Programmatic Industry Must-Reads: June

The Rivr Monthly Programmatic Industry Must-Reads.

Our monthly post includes a recap of the latest programmatic industry news.

1. Surviving the tech tax: how to get the most from your working media – The Drum

“Buying and selling media in today’s landscape is ostensibly easy. By 2020 it’s estimated that advertisers will spend approximately $98bn on buying programmatic advertising, which represents 68% of their expenditure on digital media. At a glance, the industry is thriving, but under the surface of big budgets and splashy ads comes a new reality for advertisers as each dollar of their ad spend travels down the ad buying supply chain — how hard is their working media actually working?

2. ‘Dramatically different now than a year ago’: Programmatic buying for digital billboards is growing – Digiday

It has become easier to buy ads programmatically for digital billboards and other out-of-home ads over the past year, thanks to more widely available programmatically enabled digital screens.

Both demand-side and supply-side platforms are recognizing the potential of the technology, and the influx of digital OOH placements over the last decade has buoyed this shift, as media owners like Lamar, Clear Channel and others have made significant investments to transition media placements from static to digital.

3. It’s The Data, Stupid – MediaPost

As the rate of expansion of programmatic media-buying begins to decelerate, the focus is shifting to how vs. how much. That’s the conclusion of the 2019 edition of the latest edition of Magna’s semi-annual “Programmatic Report.”

Yes, the report continues to size the growth of the programmatic marketplace, noting that while it continues to expand at double-digit rates, it will only expand 18% this year vs. multiples of that only a few years ago.

4. Amazon Bid for Sizmek Countered by Ycor: No Longer The Rise of the Triopoly? – Exchangewire

“Whilst Facebook does have extremely powerful data resources within its own walled garden, it has not been able to carve out its own space in the programmatic market, having shuttered their ad exchange (FBX), their video SSP (LiveRail), and ad server (Atlas), all in 2016. This has left Google with virtually free reign in the programmatic space, with the lack of competition benefiting nobody, other than Google themselves.

5. What Buyers Must Know About Google’s Auction Updates: A Publisher’s Perspective – Adexchanger

There has been a lot of noise about the upcoming updates to Google’s auction dynamics, including the practical details of what’s changing and the reactions of publishers. While simplification for publishers is the stated goal, this reset of the programmatic landscape also has several implications for advertisers to consider.

Revisiting the bidding strategy in a first-price world is an obvious need, but there are also indirect impacts on assessing the best inventory pathway, laddering up to the role of the demand-side platform (DSP). Let’s consider each of the major changes and what advertisers need to know.

Join us! Rivr Panel Discussion @Admonsters Ops NYC : What’s the Role of Data in Today’s Publisher Strategies?

We are hosting a panel discussion at Admonsters Ops NYC on June 4th at 12:20 pm – Join us!
“While the duopoly continues to garner the lion’s share of ad spend, smart publishers are realizing the value of their first-party data—intent, purchase, site visitation—and layering it with third-party data—behaviors and interests—to uncover richer consumer insights that enable them to tell better audience stories and augment targeting. Programmatic further offers the opportunity to dig even deeper into today’s increasingly complex customer journey to adjust audiences and targeting on the fly. What’s more as privacy concerns mount and we move toward a cookiless future, the role that data plays across direct sales, OpenRTB and PMPs will change greatly. The path forward will vary for each publisher. Questions like: Is it better to build or buy? Will a Universal ID help level the playing field? Are becoming more common. This panel will address all of these topics and more.”

Panelists:

  • Benjamin Hansz – VP Strategy, Simplaex – Rivr
  • Julian Zilderbrand – EVP Audience Science, Viacom
  • William Won – Director Concert Marketplace Revenue, Vox Media

 

Are you attending Admonsters Ops? Let’s talk!

Programmatic Industry Must-Reads: May

The Rivr Monthly Programmatic Industry Must-Reads.

Our monthly post includes a recap of the latest programmatic industry news.

1. Publishers Must Optimize Accordingly To Meet Buyers Heading For The Open Market – AdExchanger

“While programmatic buying strategies and buzzwords du jour change, one fact remains constant: Every impression counts.

