Guest Columns Programmatic

6 considerations when auditing your ad tech partners

In the ever-changing, cloudy environment of digital advertising, transparency continues to grow in importance. Both publishers and buyers are focused on creating transparency through strategies like Ads.txt, Ads.cert, Supply Path Optimization (SPO) and Demand Path Optimization (DPO). These initiatives coupled with the simplicity of server-to-server bidding, are forcing publishers to take a much closer look at their header bidding wrappers.

An analysis by ServerBid of 700+ header bidding implementations in 2018, among publishers in Alexa.com’s top 5000 site list, shows between five and seven bidders as the consistent sweet spot for the number of bidders in a header wrapper.

By paring down their header partners, publishers are finding that it is possible to decrease latency and reduce buyer fatigue, which can, in turn, have a positive impact on user experience and overall performance. They are also discovering they have more flexibility to optimize their page for viewability and user engagement when they are able to do more with less.

Some partners can help drive more success than others, and it is often helpful to put yourself in the shoes of your customer (an advertiser in this case) when making decisions to improve performance. Publishers need to look at all ad tech partnerships through a new lens, not just one that is focused on technology. The business of programmatic is as much about the expertise and support that your partners bring as it is about the actual technology.

Here are six things we believe contribute to building great relationships that you should consider when reviewing your technology partners:

1. Customizable solutions
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Your partners shouldn’t be forcing you to fit into the way they work. They should be able to customize their offering to fit how you work. This is going to be much more effective for both of you.

2. Easy to implement systems
As an extension of point one above, the last thing you need is a complex and drawn out implementation as this could ultimately end up damaging any potential revenue gains that might be made. Ensure implementation is easy, and check with other publishers using the same partner to make sure there aren’t any horror stories. Ideally, look for a single line of code that enables you to manage and configure your technical integration with a partner.

3. Access to real people
People build relationships with people, not machines. You don’t want a partner that’s just interested in getting you on board and then leaving you to it. A good partner will not be a faceless one, they will be real people you can turn to when you need help and support, and they’ll work with you to ensure that you both get the most out of your relationship.

4. Opportunities for networking and support
All publishers are different but often face many of the same problems, even the best technology partners can’t understand everything about every publisher. Having a partner that gives you support and guidance on issues like ads.txt and GDPR, as well as providing you with a community of other publishers you can network with, is essential.

5. Setting standards
Look for partners who are adopting technologies, certifications, and standards that support you as a publisher and enable you to build stronger relationships with buyers. Fraud, brand safety, and viewability are critical issues in today’s marketplace that your partners need to be able to address. Check for key certifications like Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), JicWebs, and the IAB Gold Standard.

6. Partners for life
Finally, a good partner is not someone who’s just interested in making money out of you. A real partner is someone who is invested in your business, in helping you to be the best you can be. Responsiveness, innovation, and transparent communication are just as valuable to a publisher’s business as any other KPI. The ability to grow with a trusted partner that is open to testing new ideas, or working within the context of specific business goals is a great compliment to consistent performance.

No matter what happens in the programmatic ecosystem, people will always look for good content to help them connect and stay informed.

Content is personal, so it makes absolute sense to build personal relationships with your partners that will support and add value to your business as a whole. By doing this, your relationships will stand the test of time and enable you to grow a sustainable advertising business.

Hillary Major, Community Manager, Sovrn

First published on the Sovrn Blog and Sovrn Community 

Disclosure: WNIP is wholly owned by Sovrn Holdings, Inc.

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