"The Sell-Sider" is a column written by the sell-side of the digital media community.
Tom Shields is CEO of Yieldex, a publisher yield optimization company.
The new real-time bidding (RTB) exchanges seem to skew the buying power further in favor of buyers. They can see each impression in real-time, data-enhance it with their own data, and then bid on it. The problem is that most publishers don't know where the pockets of value exist in their remnant inventory, so they can't intelligently allocate that inventory in a way that makes them the most revenue.
Publishers need 3 things to maximize the value of their inventory on an exchange:
1. Inventory value. Publishers need to get back from their exchanges the value of their inventory, on an impression-by-impression basis. Just getting high-level average CPMs by section or zone isn't good enough, this masks the high-value impressions that may exist within those sections.
- 2. Third-party data. Your buyers are using data to understand the value of your inventory, you need to have the data to fight back. You should be setting floors on your inventory based these data segments, so buyers can't just cherry-pick your inventory at an overall low value, and you can't do this without the data.
- 3. An analytic system to maximize yield. You will need a system that can capture an analyze all this data - terabytes of it - and spit out a set of floor prices by inventory segment. In an ideal world, this system operates in real-time, re-setting floors based on the most recent data. I call this real-time selling - the antidote to real-time bidding.
Not all of these items are easily attainable. The first item is not generally available from exchanges, so publishers need to demand it. The second is becoming more available, from vendors such as Audience Science, BlueKai, and eXelate. The third will be provided by Yieldex, among others. Forward thinking publishers, who put this stack together, should be able to dramatically increase revenue from their unsold inventory.