The buyer emphasis on achieving the best possible campaign performance at the lowest possible rate remains. For a long time, buyers gravitated toward deals – preferred deals , private auctions, programmatic guaranteed – while ignoring the value of the occasionally wild west-esque open market.

That may have led to some successful campaigns, but publishers need to help buyers consider the bigger picture.”

Publishers Must Optimize Accordingly To Meet Buyers Heading For The Open Market – AdExchanger

2. Video Will Account for Almost Half of Programmatic Spend This Year – eMarketer

“US marketers will spend $29.24 billion on programmatic video this year, which accounts for 49.2% of all US programmatic digital display ad spending. For the next few years, we expect the portion of programmatic spend that goes to video to remain steady.”

Video Will Account for Almost Half of Programmatic Spend This Year – eMarketer

3. NAI Bans Behavioral Targeting Of Users Under 16 – MediaPost

“Trends come and trends go, but then again, the more things change the more they stay the same. Or is that everything that’s old is new again? Oh, forget it. What really matters here is that as digital media changes, what worked yesterday isn’t necessarily going to work today, but it just may work tomorrow. But what I’m really saying is that ad ops and revenue folks need to be extremely flexible in their thinking when it comes to both long-term planning and strategizing, as well as in the day-to-day. And that’s not just about surviving in digital media, it’s about thriving.”

NAI Bans Behavioral Targeting Of Users Under 16 – MediaPost

4. Confessions of an ad tech executive: ‘Rebates are symptomatic of ad tech’s race to the bottom’ – Digiday

“Procurement-driven cost cuts in advertising may have an unintended side effect: Cheaper commissions and limited incentives have prompted ad tech vendors to get creative in how they make that money back on such low-margin deals.

In the latest installment of Confessions, in which we exchange anonymity for candor, an ad tech executive said there are vendors that get kickbacks from data vendors in exchange for getting more of their clients to use their data.”

Confessions of an ad tech executive: ‘Rebates are symptomatic of ad tech’s race to the bottom

5. Digital Ad Fraud: How the Money Flows – Exchangewire

“Whilst the problems associated with ad fraud are well documented, the mechanisms by which malicious players act, along with how it is possible for the money to flow from legitimate sources to hackers, is discussed less frequently. To that end, in this exclusive article for ExchangeWire, Dr Augustine Fou, independent ad fraud researcher, discusses how the money flows to the advertising conmen.”

Digital Ad Fraud: How the Money Flows – Exchangewire

AWS Interview – CTO Moti Tal on Building Trust Between Advertisers and Publishers

Nearly 100 years ago, department store and marketing pioneer John Wanamaker famously said, “Fifty percent of my advertising spend is wasted, I just don’t know which fifty percent.”

Today, many argue that the vast majority of advertising is wasted because of lack of relevancy and poor targeting, especially as advertisers and publishers increasingly rely on algorithms to serve ads to the right customers, says Moti Tal, co-founder and CTO of Simplaex. Advertisers often question whether their target audience is even seeing their ads.

As a result, there’s much mistrust between advertisers and publishers,Tal says. Simplaex uses artificial intelligence to align the ROI interests of the publishers and advertisers by creating unified insight into understanding and evaluating consumer behavior. “We try to bridge this gap of trust between the advertiser and publishers,” Tal says.

Simplaex uses AI and machine learning to power Rivr, which provides full transparency on where and when ads are being served so that advertisers and publishers know the right customers are seeing the ads. Rivr classifies existing and potential customers based on multiple data points, including their preferences and behaviors, their interactions with the ad, and even their interactions with the app that the ad is appearing on. This allows Rivr to recognize the right cohort and make a highly effective media investment with maximum return.

“We can understand more about the interest, intent, the demographic about the user, and we can understand the demand side,” Tal says. Here’s how it works: Rivr assesses ad requests and customers from the supply side (publishers) to see how they behave within each website or app. Then it assesses how the demand side (advertisers) is classifying each customer and which ads the publisher is trying to serve them. Rivr then assesses how the customer interacted with the ad. “In real time, we suggest to the publishers or ad exchanges what the price should be, and which demand partners are the most relevant for the transaction,” Tal says.

