If I Were A Publisher…

By John Ebbert, Managing Editor, AdExchanger.com.

Buyers And SellersFor starters, if I were a publisher these days, I’d become a buyer.

I’m not exactly sure how this happens. What should publishers buy, after all? But, publishers need to jump into the weeds and close their gap of understanding when it comes to the rapid innovation occurring on the buy side.

This is not to suggest that the buy side is “running away” with the display ad business, either. The increasing move towards transparency and control which breeds efficiency will only serve to benefit sell-siders with valuable audience.

Still, there is significant value being created today with data – and even more tomorrow – that the buy side is accessing and which the sell side can use to its advantage, too.

Ripple Dissolve

Let’s go deep into the auctions of the future… those high-speed auctions where multiple bidders look at a single impression and figure out what this impression is worth to them and then bid. What will the sellers know about this auction, and what will they do with that knowledge? On the buy side, bidders potentially won’t need to actually bid or buy an impression to grab data at this point. They will be able to just watch and learn – that’s valuable!

Will the publisher be watching and learning or will the publisher only be putting its media on the exchange in hopes of a good price, or a price that at least exceeds a floor?

How about understanding bidding trends? Who are the buyers? Who is the audience in the auction? What are they worth? These are just the basics.

Potentially, for example, given the ability for publishers to require registration and cookie users in return for use of their site, there is a bigger opportunity through reg data to understand the audience and its value in an open auction that the buy side will not have without permission of sellers. (Ch-ching! Proprietary audience data feeds for sale. Good for the publisher.)

The Opportunity

Let’s be clear. The point here is to not argue that the publisher is losing control. It’s that there’s untapped opportunity.

The buy side needs data to drive ROI which drives publisher yield. At the same time, there is data to be had for the publisher which can help it drive strategy, selling and revenues.

No doubt yield optimizers are working on bringing more tools to the space for publishers. Even more will be possible in open auctions – more insights on the customer – as data collects through increasingly transparent buying. The publisher should be there, and technology companies focused on this space will likely have a significant opportunity.

One More Thing

Please no more about the scourge of ad networks and technophobia. It’s time to move on from the rhetoric. Ignoring innovation by wrapping oneself in the mantle of the prevention of channel conflict exclusively will only hurt in the long run.

It’s time to get ready for the future!

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1 Comment

  1. Matthew Goldstein

    I totally agree there is significant data available in the marketplace which can help Publishers drive sales strategy and revenue.

    This data should increase the value of the premium sales inventory in addition to the remnant inventory.

    Publishers should try to spend more experimenting so they can learn all the moving pieces of the quickly changing ecosystem.