Should A Publisher Use Programmatic Ad Tools?

I read an article recently suggesting that if you had a direct sales team selling the advertising on your site, then you should not use programmatic ad tools -- and that the companies providing these tools say publishers should use them to replace their direct sales team. 

This does not make any sense to me.  If you are selling advertising on your site, then you should be using all available means to sell that inventory, as well as in some instances extending the reach of your audience to benefit all of your advertisers. By suggesting this I am by no means suggesting that publishers replace their direct sales team, either. Programmatic advertising selling tools are complementary to the efforts of your direct sales team, if deployed correctly.

There are two primary reasons why a publisher should use these tools. The first: if you are running a digital advertising business, then it’s your mandate to maximize your revenue opportunities, which is not always possible with just your direct sales team.  You should be leveraging all possible sales channels across all the platforms through which you are publishing content.



The second reason for using programmatic tools: More and more media is being purchased through programmatic channels, so it makes sense to have your ad products available for purchase where the money is being spent.

Though this sounds logical, it is by no means an easy thing to do.  There is a lot of noise,  and confusion in the digital advertising ecosystem due in large part to the significant amount of venture capital invested.  The PR machines of these companies are running at full tilt, creating a lot of coverage in the technology press.  It is not surprising that all of this coverage can confuse publishers about who does what and how.  There is also no shortage of acronyms for each different component of the ecosystem. (Oh, how we love our acronyms in digital advertising!)

So what is a publisher to do? The first step is to carefully review the ad products you sell today.  Engage your sales, ad operations and product management teams in order to understand how your current ad product suite can be adjusted and augmented to leverage sales channels like RTB and programmatic direct.  The sales team can give you insight into what advertisers & advertising agecies are looking for, and trends they are seeing in the market. They are on the front lines and can provide some good insight.

The interaction between ad operations and product management is key to understanding how existing products are performing, as well as determining what will be required to implement RTB and programmatic direct tools.  This includes understanding the capabilities of your current advertising technology solution and what solutions are available in the marketplace today.   Once this process has been completed it will be up to the product management team to adjust your ad product suite to leverage these programmatic selling channels.  A key component of this will be to develop a pricing matrix based on ad product features and how the ad product is purchased.  This is critical to ensure that you maximize the effective CPM of your ad inventory. 

The product management and ad operations teams then need to work together on how best to deploy the new ad products.  Once this has been decided, the product management can then train the sales team on the new ad products, and how best to position them with advertisers and advertising agencies.

The use of programmatic tools in conjunction with your direct sales team can improve your prospects for generating revenue, as well as improve the efficiency of the digital advertising operation.

2 comments about "Should A Publisher Use Programmatic Ad Tools?".
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  1. Andrew Perry from Adslot, June 14, 2013 at 10:20 a.m.

    Anyone suggesting that replacing a publisher’s direct sales team would be a good idea clearly hasn’t caught on to the concept yet.

    Programmatic direct tools, such as Adslot, are specifically designed to remove the manual work so sales can focus on spending more time selling, rather than spending time on admin, like filling out excel spreadsheets.

    The same applies for ad ops; they can be released from the of day-to-day data entry to spend more time on higher value strategic campaigns where there time is better spent and needed.

    What was the article out of interest?

  2. Zunaid Khan from The Sizwe Collective, June 15, 2013 at 10:37 a.m.

    Thanks for commenting Andrew, there was an article on Ad Age, which partially inspired my post, I will try to track down a link to it

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