Advertisers who use Simplaex see, on average, a 16 percent increase in revenue because their budgets are only being spent on customers who are relevant. “You will get your target audience, you will be willing to pay much more for them because you will see the [ROI] pretty fast, and yes, that may change the way [advertisers] spend their budget in the future,” Tal explains.

Simplaex is the first platform to align the interests of publishers and advertisers to reduce concerns about fraud. It basically verifies that the right customer saw the ad and that the ad wasn’t placed on or behind other ads, served in a tiny pixel frame, or only seen by bots. It provides publishers with the highest payout rates and ensures that advertisements will be relevant to their websites and valuable to their audience.

According to Tal, advertisers get the customers they are looking for based on the type of customer the advertiser wants to reach, not according to how the publisher classifies the customer. Advertising works best when the advertiser, the publisher, and the consumer win.

Originally published on AWS

Programmatic Industry Must-Reads: April

The Rivr Monthly Programmatic Industry Must-Reads.

Our monthly post includes a recap of the latest programmatic industry news.

1. Publishers Lash Out Against Google Over ‘Unified Pricing’ Changes – AdExchanger

“Google held a meeting Thursday with its top publisher partners to discuss numerous new product changes, collectively called “unified pricing,” that could upend publisher strategy and leave them with less control over their ad inventory. It soon got heated. Multiple publishers in the group, whose attendees included The New York Times, News Corp, Dotdash, Watson Advertising, Tribune Media, Business Insider, NBCUniversal, Condé Nast and Forbes, pushed back strongly against the unified pricing changes, which will move into open beta next week.”

Publishers Lash Out Against Google Over 'Unified Pricing' Changes - AdExchanger image

2. Ad Tech: Keep Calm & Carry On – Exchangewire

“Sizmek’s downfall seems to have triggered panic in ad-tech circles. We all love a bit of drama – but we truly have reached new heights of hyperbole when we get comparisons between the fall of a mid-sized ad-tech firm and the 2007 multibillion dollar financial meltdown. Drama, indeed. Maybe there are unseen debt-bergs submerged in the murky waters of media ready to sink ad tech. But then this is always the case. Intermediaries always carried debt – and always will. When was the last time a marketer/holding group paid on time? I can’t remember either. The Sizmek fall is not the canary-in-a-coal-mine moment for the industry that so many seem desperate to happen.”

Ad Tech: Keep Calm & Carry On - Exchangewire image

3. Digital Media and Advertising Outlook: Latest Ad Ops and Revenue Trends – Admonsters

“Trends come and trends go, but then again, the more things change the more they stay the same. Or is that everything that’s old is new again? Oh, forget it. What really matters here is that as digital media changes, what worked yesterday isn’t necessarily going to work today, but it just may work tomorrow. But what I’m really saying is that ad ops and revenue folks need to be extremely flexible in their thinking when it comes to both long-term planning and strategizing, as well as in the day-to-day. And that’s not just about surviving in digital media, it’s about thriving.”

Digital Media and Advertising Outlook: Latest Ad Ops and Revenue Trends - Admonsters image

4. As Programmatic Moves from Adolescence to Adulthood, What’s the Role for Private Marketplaces? – Exchangewire

“Private marketplaces (PMPs) have played a key role in the programmatic industry thus far, ensuring brand safety for publishers whilst taking advantage of the growing market. However, with increasing trust in the open market and regulatory maturity, will PMPs retain their status going forward? In this piece for ExchangeWire, Moti Tal, CTO & co-founder at Simplaex, discusses the position of private marketplaces in today’s programmatic environment and how the ad-tech market of the future may be shaped.”

As Programmatic Moves from Adolescence to Adulthood, What’s the Role for Private Marketplaces? - Exchangewire image

5. Programmatic Advertisers Ramp up Efforts to Deal Direct with Publishers – Digiday

“As more advertisers set up their own ad tech deals, they’re taking demonstrable steps to ensure a larger slice of their programmatic ad budgets get directly to the publisher. While the idea of closing the gap between advertisers and publishers is nothing new, the sheer number of intermediaries between the two has made it easier said than done. But as the likes of Hershey’s make peace with those vendors that help, rather than hinder, the performance of their ads, advertisers’ attention has turned to how to manage paying vendor fees without robbing the media seller.”

