YieldBuild CEO Edmondson Says Microsoft PubCenter And Google AdSense Making Beautiful Music Together

YieldBuildPaul Edmondson is CEO of YieldBuild, a yield optimization company.

AdExchanger.com: Please describe the momentum you’re seeing at YieldBuild. For example, how many participating publishers are a part of your optimization offering these days?

We’re really happy with our growing publisher base. While we want to respect our publishers’ privacy, we can say that we have thousands of publishers, from very large social network and content sites to small blogs.

What is your target publisher market? Can any publisher participate?

Any site that meets our supported ad networks’ guidelines can begin optimizing their ads the first day with YieldBuild. Since we have special strength in optimizing contextual ads, our sweet spot is with content-rich sites that get a good portion of their traffic from search. However, a lot of direct-traffic sites have also seen impressive revenue gains using YieldBuild.

Do you consider your company’s model full-service or self-service?

We operate completely under a self-service model. A publisher can provision an account and begin optimization in less than a half hour.

How does Microsoft AdCenter’s Publisher text ad network compare to Google’s AdSense? Data points would be payout, contextual match, customization capabilities, etc.

Microsoft pubCenter (adCenter Publisher) is an excellent adjunct alongside AdSense, where it complements Google’s offering beautifully. YieldBuild features category-aware ad allocation, granting pubCenter, for example, more prominent ad exposure than AdSense in categories where it consistently outperforms Google. Contextual matching has been strong, although Microsoft still doesn’t have the same breadth of advertiser inventory as Google. We’ve seen, however, RPC (revenue per click) often making up for lower CTR due to less-targeted contextual matching. Really, though, it’s publisher-specific, and it’s better to have YieldBuild test and make the determination of what network goes where.

I should add here that pubCenter is one source of contextual ads as part of our Premium Text Ad Program, which includes other high-quality text ad sources as well.

Other than Google and Microsoft’s networks, how many networks and platforms are you optimizing on behalf of publishers?

In the contextual sphere, we also support Yahoo Publisher Network and Chitika, and among display networks we support Advertising.com, ValueClick Media, Tribal Fusion, and BlueLithium. We also offer a primarily-display International Ad Program that helps publishers monetize non-US traffic.

What are the advantages of your company’s offerings among all the yield optimization companies?

We do a couple of things that are unique.

First, YieldBuild performs sophisticated format optimization for text-based ads, intelligently honing in on the format variants unique to text ads (things like background color, border style, font color and style, etc) that make a difference in performance. We use our own proprietary optimization intelligence to narrow in on the format options that are likely to do well, and then we test the possible permutations to arrive at a set of layouts that perform best.

Second, we allow publishers to maintain a direct relationship with the ad networks we support. So, for reporting and payment purposes, your account is still active. Naturally, we offer a really fantastic consolidated analytics suite that allows you to see your performance across all networks, too.

Please explain your company’s revenue model.

We operate on an impressions-based fee (3%). This means that 3% of the time ads are served through us, we use our ad network account IDs, while 97% of the time, we use the publishers’. This avoids the need for invoicing and payment for our fee.

Can advertisers or ad networks buy through your company? If not, will either of these two be able to purchase through your company someday?

Advertisers interested in reaching our large publisher base can work through any one of the ad networks we support. Larger advertisers can contact us about participating in either our Premium Text Ad Program or our International Ad Program if they’d like to reach our publishers’ audiences directly.

What kinds of inventory are you “optimizing” besides text? Static display, Rich media, Video? Any upcoming plans for other formats?

We support a number of display networks, although our optimization options are relatively limited (we can only alter the position and size of the ad unit). We don’t support optimization of other formats yet, and although we have no current plans to support them, we might in the future. Our primary interest now is to reach publishers running text-based ads, since that’s our sweet spot and we have demonstrated strong performance improvements for them.

How do you see advertising exchanges impacting your business now and in the future?

Exchanges are a large, and growing, part of the online ad picture. Their ability to allow advertisers to manage their inventory requirements efficiently is unrivaled. We currently work indirectly with the Right Media Exchange and imagine that we will continue to work with the largest exchanges in the future.

Any plans to take advantage of real-time bidding (RTB) and demand-side optimization tools?

We’ve seen some companies making early forays into RTB in this space, and while it sounds like a nice idea, we’d like to see if it provides a demonstrable benefit to publishers before we invest in building the technology and the advertiser base. Because we don’t typically have a direct relationship with advertisers, we haven’t yet taken advantage of advertiser optimization tools.

Can your yield optimization service be integrated with other ad management platforms?

YieldBuild implemented on a Website is just a javascript snippet, so in this sense it’s no different from any other ad network tag. Most of our publishers use an ad manager to serve up our code; as long as they don’t use iframes, there should not be any issue whatsoever.

Follow YieldBuild (@yieldbuild) and AdExchanger.com (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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