Over the last year there has been a lot of interest in ad mediation solutions that can work across a greater number of demand sources, optimizing toward the best eCPM. These newer solutions have typically taken the form of some kind of header bidding, running a first-party auction across the top bids from multiple exchanges.
In what has been quite a significant change in position for Google, DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) has recently started dipping its toe in the water with its own solution, DFP First Look. This solution is integrated with the popular ad server and will start to allow some non-Google demand compete with demand coming directly from Google AdX, without the need for the publisher to use a client-side header-bidding solution.
An advantage of ad-tech solutions like DFP First look is that publishers can use a server-to-server approach that reduces load time and operational complexity when compared to client-side header-bidding solutions. Right now, though it’s still pretty early days for Google, as demand sources are still light and publishers are considering all options and platforms they have available, including client-side header solutions that may be able to support more demand sources.
Aggregating across more demand solutions continues to be an important step forward for yield optimization, and also makes it easier for advertisers to access publisher inventory through their preferred partners and buying platforms.
However, these improvements are only part of what publishers need. Yield optimization and yield management are two very different things. Publishers are looking for more than just a reassurance that their supply-side platform (SSP) is dishing out impressions to the highest paying buyer in that moment.
Here are some of the other critical things to think about when looking for more advanced mediation solutions:
How easy is the solution to deploy and use?
Regardless of how complex the underlying ecosystem is, it should be simple to deploy the mediation solution, ideally with a single tag solution. It should immediately plug you into the most relevant demand sources, provide support for open and private marketplaces and for running direct-sold campaigns, and work well with your preferred publisher-side ad server, such as DFP.
Is the mediation provider able to provide advice for yield management in addition to yield optimization?
More than just highest yield from their SSPs, publishers want control and to make informed decisions. Therefore reporting and actionable insights will form a huge part of SSP offerings over the next 12 months. Packaging inventory based on market feedback and direct advertiser relationships is one thing, but reporting on subjects like highest yielding content, highest yielding audience, format performance by sector, and many more will help inform long-term commercial decision-making for both direct-selling and private deals — not just for a higher eCPM today, but for higher revenues YOY.
When it comes to video, this is particularly important, especially when you consider there is much less supply available, and packaging and allocation of inventory can affect revenue. CPMs can be as high as $200 for the right video impression, so publishers should be looking for more detailed reporting metrics and varied advertiser KPIs.
What is the best provider for the kind of advertising I want on my site?
A traditional display-focused SSP may not be the best solution if you want to run more premium or specialized ads, such as native ads or outstream video. While header bidding and RTB solutions are popular for display, when it comes to video, an optimal solution also needs to support video-specific demand, such as dynamic VAST and VPAID, with related monitoring and optimization. Otherwise, you will have lost access to a significant amount of advertiser demand.
At the end of the day, publishers — as well as their partners — need to remember that they should be in control. It’s important that you work with partners that allow you to remain in full control of access and pricing through all buying channels. It’s your inventory — and, ultimately, your brand — whose value you need to maintain.