New Publishing Tech
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VRTCAL and the benefits of a DPO strategy in mobile advertising: Q&A

VRTCAL is a mobile advertising marketplace and ad tech platform for mobile publishers. Headquartered in Santa Barbara, and processing over 110 billion ad requests per month, the company empowers brand advertisers to efficiently reach qualified developers and publishers. WNIP caught up with VRTCAL’s Founder, Todd Wooten, to find out more…

Can you give us further background about your company?

After more than 20 years in the industry, I founded VRTCAL in 2015 with a focus on the ad tech needs of mobile app developers. VRTCAL is an open SSP and SaaS company focused on Demand-Path Optimization (DPO) that provides tech to reduce the vertical distance between mobile app developers and advertisers, allowing for the transparent and efficient delivery of digital advertising. We have offices in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. 

What business problem is your company addressing?

Recently, PricewaterhouseCoopers released a study that found that app developers receive only 51% of advertiser spend and only 12% of the impressions analyzed could be matched and properly investigated, leaving app developers and advertisers unable to quantify the problem and victim to various kinds of ad fraud within the programmatic supply chain. 

The primary cause of these issues are the unnecessary participants between the advertisers and app developers. Our industry’s adoption of ads.txt/app-ads.txt, TAG certifications, sellers.json and SupplyChain moved us in the right direction, but it does not connect all the dots. App developers need to be able to integrate more directly with advertisers to get more of the ad spend and improve transparency and accountability for our ecosystem.  

We’ve found that a successful DPO strategy can now move 10% to 25% more of the ad spend to the app developer, providing a more intelligent approach that will ultimately create more direct integrations between app developers and advertisers as well as increased transparency across the mobile advertising ecosystem.

What is your core product addressing this problem?

As one of the few remaining independent mobile SSPs, VRTCAL’s architecture offers SDKs, real-time-bidding, multiple mediation types, efficiency and targeting solutions and a marketplace with premium brands and advertisers that drastically simplifies the ad tech experience for app developers, no matter their size.  

The VRTCAL platform provides a suite of DPO tools to its mobile app developers via a SaaS model. Our platform addresses the current pain points of mobile app developers by removing inefficiencies, decreasing latency and costs, protecting audiences, offering tools to manage direct advertisers and demand partners, and upgrading mediation strategies, which result in increased transparency, revenue and inventory value. 

The only way for developers to have successful DPO is to be in control of their own performance, not managed by others’ algorithms and for others. Our DPO solutions provide mobile app developers with the necessary tools, which in turn, increases their revenue by 10% to 25% and allows for a savings of up to 95% compared to other SaaS models.

Can you give some examples of publishers successfully using your solution?

No, but we are currently in testing with well-known mobile app developers and will be publishing case studies in the near future.


Our current SaaS usage costs for outbound ad requests are $.38 per million, and, as a result, our SaaS model is 1/20th the cost of other SaaS offerings.

What are other people doing in the space and why?

There are a few different types of SaaS models in our sector, but they do not work toward a developer-first DPO strategy. They manage the mediation (algorithms) and do not provide tools for the mobile app developers to manage themselves. Those platforms typically charge $.10 per 1,000 impressions and/or a revenue share. VRTCAL’s DPO tools can be less than 1/20th of those costs and ultimately, a more successful solution for developers.

How do you view the future?

Supply-Path Optimization (SPO), which seeks efficiencies for brands, agencies, DSPs and Exchanges, has many resources to move their initiatives forward, albeit in a fragmented way. However, as our sector pushes for improved transparency, accountability and ad spend efficiencies, VRTCAL strives to be a source for mobile app developers who have very limited resources available by remaining focused on continuing to engineer developer-first ad technologies for DPO.  

Looking toward the future, we believe that advertisers will continue to push forward with SPO and that mobile app developers will adopt a DPO strategy as they become more educated on the benefits of it. In the near term, we predict there will be a new collective approach called Ad-Path Optimization (APO) which will be a successful sector that combines both SPO and DPO. It should no longer be advertisers “versus” developers, but rather advertisers “plus” developers. We believe now is the time for mobile app developers to advance their DPO efforts while advertisers build upon their SPO success, allowing both parties to increase revenues together. 

Thank you.