Three Reasons Publishers Need an Ad Server Ready for a Mobile & Programmatic World

Mobile ImageBy Tim Cronin, Senior Director, Ad Serving at PubMatic

We have been catapulted into the era of mobile and programmatic. A recent study by Pew Research found that 39 of the top 50 U.S.-based news sites now see more visitors engaging with their site’s content on mobile devices than on the desktop. Mobile is also projected to account for 72% of U.S. Digital Ad Spend by 2019. And when it comes to programmatic spend specifically, eMarketer projects that mobile will surpass desktop as early as this year, accounting for 56.2% of all programmatic ad expenditures.

The challenge for publishers is clear: adapt your content and monetization strategy to take full advantage of a mobile and programmatic world. For many publishers, this shift will require rethinking a lot of what they have been taking for granted for the past decade – including their technology infrastructure.

One of the key pieces of infrastructure that needs to be reconsidered is the ad server. A mobile-first world calls for an ad server that was built for the unique challenges and opportunities that mobile offers publishers. A mobile-first world that is also shifting to programmatic requires an ad server that helps publishers effectively manage the massive amount of ad spend that is coming from their direct sold and programmatic campaigns. It’s an enormous opportunity for publishers and therefore getting it right will be crucial.

Here are three ways publishers benefit from using a mobile optimized ad server:

1) Geo-fencing – By now everyone understands that a significant part of the value of mobile is the ability to target consumers based on location. The ability to do this as precisely as possible is a critical differentiator. Indeed, PubMatic’s research into monetizing mobile impressions demonstrated that publishers that offer this data can see a 600% jump in mobile eCPMs. Mobile ad servers with geo-fencing capabilities can effectively target consumers who are in a specific location, whether that location is a coffee shop, the World Cup Final or the middle of Times Square.

2) Rich Media, Native, and your SDK – In a mobile first world, every publisher needs the ability – in both its mobile application inventory and mobile web inventory – to deliver everything from rich media to native units. Consumers and advertisers now expect a full rich media experience on their mobile devices. An ad server that is able to standardize rich media across ad units is able to meet the expectation of a more dynamic and interactive experience on smartphones and other mobile devices.

3) Advanced Server Integrations –The mobile world has been quicker to adopt server-to-server integrations than the desktop world. This creates a much more efficient and less error-prone environment. This is especially crucial in the complex mobile environment with so many different types of devices.

At PubMatic we offer publishers an ad server that is designed to meet the challenges of a mobile-first programmatic world. Last week, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of PubMatic’s acquisition of Mocean Mobile, an enterprise grade ad server and mobile monetization platform. PubMatic now offers an end-to-end solution for managing and monetizing publishers direct sold, programmatic, and third-party campaigns. Our comprehensive solution allows publishers to maximize their revenue, improve operational efficiency and “future-proof” their advertising business.

Learn more about our mobile solutions for publishers here.

The ABCs of Programmatic Continued (D-L)

ABCs ImageIn the latest installment of our ABCs of Programmatic series – where we try to help demystify programmatic by defining some of its most frequently used buzzwords – we cover the letters “D” through “L.” This takes us from DAAST to Latitude/Longitude (Lat/Long).

• DAAST (Digital Audio Ad Serving Template): A standard structure for delivering the details of an audio ad from an ad server to an audio player using an XML schema. Modeled directly after the widely adopted Video Ad Serving Template (VAST), this is the first formal approach to standardizing audio ad delivery and addresses ad execution scenarios and formats unique to audio like voice recognition, logo titles, and video. Source: IAB

• Data-Management Platform (DMP): Platforms that collect, manage, optimize, organize, segment, and share large amounts of data, making the data flexible and actionable to perform a range of services.

• Deal ID: A piece of code containing the agreed-upon terms (negotiated pricing, for example) between an advertiser and a publisher that allows the advertiser to access the publisher’s inventory. Deal IDs are instrumental in facilitating Private Marketplace deals, for example. Source: AdAge, PubMatic

• Demand-Side Platform (DSP): A company that handles automated media buying from advertisers across multiple sources using unified targeting, data, RTB optimization, and reporting. Generally, DSPs connect directly to supply-side platforms (SSPs) to enable publishers to package and sell inventory themselves. Source: IAB, PubMatic

• eCPM (Effective Cost Per Thousand): A form of measurement that allows advertisers to gauge the cost differences between a CPC and CPM campaign in order to determine which is more cost effective.

• First-Party Data: User information collected and stored by social media sites, website publishers, retailers, and others after the user visits a digital property. Source: AdAge, PubMatic

• Frequency Capping: The limit put on the number of times an impression is exposed to an advertisement message.

