Thriving in a Fragmented Ecosystem: The Case for a Unified Ad Server

Kristen Fellows, Senior Director, Product Marketing

Kristen Fellows, Senior Director, Product Marketing

When it comes to the current state of ad serving, Gavin Dunaway, the Senior Editor of AdMonsters, said it best: “It’s time to shift our focus from workarounds to a long-term solution. And that involves reconsidering how the ad server operates.

It’s true: efforts to keep pace with more impressions, more technology, more touch points, and the level of relevancy required by consumers led to a highly fragmented technology stack that continues to fall short of publishers’ needs. As new screens, formats and channels are added the infrastructure only becomes more cumbersome. In fact, current ad serving solutions have evolved from complex (and expensive) to actually inhibiting revenue growth for publishers.


In light of all of this complication and chaos, we want to address three of the biggest challenges facing publishers in the digital media ecosystem today—managing fragmented inventory, optimizing across demand channels, and overcoming difficult system integrations—and PubMatic is developing solutions to help solve for each of them.

Challenge #1: Managing fragmented inventory.

According to research from Winterberry Group, on average marketers use more than 12 different tools—and some as many as 31 or more—to manage campaigns and data[1]. We all know that publishers face this same challenge, as complexity is evident across the entire digital ecosystem.

With that in mind, take a look at the diagram above. Let’s assume that publishers have different log-ins, UIs, and workflows for IO-based, programmatic, native, mobile and video campaigns (which clearly is a reality for many companies). Now imagine you’re in Ad Ops creating campaigns, managing inventory, doing optimizations, and configuring channels… the resulting amount of time spent learning and leveraging various solutions is staggering.

Imagine the time you’d save if you could do all of this from one location.

That’s where our Unified Ad Server comes in. We built it from the ground up with the goal of simplifying the workflow associated with managing both programmatic and non-programmatic demand, various screens, and ad formats—all from a single dashboard.


Challenge #2: Optimizing across demand channels.

You might be thinking ‘Great, I can see all my inventory in one place, but what good is that if I can’t optimize across those various sales channels?’ Publishers are looking to increase monetization, and with existing solutions they’ve had to do a bit of guesswork to determine how to best do that. Until recently, no easy, simple option existed for optimizing across demand channels, despite the importance of the ability to do so on publishers’ bottom line.

In a discussion on the topic at a recent PubAcademy, the head of revenue operations for a large, US-based media company described how his organization uses a combination of tech partners and tools (as many as eight or nine in some scenarios) to address this issue: “We do allow our indirect revenue sources—whether associated with private exchange deals or open exchange deals, to compete with and even trump our direct sold campaigns.”

At PubMatic, we believe not only in giving publishers as much control as possible, but also offering simple solutions for complex challenges. With our Unified Ad Server publishers can decide if and how much programmatic demand like open market RTB and private marketplaces competes with direct sold campaigns (i.e. guaranteed line items)— and to do so on an impression-by-impression basis. Publishers can determine which direct line items they want programmatic to compete with, the degree of impact on higher priority line items they’re willing to accept, and weigh that against the potential monthly revenue upside.

Feedback from Bonnier Tidskrifter, an early adopter of our Unified Ad Server, highlights the importance of addressing these major publisher pain points. “It’s great to see companies like PubMatic developing the ability for publishers like us to optimize revenue across channels,” said Bonnier Tidskrifter Head of Programmatic Stefan Carlsson, “Especially without sacrificing guarantees.”

Challenge #3: Difficult system integrations.

Given all of the challenges and complications we’ve discussed thus far, is it at all surprising that another major publisher challenge has to do with the difficulty of trying to integrate with different partners and navigate the “ins and outs” of using various systems?

Since our inception in 2006, PubMatic has been focused on publishers’ needs, and we believe that the ability to leverage the insights and expertise that publishers have built over the lifetime of their business is invaluable in differentiating themselves and succeeding in today’s marketplace. That’s one reason why we built our Unified Ad Server as part of our customizable, modular solution. We want publishers to continue to use their proprietary workflows, systems, and in-depth knowledge of their own businesses to truly establish a competitive advantage in the crowded digital media ecosystem.

