Programmatic Publishers: Data, Header Bidding, and More

The latest updates about still evolving relationship between programmatic, publishers

On the eve of its programmatic publishers conference earlier this month, featured several articles on programmatic advertising, including a few from the point of view of agencies, marketers, and ad buyers.

As this form of revenue generation is still a work in progress for digital magazines, it’s crucial to keep an eye on its evolution. Data-driven publishing and ad tech continue to be must-explore areas, and programmatic ads are right there at the top of the list. Let’s check out some intel from other sectors of the industry.

Programmatic Publishers: Razorfish and Real-Time Data

Razorfish’s first Director of Programmatic Emmy Spahr is a big fan of real-time data to drive programmatic; publishers are the big winners with it, she explains in an interview with

“Programmatic has definitely passed the tipping point today and gone from hot topic to part of every marketers tool kit. In the future, we won’t be referring to media buys as ‘programmatic,’ it will be assumed that data application is involved. Solutions are growing in scope and scale constantly. We see teams innovating to include the programmatic capabilities in ways beyond direct response more and more. Such as guaranteed programmatic buys running through DSPs,” Spahr tells Jameson Doris.

“When you’re transacting with a publisher in real time and have a direct line into the premium, in view, impressions across a site or network of sites. … Clients mostly want a point of view on how they can leverage their data. We seek to bring scalable solutions to capture the most relevant users for our clients’ business.”

How Are Digital Advertisers Doing With Header Bidding?

Always a plus for digital publishers to get the dirt from their agency counterparts, right? minOnline provides another example of that in a recent piece about how buyers are dealing with the good and bad of header bidding.


“‘Eh, the jury’s still out on header bidding,’ said an ad tech friend the other day. I wanted to snort. A great deal of digital ink has been spilled on header-based integrations that allow demand partners to analyze opportunities and send in better-evaluated bids in near real-time for a reason—it’s torn open the programmatic landscape… in a good way. Basically header bidding has leveled the playing field by allowing countless demand sources to invade the walled garden Google set up with via the waterfall within the Doubleclick For Publishers (DFP) ad server,” AdMonsters Senior Editor Gavin Dunaway writes.

At the same time, my agency friend is right to be skeptical because header bidding is a hack. True, a lot of innovations in digital advertising have been hacks and as hacks go some header integrations are pretty impressive, but we can’t escape the fact that they are a workaround of DFP’s closed system. Even with innovations like wrappers that house and execute numerous header integrations simultaneously, the whole setup is extremely convoluted and prone to cause dreaded latency issues.

MediaVest | Spark EVP on Modern Day Digital Advertising

Another great interview with an ad buying exec, this one with MediaVest | Spark Executive Vice President of Advertising Technology & Platforms Oleg Korenfeld.

“It is no longer just long tail, cheap reach option. We expect more and more premium inventory to be available through some form of automated activation. We took control over the entire programmatic daisy chain. To make sure we can guarantee the most transparent and efficient working media investment through programmatic channels. We also launched a data architecture team to work together with programmatic buyers and clients to consult, activate and optimize around data sources and their effectiveness,” Korenfeld tells Doris.

“Data is the most important element of precision marketing. The more accurate and transparent the data originator is, the less impressions we end up buying against audience we should not have been buying in the first place.”

When it comes to programmatic, publishers are starting to pay more attention. Are you one of them? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

To read more about programmatic publishers and other industry trends, visit


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