• Geotargeting: Showing ads to consumers based on their mobile device’s location, such as ZIP code information users submit when registering on a site or service or GPS coordinates collected by an application or site. Source: AdAge, PubMatic

• IAB Rising Stars Ad Units: An interactive digital ad format that entices consumers with high-quality tech. Source: IAB, PubMatic

• Impressions: Simply put, impressions are views of a given web page. The number of potential impressions is used to determine the cost of displaying an ad. Source: IAB, PubMatic

• I/O – Insertion Order: The contracted order form to buy advertising space between a buyer and a seller; a purchase order between an interactive advertising seller and a buyer (usually an advertiser or its agency). Source: IAB

• Latitude/Longitude (Lat/Long): A geographic coordinate system that, when used in the context of mobile advertising, refers to the location data that can be shared from a device to help identify characteristics of the user, environment or context. Lat/Long is a critical metric that helps make advertising content more valuable to the publisher, advertiser, and consumer.

So, Does Verizon/AOL Finally Affirm Publishers Need Tech To Survive?

By Kirk McDonald, President of PubMatic

This piece was originally posted on LinkedIn.

verizon-aol-merger

If there remained any lingering doubt about the critically important role that marketing/media technology will play in the future success of media companies, I’m hoping that news of the Verizon’s acquisition of AOL last week will put those thoughts to rest. The deal is noteworthy because the mobile telecom giant seems most interested in AOL’s media technology.

While I no longer have the day-to-day duties and challenges of a publisher, that mindset remains a part of my professional DNA. When I see an announcement like the Verizon-AOL deal, I find myself wondering how publishers will respond as the media landscape continues to be shaped by mega entities that blend media, technology and data.

As usual, a lot of us may be tempted to ask: how should we categorize the future Verizon-AOL? Is it a media company or a technology company? As the pundits suggests, I guess it should be added to whichever category we would assign Google and Facebook.

What should be clear at this point, how we categorize these companies is no longer worthy of a protracted debate. The unofficial consensus seems to be that these giants straddle both the media and technology worlds. In fact, they have become a frequent supplier of technology to publishers, while at same time acting as a media competitor to those same publishers.

eMarketer projects that Google, Facebook and Twitter will grab $11.68 billion of the U.S. digital display advertising market in 2015, representing about 43% of the entire non-search market. And it may not be long before it makes sense to add Verizon-AOL’s advertising revenue to that number. Even if these giant companies are not exactly “media companies,” they are competing for the same advertising revenue as publishers. So the debate as to whether they are media or technology companies is academic at this point.

The publishing community needs to take more direct action to respond to these giant market shifts. Every successful media company needs to find the independent marketing technology provider that will help them execute their business strategy and compete in this new environment.

During the last five years, publishing has changed to a degree that no one could have anticipated. Although the core fundamentals of the business – monetizing and managing the relationship between consumers, content and services – remain intact, the means have changed. Premium content is no longer the failsafe recipe for success that it was for publishers for decades. Instead, technology and data are upending the monetization strategies that publishers have relied on for so long.

Whether it’s data about consumers or data about how advertisers value inventory and audiences, successful publishers must transition to this new real-time world to remain competitive. That transition means retooling and rethinking the skillset of the publishing workforce. It also requires state-of-the-art technology solutions that are developed not only to enable publishers to compete today, but also designed to anticipate the seismic changes that occur with each passing quarter.

They need holistic inventory management platforms that offer real-time, and eventually predictive analytics. Publishers need marketing automation technology that will enable them to manage their sales, pricing and packaging, and go-to-market efforts strategically and at scale. This means automating the publisher’s marketing value chain. This includes everything from identifying a new buyer, qualifying that buyer, nurturing buyer relationships, executing a sale and identifying future opportunities to upsell and cross sell. Obviously, these are not new concepts to publishers. However, doing them successfully millions of times a week and in real-time is only possible when enabled by technology.

As publishers embrace this challenge, it’s imperative that they choose the right technology partner. Quietly, many publishers are becoming increasingly skeptical of the idea that the tech giants’ long-term business goals align with their success. At the same time the ad exchanges, more accurately described as branded marketplaces, are focused on creating liquid markets and are making clear investments to bolster their ability to drive to that end. These marketplaces are no more invested in a publisher’s success than the NASDAQ is invested in the success of a particular mutual fund that makes trades on its exchange.

There is simply no successful case study available that provides a blueprint of exactly how to reinvent a premium publishing company into a world-class media and technology operation. This effort in change management is a high wire act for most publishers. The marketplace’s quick and relentless shift to a world that demands software to execute strategy is making it a necessity.

