Whenever Google moves, people pay attention.
Half of the 10 most-trafficked AdExchanger stories in 2019 feature Google, showing how any change Google makes ripples across the industry.
Readers were also intrigued by stories of great success and … the opposite. On the former end of the spectrum was an examination of The Trade Desk’s massive success as it looked for new sources of growth.
On the other end, accounts of Sizmek’s bankruptcy, which left millions of dollars in the lurch, were among our most-read this year.
Here’s a rundown of our most-read stories in 2019.
5. Everything You Need To Know About Bid Shading, March 2019. As many exchanges (but not yet Google) switched to first-price auctions at the beginning of this year, both DSPs and exchanges rolled out tools that helped buyers bid in a first-price auction world. The practice of bid shading emerged, where ad buyers deploy algorithms to calibrate their bids so they don’t pay too much. Bid shading helped buyers save up to 20%, but it was also a factor behind slow publisher revenue in the first half of the year.
4. How The Trade Desk Has Evolved For The Next Stage Of DSP Growth, February 2019. Just how does this ad tech darling please its customers, delight Wall Street and buck the trend of tanking ad tech stocks? This company profile touched on how The Trade Desk forged close relationships with agencies and kept them close even as it started working with brands more directly. The DSP kept take rates at a level that kept Wall Street happy, in part by charging buyers low fees but making it up in fee add-ons for data offerings. The Trade Desk also spearheaded its unified ID – and in its spare time stood up to Google around an industry transparency initiative.
2. Google Switches To First-Price Auction, March 2019: Google’s decision to follow other exchanges and switch to a first-price auction reverberated across the industry. Buyers needed to fully embrace bid shading to avoid overpaying. Meanwhile, publishers grappled with coinciding changes Google made, like capping pricing rules and buyer-specific rules that had given them more control over their auction. While the change completely went into effect this fall, the full consequences remains a question mark.
1. Sizmek Files For Bankruptcy And Faces An Uncertain Fate, March 2019: The fall of Sizmek created a domino effect. Exchanges had paid publishers for millions in ads that they in turn didn’t get paid for. And many exchanges asked publishers for money back to cover the huge losses they couldn’t absorb. Sizmek’s bankruptcy showed the weakness in the ad tech space, drawing interest (and a bit of rubber-necking) as people wondered if Sizmek’s downfall could be a harbinger of something more widespread. Two other stories about Sizmek’s downfall were also popular: a scoop by James Hercher that Sizmek’s owner Vector Capital was desperately seeking a buyer; and Zeta Global buying a portion of Sizmek’s assets for $36 million.
Bonus: The Walled Gardens Are Eating Open Programmatic – Here’s How They Do It, May 2019. Buyers can use Google, Amazon and Facebook data not just to buy on YouTube, Amazon and Facebook – but across the open programmatic web. This story, just outside of AdExchanger’s 10 most popular, lays out how the biggest companies are grabbing a larger share of the open internet.