AppNexus Rolls Out Publisher Suite To Take On Google

AppNexus Pub Suite 2AppNexus unveiled a publisher suite Wednesday designed to offer an alternative to DoubleClick for Publishers [DFP], the dominant solution in the market.

The AppNexus Publisher Suite includes an ad server, completely rebuilt after its acquisition of OAS [Open AdStream] in September 2014, and supercharged with forecasting from its acquisition of Yieldex in March.

Publishers can use the ad server for desktop, mobile and video inventory. The pipeline supports automated guaranteed, private marketplace and programmatic deals.

“Publishers have been more or less using the same [ad-serving] technology since DFP was invented in the late ’90s,” AppNexus CEO Brian O’Kelley said. “One of my aspirations has been to reinvent the publisher monetization platform, leveraging everything we’ve learned in the past decade.”

Unlike DFP, the AppNexus publisher ad server unifies demand from programmatic and direct-sold deals, allowing competition between the two. Publishers who have been using header bidding in order to unify demand outside the ad server have the option to unify demand within it, an approach that’s cleaner and less likely to have issues around latency or forecasting.

Two of AppNexus’ biggest clients, European classifieds publisher Schibsted Media Group and Microsoft, are using the publisher suite. Microsoft is using it in 10 of its European markets.

He hopes that early adopters over the next six months will provide the proof that other publishers need to switch over.

“The early results are yes, you will make more money,” O’Kelley said.

He knows, however, getting publishers to switch over will be a challenge, since many have used DFP their whole careers and might not want to change. “But I think there are a lot of dissatisfied publishers out there,” he added.

O’Kelley also is hoping the solution catches the eye of publishers looking for mobile monetization solutions, often an area of weakness for publishers that grew up in the age of desktop advertising.

Like Google, AppNexus now has a buy-side platform and sell-side platform. O’Kelley said the company does not prioritize sales where both sides use AppNexus.

Unlike Google, he emphasized, AppNexus does not run an ad network where it arbitrages media.

“We run these as independent businesses,” O’Kelley said. “It’s important that any buyer working with us sees no bias on whether they use our stack or not, and we feel the same way on the sell side.”

The AppNexus Publisher Ad Server isn’t the only ad server to try to take on DoubleClick.

AOL hinted it would build its own publisher suite at the Programmatic I/O conference last week. Last year, Facebook rolled out Atlas, a buy-side ad server to compete with DoubleClick for Advertisers. It’s been slow to gain traction, hinting at the challenges ahead for anyone that tries to take on Google’s stack.

“Atlas showed that if you have one killer feature but can’t do the basics well, you can’t displace DoubleClick. Facebook is learning that the hard way,” O’Kelley said. “You have to be a world-class ad server and have killer features. That’s what we’ve built. I want to see us win head to head for DFP, and win significant share of the publisher market.”


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