Programmatic Advertisers Ramp up Efforts to Deal Direct with Publishers - Digiday image

Header Bidding 101: Client-Side Vs Server-Side

Like many other technologies before it, programmatic advertising is constantly evolving, with the overall aim of improving performance and profit. And as the central value provider in media, publishers have seen the sophistication of their monetization strategies evolve alongside it. It transformed trading methods for publishers, from paper insertion orders and faxes to online platforms and algorithms.

But how to prioritize the various direct, and programmatic buyers and campaigns within the ad server? For a long time, the standard for publishers to maximize their yield was the so-called waterfall method (also called daisy chaining). How this worked was to prioritize the various buyers in order, and cascade down each in turn – hence the waterfall.

In other words, the impression would be offered to the one at the top, and if unsold then pass to the next and so on (aka passback). On paper, it sounded great, but the waterfall also had disadvantages. First, it is challenging for publishers to estimate the true value of their inventory by partner at all times, which can ultimately lead to impressions to be devalued, and therefore a loss of revenue. Since buyers apply different bids for every impression, it is impossible to know if the first partner selected in the waterfall is necessarily the one that will bring the most revenue all of the time. Second, passbacks can also create latency. As ad calls are made sequentially they must be passed again and again to each partner in the waterfall, which can impact page loading times, causing a poor user experience. The chart below represents a classic publisher waterfall setup.

waterfall

Fortunately, header bidding emerged to tackle the waterfall’s inefficiencies. In a header bidding setup, ad calls are made simultaneously – which fosters more competition in real-time, increasing publishers’ yield and CPMs. Technically, it involves adding a header bidding wrapper, also called container – essentially a piece of code – in the header element of a publisher website, enabling them to easily add or remove demand partners.

header bidding

One of the most well-known and popular wrappers in the industry is the open source prebid.js. It was first created and launched in 2015 by AppNexus, but as transparency is a huge debate in the ecosystem, since 2017 prebid.org has acted as an independent organization. You can see below the growing header bidding adoption rates from October 2018 to February 2019.

header bidding adoption rate

The different flavors of header bidding: client versus server-side


a. How does client-side header bidding work?


The header bidding wrapper, which is a snippet of Javascript code, is added to the header element of the publisher’s website. Once the page loads, the header wrapper
simultaneously calls all of the partners listed, which are usually SSPs. These partners each runs their own auction, sending back to the wrapper their winning bids – which are then transferred to the publisher’s ad server. Finally, the ad server determines the winning line item by evaluating the various bids and serves the ad creative.

server-side header bidding

Advantages

– Revenue Uplift: Client-side header bidding fosters competition between SSPs, increasing revenues.

– Cookie Matching: Cookie matching is complete as demand partners have direct access to users’ cookies which also results in higher yield.

– Increased Fill Rate: The fill rate increases as more demand partners are added to the wrapper.

– More Control: Detailed understanding of partners’ bidding behaviors and easy reporting on key metrics to further optimize.

Disadvantages

– Page Latency: Page load time increases if too many demand partners are added to the header bidding wrapper, which can result in poor user experience and ultimately lower revenue if users abandon the website.

– Limited Number of Demand Partners: The number of demand partners that can be added in the wrapper is somewhat limited due to the reasons above. In general, the average number of header bidding demand partners is between 3-5.

– Bid Duplication: One of the main potential drawbacks – as the same impression may be available across various demand partners at the same time, resulting in a duplication of bids.

– Heavy Technical Setup: The initial setup is heavy since the wrapper needs to be added to the header and the different line items need to all be created in the ad server.

b. How does server-side header bidding work?


Server-side header bidding works similarly to the client-side variety. The difference being, instead of sending bid requests from the browser, it sends them to the different header bidding partners via an external server, where the auction is held remotely.

The integration process is less time consuming than in client-side header bidding, as only one snippet of javascript code needs to be added within the header tag. When the page loads, that single tag simply calls the header bidding server. The demand partners integrated with the server then run their auctions and the winning bid is determined. The server submits the winning bids to the publisher’s ad server through the same single header tag, and the ad server determines the winning line item and serves the winning creative to the user.

client-side header bidding

Advantages

User ExperiencePage latency and slow loading times are less of an issue – therefore, user experience is not adversely affected,  since the auction is held on a 3rd party server.

