Get to Know Your Ad Providers

We recently invited a great group of publishers to our sovrn headquarters for a night of networking, war stories, and of course, libations. It’s always exciting to meet the publishers we work with and talk to them face-to-face. They get the chance to ask direct, blunt, and important questions without any time constraints. And I get the chance to ask some questions of my own to learn more about this group of enthusiastic publishers.

One of the most repeated questions during the event was, “How can I optimize my current revenue with you?”

This is a question I hear across the industry, across big professional media houses as well as smaller sites and bloggers. It doesn’t always sound the same, but I find that most questions publishers ask across the board sum up to this one: What should I be doing differently in order to maximize my revenue from any given partner?

It comes down to:

  • Really knowing your advertising partners and their individual strengths
  • Understanding the value of your inventory and offering
  • Setting the right key performance indicator (KPI) expectations

Some partners will be better than others at higher fill rates. However, higher fill rates always equate a lower CPM. On the flip side, partners that are strong in optimizing for higher CPMs (maybe through private marketplaces or a different mix of buyers) will always have a lower fill rate than partners with a lower CPM.

It is important to know the value of your inventory and offering. For example, if you are a publisher with a site all about eating healthy you could expect to command higher CPMs for specific audience segments relating specifically to health, food, and nutrition. When a campaign matches the unique audience you attract, it will result in higher CPMs. However, be realistic and know you can’t always expect a high-valued campaign to target your specific audience.

Understanding what matters to you is crucial. Do you care more about the CPM, the fill rate, the ads that run across the site? All three? There are many different variations of the formula combining these metrics to get you to the same revenue. Knowing what you really want to achieve will help you in choosing the right ad partner mix.

With these three points in mind, you should have a frank conversation with your ad providers. The conversation will give you more input into what their unique strengths are and will enable you to create a comprehensive strategy on how to implement all the partners and where to slot each of them in your ad chain. Every provider knows what they’re good at and where they can help the most – work together to reach your specific goals.

It is important to have an ongoing dialogue with your ad providers. This is an ever-changing landscape: new campaigns get added all the time, new advertisers come on board, new spend flows through the pipes. The best way to capitalize on the new demand is to speak regularly with your ad providers to ensure you can jump on these opportunities when they come along.

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