campaigns are set up to run autonomously; ticking over and serving ads with mediocre revenue performance, specifically from the open market. If this is the case, it is likely publishers are not seeing high returns and this is where an appropriate yield management strategy would be beneficial.
What does yield management mean for publishers?
According to Netessine and Shumsky “Yield management is a variable pricing strategy, based on understanding, anticipating and influencing consumer behaviour in order to maximize revenue or profits from a fixed, time-limited resource”.
For publishers, this means that success can be found in structuring their sales channels on the deal types and platforms where buyers are spending the lion share of their digital budgets, and where higher CPM (cost per thousand impressions) can be asked. In the eMarketer report, programmatic ad spend is set to increase year-on-year and it is because of this that publishers need to ensure their yield management strategy reflects this trend.
A growing concern in the digital ad industry, specifically for programmatic advertising, is brand safety and transparency. No advertiser wants their ad displayed on a dodgy website containing questionable content. I am also yet to find a publisher welcoming ads for weight-loss miracle pills or get-rich-quick schemes.
It is therefore top priority for publishers to offer advertising opportunities where advertisers can have peace of mind that their brand is safe and where publishers know which advertisers are buying their ad space.
Thankfully, there is hope for publishers and advertisers alike.
Publishers can now offer advertisers their inventory through a programmatic Private Marketplace (PMP). This is where inventory can be bought and sold programmatically, in exclusive, brand-safe environments.
4 Reason’s why a PMP is a game changer for Publishers
- Publishers have access to agency and advertiser’s programmatic budgets.
- Programmatic Efficiency. Deals are sold programmatically and buyers can manage their own campaigns.
- Brand safety, transparency and better user experience is guaranteed. Publishers have tighter control on the buyers and creatives displayed on their site and advertisers can choose where their programmatic ads are served.
- Less “remnant inventory” available on the open auction allows for the PMP to garner significantly higher CPM rates.
Other than onboarding a PMP, there are a few other ways in which publishers can maximise their revenue and see better yield.
5 things publishers can do right now to maximise yield and increase revenue
- Adjust bid floor prices. A price floor is the minimum price paid for an ad to serve. By either raising or lowering this price, a publisher can control the asking price for their impressions. Just remember one thing – inventory fill rates are directly affected by this.
- Ad opportunities. The more ad unitsavailable on each page, the more available inventory to monetize. But beware, more ad units don’t always equate to increased revenue, as user experience could be affected and result in a drop of users. Consider the addition of native ad units. Native ads are a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience and are generally less intrusive.
- Are the ad units in line with the IAB Standard Ad Units? This ensures the majority of buyers are not excluded.
- Offer premium advertising ad unitslike expandable leaderboards, video ads and page skins.
- Add more demand sources and use an Ad Exchange.
Julian Jordaan is commercial director at 365Digital.