So let’s quit looking for the answer to the wrong question, “Are Google and Facebook (and now Verizon-AOL) media companies or tech companies?” and start asking the right question, “How am I sourcing and using independent marketing technology to build a successful foundation for the media company of the future?”

Programmatic Analytics: We Should Expect More

By Anand Das, Co-Founder and CTO at PubMatic

Analytics Blog

If you’re in an unfamiliar neighborhood and craving Chinese food, you can pull out your smartphone and ask where the nearest good restaurant is, using plainspoken language. If you’re trying to get in shape, you can use a Fitbit and apps to track your activity, guide you in the right direction, and visualize your progress clearly.

If harnessing the vast amounts of data around us in our personal lives to gain valuable insights is so easy, why is often so difficult to replicate that experience at work? As consumers, we expect the technology in our lives to be simple, fluid and responsive. It’s time for us to expect the same from our business tools.

Programmatic has made advertising more precise, measurable and accountable than ever before. But the irony of the programmatic age is that we measure our results with tools from the previous decade – or even the previous century. Programmatic has become the new normal, but our reporting and analytics are stuck in the old normal. A lot of media planning is still done in Excel. Some non-programmatic media buys still are completed through fax machines.

Advertisers and publishers could use programmatic to be more adaptive and responsive – making real-time changes to strategy based on up-to-the-minute data and insights – but the tools to help manage and understand this data are not nearly as advanced as the platform itself.

We need powerful visualizations to help us identify patterns, trends and outliers in their data – enabling faster, more informed decision-making. We should be able to ask simple questions about complex real-time data, and get clear and actionable answers. In the programmatic world, we can tap into advances in consumer technology to create a more conversational approach to analytics and reporting. Instead of constructing a complex query, we should be able to ask the simple questions our bosses are asking us, such as “Who are my top five agency buyers?”

And much like investors in financial markets, we need benchmarking insights that provide a view into the wider market. Most investors couldn’t conceive of a world that didn’t include indexes like the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and the hundreds of others that they access to measure their progress and adjust their strategy. By contrast, in the real-time ad sales market there’s not been anything similar. Publishers and buyers remain largely in the dark when it comes to accessing insights into what’s happening in the wider market.

Programmatic is the epitome of “big data” – an unprecedented amount of detailed knowledge about the reach and effectiveness of media buys. And like all big data, its volume and complexity outpaces any human’s ability to process it. But smart technology can comb through all this data and produce the insights and guidance we need.

This combination of natural language processing, data analysis and benchmarking can add up to some significant advances in how we approach the programmatic world. If we can close the gap between data, insight and action, we can unlock programmatic’s full potential to optimize and supercharge the world of advertising.

Adapted from the PubMatic 2015 Programmatic Outlook Report.

Click here to learn how publishers can use PubMatic Analytics to optimize and grow revenue.

 

Three Things Publishers Should Demand from Programmatic Analytics

By Alaric Thomas, Director of Product Management, Big Data and Analytics at PubMatic
Analytics ImageTechnology accelerates everything it touches. Nowhere does that seem truer these days than in the ad sales market. In the time it took you to read the previous sentence, millions of digital advertising impressions were auctioned and served.

Yet, while everything in ad sales seems to be speeding up to real-time, one thing has noticeably lagged – reporting and analytics solutions for publishers. Many publishers feel like they are playing catch-up to the sophisticated analytics solutions that buyers use to make decisions. Publishers are also wasting time trying to find critical data within overly-complicated reports. Finally, publishers struggle to understand the value of their inventory and how they are performing against rival publishers.

Programmatic advertising is creating mountains of data everyday. Publishers that can harness that data into actionable insights will be able to drive better business outcomes. They will be more successful than rivals that aren’t able to convert all that data into value. With that in mind, I present three things every publisher should demand from their analytics solution.

Real-Time

This is a real-time market, and a real-time market demands real-time analytics. Real-time analytics allows publishers to identify and immediately react to market trends, as well as uncover new opportunities as they happen. Instead of getting frustrated as they become aware of opportunities too late to take action, publishers can instead take advantage of changes in the market in real-time resulting in increased revenue.

You wouldn’t manage your retirement portfolio by relying on a stockbroker who uses stale market information. Therefore, publishers shouldn’t rely on programmatic solutions that don’t provide up-to-the-minute data about the market that they transact in.

Simple to Use and Easy to Decipher

Analytics shouldn’t bury publishers in mounds of data, or complicated reports that are difficult to understand. Instead, publishers should expect an interface that is easy-to-use and provides functionality that makes it simple to find critical data. Ideally, this means having a natural language processing capability that empowers casual and power users to search for data by just typing in questions using every-day language. The analytics solution should also provide visualization features, such as graphs and heat maps that make it easy to identify trends and data outliers.

