Digital Publishers: Apply Pressure To Ad Channel Partners
For these publishers, the main focus really should lie with content creation, user experience and custom-advertising programs, not with the technicalities of merely exploiting advertising space.
That's where third-party entities such as networks, SSPs and exchanges can help. But this is a very crowded space, relying heavily on technologies that are obscure at best. As such, it is difficult for publishers to properly investigate all the promises of better yield and eCPMs.
Publishers should exert extreme vigilance when recruiting an advertising channel partner to act as a secondary sales channel. But where do you start?
There are a few preliminary questions a publisher could ask, to quickly decide whether to carry on the conversation. These are summarized in the checklist below:
Control of advertising content
Like it or not, advertising is content, and directly reflects the standards and values publishers embody. Publishers should be able to control the quality of ads delivered to their sites and avoid the risks of audience exposure to substandard or malicious advertising.
The decision over what creative can run on a publisher's site before any ads get served should reside with the publisher alone. Partners that cannot offer this service will have to be trusted to make the right decision on the publisher's behalf.
For publishers with a direct sales force, channel conflict is not an option. Advertiser requirements for full transparency should be treated with caution. Thus, a partner should be able to define their selling and disclosure practices and offer choices.
Ad serving and optimization technology
Technology drives publisher monetization. Channel partners should be able to elaborate on their platform at length: Who updates and controls it, how yield optimization works, what variables are considered. Failure to do so might indicate an overreliance on third parties that could lead to inefficiencies down the line.
Direct relationships with advertisers/agencies
A partner should be able to confirm that they work directly with advertisers; in this way a publisher can hold them accountable for the advertising that appears on its site. However, if that partner says that it is their partner (or their partner's partner) that works directly with advertisers, it will be difficult to determine who is responsible if a malicious ad reaches the site. More links in the chain means more risk.
Online display advertising is a growing pie, of which many players would not mind getting a slice. As the one group underpinning the whole enterprise, publishers should find themselves in a dominant position in the market. Instead, many end up falling prey to chains of intermediaries of dubious value.
By investigating these topics, publishers will be in a better position to make smart decisions about which companies they choose to help them monetize their inventory, protect their reputation and ultimately preserve their visitors' experience.