A Publisher’s Plea For Ad Tech Vendors

scottgatzThe Sell Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Scott Gatz, CEO and founder at Q.Digital.

Dear ad tech community,

Medium-sized publishers deliver campaigns that are as complicated as those delivered by larger networks, but we need to do so with a much smaller team. For this reason, we rely heavily on third-party ad servers, particularly DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP).

Even with the amazing technology of these servers, there is still a very wide gap in the functionality needed to effectively run campaigns today. With everyone chasing the shiny future of programmatic, I feel that good old direct-sold premium campaigns haven’t gotten the attention they deserve.

Here is my wish list for the ideal ad server. Will one of you build it please?

Import Campaigns And Tags

I can’t believe that it’s 2016 and people at agencies and publishers are still emailing around spreadsheets with IOs and tags. There is so much cutting and pasting happening.

Please give me a button that lets me import from DoubleClick Campaign Manager, Sizmek, Atlas, etc. Yes, we’ll have to tweak and review, but give me a starting point. Let’s stop pasting tags.

Sync Third-Party Stats

Most agencies want us to bill by their own ad server’s numbers so please let publishers auto-optimize by those stats. Automatically pull down stats daily – see, I’m not asking for real-time! – and allow us to see those stats in reports and optimize and serve campaigns based on them. Let’s end the days of overdelivering by 10% just “to be safe.”

Sync Viewability And Brand Safety Stats

Similarly, give us a direct integration with Integral Ad Science, Double Verify and Moat to sync their stats. We should be able to see which lines are running behind on viewability or other blocking criteria, right in our reports.

Auto-Optimize For Viewability

Shouldn’t viewability tracking be built in? I know we can’t predict if someone will view an ad, but try to optimize to a target viewable percentage. Let’s stop manually tweaking campaigns.

Every Ad Placement In One Place

Please be sure you serve native, in-app, pre-roll, outstream video, mobile apps and newsletters. To be fair, most servers are getting there, with the exception of email ads, but let’s make it an expectation.

Basic Third-Party Audience Targeting

We shouldn’t need to set up a full data management platform solution for very simple cookie-based targeting. Google has cookies on 100% of our users, targets them in its ad products and reports on them in analytics. Why can’t we target on age and gender in DFP if we don’t have that information in our first-party data?

To ad servers with networks: Share the simple data!

Integrated Month-End Reporting

Now I’m getting crazy, but let’s help agency friends who must cut and paste our site-served reports into their systems. Let’s create an automated solution.

Server-Side Real-Time Bids

I hate having waterfall ad tags everywhere. Let all my networks compete in real time so I can get the highest CPM and 100% fill on unsold inventory. Thankfully some of you are actually building this. If it works, we’ll have more money to pay you for that ad server of yours. Let’s end header bidding and waterfalls – please.

As I look around at the ad tech space, we’ve made a lot of progress, but this stuff isn’t as sexy as programmatic and the latest bells and whistles.

The more the ad tech community makes things seamless for all types of buys, the more successful we will each be, allowing our ad ops teams – or “person” – to focus on things other than the CTRL+C keys.

Follow Scott Gatz (@sgatz), Q.Digital (@WeAreQDigital) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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  1. You’ve said what everyone is thinking. The last mile of Programmatic… Automating after the buy. Great article. The biggest roadblock is competition between vendors, as they each own a product above (including your ad server), so they cannot be open.

    The next biggest roadblock is that there is no “percentage of revenue” incentive for ad tech vendors on these items, it’s SaaS only for these and set up / commitment is needed from the Ops team. Much of this possible right now if you dig around, but yes RTB got the sexy and revolutionary attention from innovative people and funding because it could capture % of revenue easily.

  2. Specific for DFP I would also add a one button solution to enable ad responsiveness, instead of the Google’s currently clunky and time consuming ‘size mappings’ method. When you deal with multiple web properties like we do, and each has to be manually size mapped, it’s a waste of valuable time.