Article by Daniel Pirchio, Founder & CEO of Onetag, published in What’s New In Publishing.The digital advertising industry has been on a journey of path optimization – buyers want Supply Path Optimization; sellers want Demand Path Optimization. In most cases, this starts and ends with just trying to review and eliminate partners from the middle. As a result, we’re seeing the programmatic ecosystem consolidate, and the path between advertisers and publishers beginning to get a bit clearer.
But methods of doing so vary widely, and don’t always end up with better outcomes for publishers. Traditional views of auction dynamics say that more demand is better for the publisher; more bids equals more competition, which equals higher prices. So why is everyone telling you to eliminate your demand partners, and reduce that competition?
Part of the reason is that buyers want less competition. And if you’re one of the largest Supply Side Platforms (SSPs), you also want less competition. (No one’s ripping out one of the large, public SSPs in this process, are they?)
However, the issue is more than that. Buyers really do want more transparency and to have a clear, direct view of publisher inventory. Their clients are demanding it. Sustainability is also a big issue and growing fast, and supply paths can be a lot more efficient and reduce waste. And a lot of demand sources are simply resellers, which sometimes can be helpful, but oftentimes means less potential revenue makes it to the publisher.
So it probably is a good thing for publishers to seek more from their SSP partners. But you’d want to do it where your revenue actually goes up, not down. Here’s how.
Eliminate the hops
As we’ve noted, publishers want many different buyers competing for the same impression. This has led to some advertisers actually being the same buyer buying through a different reseller, which sometimes (but not always) leads to a number of unnecessary “hops” in the supply chain – the number of times information has to be pinged from one supplier to the next.
An SSP’s job is to understand what metrics a publisher’s ad placements, sites, and pages have, and how they perform, then provide that detail in an automated fashion as part of the bid request to DSPs. So, the SSP which does the best job is the one which quickly and efficiently provides information, discovery, transparency, and performance to the DSP directly, rather than reselling – going through other companies who are then selling that impression, sometimes more than once, all in a blink of an eye. Concentrating your demand providers with direct demand is the simplest approach to reduce the number of hops in the chain.
Build the most efficient supply chain
In order to achieve revenue growth, however, publishers should be focusing their stacks on SSPs that provide premium and direct demand access via superior, innovative technology. This tech should be fast and simple to integrate, provide strong customer service so you don’t get lost in ticketing systems, and provide a solution that is future-proofed for the cookieless world.
SSPs should be intelligent and be able to evaluate the best-performing publisher inventory and, in turn, price that inventory correctly to allow for a better and more efficient match for buyers. And it should be able to do this without making it difficult for publishers to integrate the tech into their stack.
Moreover, the platform needs to be built in a way that respects the future of the world we’re living in. Third-party cookies, and other identifiers, are disappearing, while there’s an overall desire to focus more on protecting the privacy of consumers. A focus on semantics, within an SSP that adopts the browser features to enable privacy-friendly retargeting, creates an environment to both protect consumers and continue to serve relevant ads to them.
But it’s not just the deprecation of third-party cookies that an SSP should be designed for, it also needs to have been built with the environment in mind and not have a massive carbon footprint. Naturally, any platform that is able to reduce the number of hops in the supply chain is going to bring down the carbon emissions within the ecosystem itself.
In today’s environment, less is definitely more within the programmatic supply chain. Simplifying the ecosystem is the only way to unlock the true value of audiences, and for publishers to maintain and increase their revenues. But it’s going to take intelligent, innovative SSPs to make that all a reality.