Competitive Actionable Insights

Until now, the real-time ad sales market has been a black box for information. One way to open up the black box is for publishers to demand competitive insights that give them a view into the wider market. This means getting access to competitive data that provides insights into how a publisher’s inventory is performing against its peers. This type of actionable competitive insight will result in optimizing pricing and packaging strategies allowing publishers to maximize their overall revenue. Publishers could then also increase revenue by identifying new potential advertisers that are advertising on competitive publisher properties.

At PubMatic we believe publishers need robust analytics in today’s data-driven programmatic marketplace. As the leader of the PubMatic’s Big Data and Analytics Product Management Team, I am proud to be part of a company that is revolutionizing analytics in the programmatic advertising industry. This includes launching the industry’s only analytics solution to provide real-time data, and the industry’s only competitive benchmarking solution which allows publishers to make smarter business decisions that increase revenue.

If you’re interested in learning more about PubMatic Analytics you can view details here.

Four Key Findings About Mobile Media From Pew’s “State of The News Media 2015”

Each year the annual “State of The News Media” report published by The Pew Research Center provides a host of insights about the challenges and opportunities that US-based news publishers are facing. A big focus of this year’s report –released last week– is the stunning growth of mobile.

Here are some key findings:

  • The Mobile Majority is Here. The study finds that 39 of the top 50 news sites now see more mobile visits than desktop visits. This finding was especially true among so-called “digital native” sites like Upworthy, EliteDaily.com and Buzzfeed where mobile users far outstrip desktop users. However, the finding also held true for more traditional outlets. Indeed, 19 of the top 25 leading newspapers recorded at least 10% more mobile traffic than desktop traffic.
  • Mobile Advertising Spend Is Exploding. In 2014, mobile ad spending leapt 78% to $19 billion, and that red-hot growth rate actually cooled from 170% in 2013. Mobile now accounts for 37% of all digital spend, up from 25% in the previous year. 
  • Desktop Holds An Edge in Time Spent. For 40 of the top 50 news sites, users tend to spend more time on a site per visit when they arrive via desktop than when they come via a mobile device. This fact could be a critical part of keeping advertisers interested in desktop inventory as this extra time spent might possibly translate into increased viewability, which is a key concern for many advertisers.
  • Five Companies Have Grabbed Almost Two-Thirds of Mobile Display Spending. Technology companies have been more adept at monetizing the massive growth in mobile advertising spending. In 2014, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Pandora and Apple (iAd) earned 64% of mobile display revenue. Indeed, it wasn’t that long ago that both Wall Street and Silicon Valley were questioning whether Facebook would be able to monetize its growing mobile traffic. Those questions seemed to be put to rest as its mobile revenue has gone from zero to $3.6 billion since 2012. Now the real question is, “Can the publishing community find ways to begin to earn a bigger a slice of the mobile display pie?”

Publishers interested in learning more about maximizing revenue from their mobile inventory can download the whitepaper. Getting the Most Out of Mobile: 5 Ways to Maximize the Value of Premium Publisher Mobile Ad inventory.

Publishers can also check out the infographic below.

Get the Most Out of Mobile

The ABCs of Programmatic (Literally)

 

ABCs Image

The digital advertising industry is known for its plethora of buzzwords and acronyms. “Programmatic,” “RTB,” “PMP,” “DSP”… These terms are frequently tossed around in meetings and at industry events with increasing frequency. Here at PubMatic, we recognize that understanding these terms can mean the difference between completely grasping a rather straightforward concept or getting lost in haze of jargon.

To that end, we identified several dozen terms that we think are most important for digital media and advertising executives to know and understand. In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting a selection of these definitions for you to peruse at your leisure.

This week, we’re looking at everything from “ad networks” to “cross-device tracking.” Be sure to keep checking back for more useful definitions, as we continue our “ABCs of Programmatic” series.