– More Demand Partners: Header bidding was first introduced to foster competition between demand partners. Since server-side setups allow more partners to be added, technically that should mean greater pricing pressure and higher revenues.

– Easy Integration: Simple technical setup compared to client-side header bidding, depending on the server side header bidding technology partner.

Disadvantages

– Cookie Matching: As the auction is happening on an external server, instead of the web page header, the cookie match rate is lower, which can impact yields where targeting is not possible.

– Less Transparency: With the auctions happening in an external server, publishers may have less transparency on the revenue share that applies, as well as less control over prioritization of demand partners.

– Bid Duplication: One of the main potential drawbacks – as the same impression may be available across various demand partners at the same time, resulting in a duplication of bids. The risk here is similar to that faced in client-side setups.

Conclusion


To summarize, header bidding gives publishers more power and flexibility to manage different demand partners and increase revenue. However, as with any relatively new technology, header bidding is also far from being complete, or fully featured as yet. If you want to understand more about the next stages of header bidding, and where it will go next, read Rivr’s CTO Moti Tal article recently published in 
Exchangewire.

Rivr is the first audience yield manager for programmatic publishers. Get in touch to start optimizing your yield on a user level.

Programmatic Industry Must-Reads: March

The Rivr Monthly Programmatic Industry Must-Reads.

Our monthly post includes a recap of the latest programmatic industry news.

1. WTF is a unified ad auction? – Digiday

“Unified auctions have replaced the more traditional waterfall model. In a unified auction, multiple ad exchanges can have access to the same publisher inventory, at the same time and bid accordingly. The former waterfall model was more like a hierarchy where Google had first (and often last) dibs on bidding, followed by the next exchange in the waterfall. Anything those two vendors didn’t want, was then passed to the next SSP in the chain and so on until the inventory sold. Unified auctions helped publishers make more ad revenue because having more SSPs and exchanges bidding for their inventory drove up prices.”

Must Reads April 1

2. Google Is Moving To First-Price, But Big Questions Remain – AdExchanger

“Google’s move to create unified, first-price auctions for publishers using Google Ad Manager doesn’t just change the auction type. It impacts pricing, header bidding, publisher floors and how publishers see AdWords demand. Under the new rules, all exchanges will bid for an impression at the same time, and Google will lose the “last look” it reserved for itself to outbid its fellow exchanges via a second-price auction.”

Must Reads April 2

3. As the Cookie Crumbles, What’s on the Horizon for Identity Data? – Exchangewire

“With browsers such as Safari and Firefox blocking third-party cookies, more publishers are beginning to look for new ways to utilise their rich customer data, enabling them to deliver the same level of targeting that Facebook and Google have made commonplace. To date, attempts to do so have been hampered by a lack of privacy-safe technology to navigate the ever-increasing expanse of consumer data, fragmented across disparate data silos.”

Must Reads April 3

4. Programmatic Hasn’t Been Able to Live Up to Its Potential – Adweek

“Programmatic advertising today is at a crossroads, and if advertising on the open web is ever going to catch up with the walled gardens, there needs to be a fundamental reset in terms of approach.”

Must Reads April 4

5. IAB Tech Lab Releases Final Version Of App-Ads.Txt – MediaPost

“The IAB Tech Lab’s OpenRTB working group has released the final version of the app-ads.txt standard, an extension of ads.txt designed to help combat digital advertising fraud in mobile apps and on OTT. The final release version of app-ads.txt will “usher in a rapid wave of adoption by app developers and programmatic media buyers,” the IAB Tech Lab says. The beta period is over, allowing for more widespread adoption by players in the digital media ecosystem.”

Must Reads April 5

SSP Case Study

One of our partners, a European-based SSP, was looking to increase its revenue performance while simultaneously decrease its operational costs.

They were excited to see how Rivr’s audience authentication algorithms would enable floor pricing and demand selection on the user level.

Download our case study to learn how Rivr increases revenue performance and decreases operating costs.

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Rivr Summary

The programmatic ecosystem once held great promise.

Today, programmatic advertising is bloated, complicated, and inefficient. Supply and demand lack a common language with which to classify and value users.

Download our summary to learn how Rivr closes the programmatic gap between advertisers and publishers.

Where should we send our summary?