As one industry expert recently commented at a PubMatic PubAcadmey, featuring header bidding-related content, “There’s a need in the market for a more progressive ad serving solution than DFP.” At PubMatic, we certainly agree, and we encourage you to take a few minutes to find out more about our Unified Ad Server and all of the other components of our revenue management platform, SEVEN.

To learn more about PubMatic’s Unified Ad Server, the company’s comprehensive revenue automation platform, SEVEN, or any of the other PubMatic products and services, visit or contact your PubMatic Account Rep.

[1] “Too Many Tools? New Data on the Complexity of Marketing Technology,” HubSpot Blog. 15 Feb. 2015.

PubMatic Launches SEVEN

Heading to Dmexco this week? Be sure to stop by the PubMatic Booth, Hall 8, Aisle C069 to find out about our latest product launch: SEVEN, PubMatic’s comprehensive revenue management platform that gives publishers full control of their digital assets and gives media buyers the ability to purchase verified audiences and premium inventory at scale across all screens, channels and formats.

The SEVEN platform provides solutions for:

  • Holistic management of ad decisioning;
  • Automating the buying and selling of inventory;
  • Managing quality control and compliance;
  • Providing real-time data and analytics.

SEVEN encompasses both PubMatic’s existing offerings–including its SSP, RTB, PMP, Analytics, Header Bidding, Curated Audiences, and more,–as well as new solutions including the Unified Ad Server and OpenWrap, within these four solution areas.

PubMatic’s Unified Ad Server is the first built specifically to enable seamless workflow across all ad revenue channels, whether guaranteed direct sold campaigns, private marketplace, private marketplace guaranteed, automated guaranteed, open exchange or integrated wrapper. With PubMatic’s Unified Ad Server, publishers now have the ability to:

  • Manage programmatic and non-programmatic inventory from a single view;
  • Optimize revenue across sales channels without jeopardizing guarantees or brand control requirements;
  • Access enterprise-grade analytics with real-time data and insights.

“It’s great to see companies like PubMatic developing the ability for publishers like us to optimize revenue across channels—especially without sacrificing guarantees,” said Stefan Carlsson, Head of Programmatic at Bonnier Tidskrifter. “With the launch of SEVEN it’s clear that they have a lot more in store as well.”

To find out more about SEVEN, visit or visit the team at Dmexco this week at the PubMatic Booth, Hall 8 Aisle C069.

DSPs: Do You Know How Header Bidding is Impacting Your Campaigns?

PubMatic’s new Header Bidding Extension Object will help you find out

Clearly, header bidding is here to stay. The rapid adoption of this programmatic tactic and its universal acceptance is testament to its ability to return the power of ad decisioning to publishers while also helping buyers segment and target their audiences more effectively. However, the buy-side has struggled to quantify the impact that header bidding has on their business.

In order to help the entire ad tech ecosystem make sense of header bidding and its impact on inventory pricing and performance, PubMatic is excited to launch our Header Bidding Extension Object, which will allow all Demand Side Platforms transacting over the PubMatic platform automatically to determine whether or not an impression is header bidding enabled.

As the header bidding landscape continues to become more complex – with waterfall-based impressions competing directly with header-tag impressions and server-to-server API impressions within a single campaign – increasingly DSPs are searching for streamlined access to the data they need to measure the impact of header bidding-enabled inventory on their campaigns.

Today, DSPs are forced to request specific information on integration types from each of their partners manually, a stark contrast to the automation and efficiency that is central to the programmatic landscape. DSPs need to be able to analyze each type of impression more accurately in order to bid, target and report effectively.

PubMatic’s Header Bidding Extension Object is an addition to the OpenRTB protocol that allows us to send information programmatically within a bid request to provide a DSP with valuable insight into whether or not each opportunity is header-enabled.

The Header Bidding Extension Object release follows the launch of our enterprise-grade Wrapper Solution earlier this year, continuing PubMatic’s track record of innovation in the space and our continued efforts to move header bidding from “hack” to a standardized and measurable part of the programmatic ecosystem.

Reach out to your PubMatic rep to find out more or to get this feature enabled for your DSP.

Hussain Rahim is Director of Product Marketing at PubMatic

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