  • Agency Trading Desk (ATD): A centralized, service-based organization that serves as a managed service layer, typically between a demand-side platform (DSP) or other audience buying technologies, and an agency. ATDs use data to help advertisers effectively purchase audience-based advertising at scale across digital media. Source: AdExchanger, PubMatic
  • Audience: In the context of programmatic advertising — For Publishers: This describes the characteristics of consumers of the content or service that is being provided. For Advertisers: This describes the target of an advertising campaign or a marketing effort.
  • Automated Guaranteed (AG): The automation of traditional digital direct sales, often of publishers’ reserved inventory. In Automated Guaranteed deals, the RFP and campaign trafficking processes are automated, inventory and pricing are guaranteed, deals are negotiated directly between sellers and buyers and facilitated by a technology platform. Direct integration with publishers’ ad servers allow for real-time availability of impressions and direct line item insertion for trafficking.
  • Automated Performance (AP): This is workflow automation, similar to Automated Guaranteed, but for these deals campaign performance is guaranteed, rather than impressions. The two main performance metrics for these deals are cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-install (CPI).
  • Branded Marketplace: A marketplace between buyers and sellers of media assets that leverages the knowledge from buying and selling dynamics in order to arbitrage and accelerate the liquidity of the market; also known as “exchanges” or “ad exchanges”.
  • Brand Control: The goal of publishers and advertisers that want to make sure their brands maintain their integrity. Brand protection tools automate the process of preventing objectionable content from appearing on publishers’ sites and ensure that branded advertisements don’t appear alongside objectionable content.
  • Cookie: A small piece of data, or identifier, attached to a person’s Internet browser to track online behavior and sites visited. Source: AdAge, PubMatic
  • Cookie-Sync: The mechanism by which a SSP cookie ID can be matched to a DSP cookie ID. The purpose is usually intended to improve the audience match rate between buyers and sellers and improve the measurement of campaign effectiveness.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): A variation of the CPM pricing methodology where the cost incurred by advertisers is tied to an action, or for every ‘click’ placed on an ad that redirects the user to a given website or customized landing page. Source: IAB, PubMatic
  • Cost Per Install (CPI): A popular mobile advertising pricing model used by app developers that requires developers to pay only when a user downloads their advertised app; also known as cost-per-acquisition. Source: AppFlood, PubMatic
  • Cross-Device Tracking: Describes the many ways platforms and publishers try to identify consumers across smartphones, tablets, desktop computers and other connected devices.

Cheat Sheet: Programmatic Deal Types

By Justin Re, Director Product Management, PubMatic

Justin Re HeadshotFor many in the digital advertising world, the term “programmatic” is synonymous with “Real-Time Bidding,” or “RTB.” But as the industry has evolved, it becomes increasingly important to make the distinction between the two. Simply put, RTB does not equal programmatic. RTB is a technology protocol, and just one of many approaches to programmatic.

We are witnessing an explosion of new buying channels that better connect buyers and sellers, all with the aim of moving ad inventory higher up the value chain and replicating the traditional direct buying process without the legacy inefficiencies that go along with it.

There are six major types of programmatic deal types, although we have yet to see industry-wide consensus on how each is defined or the appropriate goals and strategies that accompany them. Here’s a short cheat sheet of each of the six major deal types that hopefully decodes some of the complexity around the many flavors or programmatic.

Open Marketplace RTB

Real-time bidding (RTB) is a technology that enables the buying and selling of digital ad impressions through instantaneous auctions, facilitated by ad exchanges or demand- and supply-side platforms. In the open marketplace, RTB impressions are available to all bidders.

Private Marketplace (PMP)

These are customized, invitation-only marketplaces that provide publishers with the ability to set aside certain ad inventory packages and sell it to a select buyer or group of buyers with an emphasis on margin management for the seller. Unlike a direct buy, which can be quite labor-intensive, buyers in a Private Marketplace use programmatic methods to purchase from publishers.

Private Marketplace Guaranteed (PMPG)

Similar to Private Marketplaces, a PMP Guaranteed deal is also a customized, invitation-only marketplace, however it is one in which a single premium publisher makes inventory and audiences available to a single buyer, thus guaranteeing a total spend and audience. This effectively guarantees the delivery of the impressions to the buyer.

Automated Guaranteed (AG)

The automation of traditional digital direct sales often of publishers’ most highly valued (e.g. premium) inventory. In Automated Guaranteed deals, the RFP and campaign trafficking processes are automated, inventory and pricing are guaranteed, deals are negotiated directly between sellers and buyers and facilitated by a technology platform. Direct integration with publishers’ ad servers allow for real-time availability of impressions and direct line item insertion for trafficking.

Automated Performance (AP)

This is workflow automation, similar to Automated Guaranteed, but for these deals campaign performance is guaranteed, rather than impressions. The two main performance metrics for these deals are cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-install (CPI).

Spot Buying

Spot Buying transactions exist within an exchange environment with pre-negotiated, fixed pricing (on things like CPM or CPC). Typically, these are given a higher priority in the ad server than open marketplace or PMP transactions. These types of deals are the result of advertiser demand for a more predictable offering within the exchange space.

Programmatic Outlook Report_Deal Types

This post is adapted from an essay found in PubMatic’s 2015 Programmatic Outlook Report. Download your copy.