Are You Selling Your Inventory To The Highest Bidders?

An online publisher and an auctioneer have the same goal: get the highest bid possible before completing the sale.  An auctioneer sets price and monitors demand one transaction at a time.  But online publishers must manage hundreds if not thousands of transactions while dealing with a multitude of complexities, variables and ad sources in real time in order to ensure top dollar for each ad impression.

If yield management is challenging yet fruitful for online display advertising, imagine what it can do for online video advertising where technical intricacies are exponentially greater but eCPMs are higher.

Properly applying yield management to an online video sell strategy can be like having a super computer auctioneer, which is auto-programmed not to leave a single dollar on the table and to sell every available impression

Here’s how to use yield management to fill every impression and achieve the highest rate for each ad:

1.  Assemble your daisy chain at ad serving time for each impression. Managing your daisy chain -- the sequence of ads that should be tried for each impression -- takes more than simply setting up a single, universal progression for each ad spot. To deliver better targeted, higher eCPM ads, you need to take into consideration factors such as the video being viewed at that particular moment, the viewer’s behavior and demographic background, and the domain from which each ad originated. Make sure you have a system that lets you build a daisy chain for each specific ad request.

Also, it’s critical for your daisy chain to be executed not on the server side, but on your website. This enables you to perform any number of ad requests directly from the browser, increasing the likelihood of getting an ad -- from whichever source is best able to meet your request -- to improve your fill rate.

2.  Apply yield management universally. Yield management is not just for remnant inventory. It should be used for every impression delivered.  Unlike in display advertising, where publishers typically serve ads directly, many online video ads are served from third-party servers, such as a demand-side platform (DSP) hosted by the advertiser, in response to a VAST request. These may fail to respond for a variety of reasons.  Yield management will ensure that you don’t keep trying a failed source that simply isn’t going to deliver an ad, and thus waste the premium impression.

3.  Bite the bullet and try again. On one hand, you don’t want to keep trying the same source forever if it hasn’t returned an ad for the past thousand attempts -- especially if it’s taking a long time to respond, making it impossible to try enough alternate sources to ensure a filled opportunity. On the other hand, you don’t want to give up on it forever. Maybe it had just reached its frequency cap for a given user or its impression goal for the day, or there was something about the specific viewer or domain that led the source to balk.

A good yield management tool for online video will consider the notion of failure. You need to be able to take into account a variety of possible reasons for the failure, the failure rate at which you stop trying a source, and when you should start trying again.

4. Real-time data is key. Third-party ad sources may pay different rates at different times. Your sell-side platform should be able to get the latest figures automatically for each source, including ad streams from real-time bidding platforms, ad networks, and other sources.

To realize the full revenue potential of your online video content, select a yield management tool that is easy to configure and automatically fills every impression at the highest available rate.   Dollars that might have been left on the table will now go to your bottom line.  

2 comments about "Are You Selling Your Inventory To The Highest Bidders?".
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  1. Sampath Manda from AdsWizz, December 21, 2011 at 2:53 p.m.

    Insightful. Liked the metaphor of computer auctioneer.

  2. Sarah Federman from Telmar, December 22, 2011 at 10:39 a.m.

    Oh la la. We agree. Telmar has provided Yield Revenue Management solutions for years to top broadcasters in Europe and top Outdoor Operators.

    The systems pay for themselves quickly as clients optimize capacity, set improved rates, and free ad space.

    We'd love to work with anyone interested in Web Yield Management. We've got some hot things in the works. Please email us at

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