Operative's New Tech The Latest To Take On The Programmatic 'Waterfall'

Operative, an ad management firm, is the latest company to release ad tech that takes aim at the programmatic “waterfall.”

The company has announced the release of “Exchange Monetization,” a new product that allows publishers to manage both their programmatic and direct sales efforts from a single platform.

Operative’s tech pits supply-side platforms (SSPs) against one another using optimization software. It will compete with the similar technology that was recently released by Technorati.

This new technology is not to be confused with header bidding, which adds a line of code to a publisher's header and essentially tosses all demand sources into a single auction. Header bidding is also picking up steam, however, with AppNexus reportedly improving its “header bidding” technology due to increased demand, per AdExchanger.



While they may be different from a technical standpoint, both “header bidding” technology and “SSP optimization” technology intend to solve the same problem. Both attempt to deconstruct the “waterfall.”

The “waterfall” is predicated on the idea that some demand sources are always more valuable than others. In other words, publishers would always value direct demand over programmatic demand, even if the programmatic buyers were willing to spend more. In fact, ad tech firm OpenX shared an anecdote last year of how one publisher missed out on a $1,300 RTB impression because it had a direct deal in place, which trumped the RTB deal. The publisher received $10 from the direct sale.

Programmatic ad technologies have improved over the past half-decade, and the “waterfall” approach is thought by some to be outdated, which is why new technologies are springing up -- or in the case of AppNexus and its "header bidding" technology, old technologies are becoming new again -- to address the issue.

“For too long, publishers have been at the mercy of the digital advertising ecosystem,” stated Lorne Brown, CEO and founder of Operative.

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