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Programmatic Ad Sales for Publishers: The Road Ahead

Weighing whether to try programmatic ad sales? Here are some factors to consider before ‘pressing the button’

Are the robots finally taking over? Does the emergence of programmatic ad sales as a preferred revenue model signal a sea change for publishers? And, if so, are you ready?

Recently, we found five articles across MediaPost‘s Real-Time Daily, Media Daily News, and RTB Insider titles that focus on the automated ad market – and the current implications for publishers.

DCN CEO Says to Not Sacrifice Content for Programmatic Ad Sales

Digital Content Next CEO Jason Kint had some advice for media companies at the recent Publishing Insider Summit when it comes to relying too heavily on programmatic ads.

“[Publishers] are embracing programmatic. [But] the great mistake that we make in digital is when we think of content only as the article, text or video, and we don’t think about the entire experience. The content is every bit as important. I would argue the biggest mistake a publisher can make is losing sight of that as we shift and we create more value with audiences,” Kint said during the panel.

“[Programmatic] started as a direct response, audience-based business, which is what most of digital is right now. And what you’re going to see change in the coming years is those machines actually calibrating toward high-quality content, clean, well-lit environments, and brands that marketers and humans trust. That’s where the overall content experience will really matter.”

Can Programmatic Advertising Platforms Cripple Some Publishers?

For some publishers, building a programmatic infrastructure is beyond their means. As MediaPost points out, the cost can reach into the tens of millions of dollars. This price tag would include a workflow set-up, a data management platform, reporting, bidding capabilities, and an attribution model.

According to Collective CEO Joe Apprendi, erratic viewability can render all of this spending as sunken money. And Didit CEO Kevin Lee says basic ad servers – costing seven digits instead of 8 – are insufficient when it comes to programmatic ad sales.

5 Predictions for Programmatic Ads From MediaPost

Here’s what Connexity Senior Vice President of Sales & Development Craig Teich says we can look forward to in the realm of programmatic ad sales:

1. Increased investment in programmatic campaigns for branding efforts. 

2. A focus on airtight data.

3. Vendors and analytics personnel are key. 

4. Specialization of format and industry will ramp up. 

5. 90% of all advertising will be programmatic in 10 years. 

Can Programmatic Ads and Native Ads Coexist Harmoniously?

Purch Vice President of Marketing and Partnerships Ben Plomion says yes, but only if we loosen our definition of native ads to mean anything that’s more engaging than a traditional display ad.

“It’s this more nuanced definition of native that startups like AdsNative and TripleLift are referring to when they promise to combine programmatic and native. It’s also this broader definition that makes it possible to think of Facebook ads and sponsored Tweets as native advertising,” Plomion writes.

“As long as there are clearly defined criteria for the ad units – headline length, image size, etc. – there’s no reason why you can’t buy and sell them in a marketplace. And if you’re going to create such an exchange, it only makes sense to make it a fully programmatic exchange that targets readers in real time based on their online behavior.”

3 Hurdles of Programmatic Ad Sales

Purch Vice President of Yield and Revenue Michael Hannon says strategy with ad tech, execution with the right staff, and accountability in the form of audience and viewability are the keys.

What have your experiences been like with programmatic ad sales? Let us know in the comments!

To read more about programmatic ad sales, visit MediaPost.

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