Supply-Side Platforms: What Matters?

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Decision fatigue is a real thing. Every day there are a number of choices we need to make to ensure the success of both personal and career oriented endeavors. As publishers, a couple of top priorities include creating compelling content for your intended audiences and subsequently monetizing that content to produce and grow revenue.

The advertising technology industry has created an abundance of opportunity for revenue generation through the development of new advertising formats for direct sales efforts and third-party demand through supply-side platforms (SSPs). However, now more than ever there is an unprecedented number of SSPs, header bidders, header wrappers and more to choose from. Variety might be great when it comes to demand options, but not all varietal choices are created equally and choosing an SSP can be difficult. Below are a few recommendations to keep in mind to make the SSP evaluation process a little less cumbersome.

3 Tips for Evaluating SSPs:

  1. For starters, technology matters. You might be thinking, “Isn’t a supply-side platform considered technology by default?” The answer is yes, but also no. An SSP’s main goal is to help publishers backfill unsold inventory. This does not necessarily require homegrown ad serving technology. Many SSPs are able to, and do, access publisher inventory through header bidder partnerships or other exchanges. However, publishers gain a few important benefits if the SSP is powered by a proprietary ad server: 1) options, 2) control and 3) flexibility.

    For example, Nativo’s unified ad server and SSP technology provides publishers with the option to execute direct sold campaigns across a variety of ad formats while also monetizing unsold inventory all under one roof. If an SSP only offers third-party demand, that automatically disqualifies the option to deliver direct sold campaigns via that platform. Furthermore, control and flexibility over auction prioritization, price floors and more go out the door if the SSP doesn’t actually power the auction. These are important considerations to be aware of when thinking about inventory monetization health.

  2. Publishers decreased their number of sell-side vendors by 26% from 2016 to 2018. These stats show that spreading inventory across many different vendors usually just equals dilution - not more revenue. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Buyers work with a number of exchanges and header bidders to access the inventory they need. If you offer the same inventory across multiple SSPs, those buyers are just seeing the same ad requests through many different channels. Now, imagine if you only choose to work with one or two platforms. Those buyers will know exactly where to find your inventory if and when they want it. This direct path to inventory generates more revenue, and when the time comes, you want to be sure to have control and flexibility over auction prioritization and pricing to power the best possible yield optimization strategy.

  3. You don’t know what you don’t know when it comes to understanding auction mechanics, buyer bid behaviors, creative performance, optimal price floors and more. For example, Nativo’s ad serving technology enables execution of the Native Article format; exclusive to Nativo. As such, it is very important for publishers to have access to performance metrics that support this specific ad format, such as engaged views, time on content, engagement rate, etc. This data helps you understand what’s working and what’s not, providing solid insights to help inform future Native Article strategies.

An SSP can never offer too much transparency. Accessing even the most granular data points will only help you make validated business decisions toward creating a lucrative monetization strategy. Always ask yourself how much visibility the vendor can and is willing to provide both now and in the future. The more, the better. Simple as that.

While it may seem as easy as working with multiple SSPs to maximize revenue, it’s not. The reality is that buyer quantity isn’t quite enough to justify the time and consideration it takes to grow a strong partnership with an SSP. As you continue evaluating vendors, thoughtfully consider the technology, control and level of transparency being offered. If those items add up, you’ll likely save yourself from additive decision fatigue and will definitely start seeing increased revenue growth.

For more information on Nativo’s unified ad server and supply-side platform, contact your Account Manager or reach out to us here.