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April 1, 2016

School of Programmatic Session Three: Strategies for Supply-Side Success

Programmatic technology can drive optimal value and yield for publishers, yet our research shows they are unclear about how to make the most of programmatic. That’s why the third session in our School of Programmatic programme focused on the strategies publishers can implement to better monetise their assets.

Here are the key takeaways from the session to help publishers achieve supply-side success:

A brief history of SSPs and programmatic marketplaces

Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs) and programmatic marketplaces were originally created to help publishers connect unsold inventory with multiple ad networks. While SSPs streamlined trading by acting as mediators between publishers and ad networks, programmatic marketplaces allowed buyers to place specific bids on individual impressions — boosting clarity and reducing wastage.

But the problem with traditional SSP models is that they view the three core demand areas — direct, indirect and Real-Time Bids (RTB) — in silos, and therefore yield is sub-optimal. This is because the model works on a priority basis where impressions are only allocated to indirect buyers (including RTB) if they are not sold to direct buyers. In this system direct buyers not only win even if their bid is lower, but they can also default — returning bids to the server where they are sold for low prices.

A blended solution to the SSP issue

One solution to this problem is header bidding — a tool that exposes each impression to maximum demand before calling the ad server. By placing a piece of code in the header it establishes a key value for each impression, against which multiple demand sources can bid simultaneously, driving competition and value. To ensure campaign and pacing goals are met, publishers can set minimum price points where indirect bids are allowed to overtake direct bids.

Top tips for strategy include:

  • The minimum price point should match the value of average direct bids.
  • Small volumes of niche inventory are an exception to the simultaneous bidding rule and direct demand should be given priority.

Why real-time guaranteed is the future

Real-time guaranteed is the perfect combination of programmatic choice and direct sales certainty. Audiences are synced with buyers and forecasts are made for which publishers will be able to offer them, buyers can then choose how they transact before committing to a set bid for confirmed inventory — providing publishers with a guaranteed purchase and the ability to optimise yield for individual impressions.

Seven key session insights:

  1. Private Marketplaces (PMPs) are not a fourth demand silo. Their unique trading environment provides publishers with maximum control over how their assets are sold, while giving buyers valuable access to previously unavailable or rare inventory.  
  1. Automated guaranteed and traditional programmatic are not the same. Automated guaranteed focuses on streamlining workflow to reduce the cost of trading, programmatic makes marketing dollars work harder — increasing value.
  1. Remnant inventory no longer exists. Impressions are the same no matter which channel they are sold through and demand should always be allowed to compete.
  1. Data leakage is not confined to programmatic. Any buyer has the potential to obtain publisher data, which is why working with trusted partners is vital.
  1. Publishers can boost inventory value with first-party data. By appending it to their PMP or RTB deals, publishers can make inventory richer and more desirable.  
  1. Small audiences can be extended. If publishers combine their first-party data with third-party data from other publishers they can boost reach, insight, and value.  
  1. Programmatic success requires three key technologies. an ad server, an SSP or exchange, and a Data Management Platform (DMP).

 Intrigued by programmatic? Watch this space for an update on our next session: Fundamentals of Money and Measurement.