Blog

March 11, 2016

Ask an Expert: Intermarkets on Header Bidding and the Future of Programmatic for Publishers

With the rise in popularity of header bidding as a mechanism for publishers looking to increase yield, Intermarkets’ Erik Requidan, VP of Sales & Programmatic Strategy and Stephanie Snow, VP of Ad Ops, outline their thoughts on the potential shift for the industry and the future of programmatic.

How has header bidding changed your overall monetization strategy?
Header bidding has allowed us to reimagine our inventory landscape. We’ve essentially walked away from the waterfall, eliminating the daisy chaining effect and multiple ad calls where many bad actors would creep in. By leveraging header-bidding technology, our buyers have better options and can plan, test, execute and optimize their buys more efficiently and effectively.

How has the emergence of header bidding changed your relationship with buyers?
Header integrations have dramatically improved our relationships with buyers. Instead of coming to the table with a wall of data we think they’re looking for, we have a deeper understanding of what buyers needs are based on thoughtful conversations. As a result, we are able to bring the right people to the table to help meet their needs – at times, we have sales, ad ops, yield and our marketing team in on a single conversation to provide our buyers with the optimal support they need.

As the technology evolves, what are the major hurdles you foresee for publishers integrated with multiple header bidding solutions?
There are lesser talked about hurdles that publishers are facing when integrating multiple header bidding solutions. These hurdles are related to the misinformation about running multiple integrations. For instance misinformation like, you can’t run several bidders, while running multiple bidders isn’t necessarily the end-goal. The reality, if you’ve only employed a single header bidding solution, you’re not actually running a competitive auction. Implementing multiple header bidding solution can and should be done. What good is an auction if one person shows up?

Another piece of misinformation, or rather myth, is that header bidding is recreating an ad network model. For the record, this is not true. Just consider the control, price transparency, and deal transparency that exist with header bidding, those are reasons enough to realize this is nothing but a myth.

There has been an enormous shift towards marrying traditional direct sales strategy with yield management – what is Intermarkets position on this? Is it an effective approach?
Yes, in fact the shift towards marrying traditional direct sales strategy with yield management has helped us to redefine our strategy, moving away from the antiquated terms like direct vs. indirect. We’ve abandoned words like remnant – you can’t manage and monetize your inventory effectively today if remnant is a common term associated with your strategy.

In order to effectively marry our direct sales strategy with yield management we’ve blended the skill sets of our teams and created joint goals. We’ve found that if everyone is moving in the same direction, you can shift easily when necessary – this type of agility is essential in the constantly evolving landscape of today’s digital advertising industry.

What does it take for a seller in today’s programmatic environment to meet the needs of buyers?
Today’s seller needs to be sensitive to the buy sides needs – like using a mix of both the right and left brain – it’s essential for sellers to not just consider, but understand the cost, risk, reward, supply chain, and tech. Also understand that signals exist in many places, not just an email in your inbox or when your phone rings, but in open marketplace behavior. Bids are hand raises and interest, not all will win – but there is value in responding and hearing their requests.

How will the next generation of publishers succeed leveraging programmatic?
The next generation publisher will be able to look inwards and make adjustments where needed. Like the infamous Dog Whisperer Caesar Milan prescribes dog owners on his show – “look inwards, and start there.” The next generation of publishers know that in order to successfully monetize their inventory, they must look inward and make adjustments to their strategy in order to succeed. Rather than strictly looking to their partners to change, like owners might do with their dogs on the show, publishers must reflect inward. By doing so they will quickly recognize the major role they play in shaping their relationships and ultimately the role they have on their own success.

These publishers will also succeed by avoiding pitfalls like attempting to sell and count their revenue in traditional ways like direct vs. indirect, remnant and direct. They will not confine themselves to measuring their success with just the total of their revenue or sales. If the publishers of tomorrow are as smart as we suspect, they will leverage the learnings of today’s publishers and use the paved road we’ve create to discover new territory.

What are Intermarkets top priorities for 2016 with regards to your programmatic strategy?

  • Continue to help buyers buy in the way they want to buy, programmatically.
  • Continue to help buyers understand the price points that they can transact against at scale, enable their data in real time and educate them on the simplicity and effectiveness of our stack built for their needs.
  • Maintain a laser focus on user experience.
  • Help other publishers realize the impact header bidding can have on their bottom line. Today, only 25% to 30% of the industry’s top domains have employed multiple header bidding integrations as part of their strategy. There is still a lot of room to grow.

For more from Intermarkets, check out Intermarkets: Political Advertisers No Different From Other Marketers.