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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

3 Digital advertising resources to help publishers optimize sales

September 21, 2021 | By Steve Guenther, Vice President, Digital Auditing—Alliance for Audited Media @SteveGuenther13

In an advertising ecosystem that often can seem complex and opaque, digital publishers must find ways to stand out from other websites that offer advertising.

The industry has developed several resources to foster greater supply chain transparency and help publishers take greater control of their inventory, stand out for their commitment to quality and earn more revenue. It is important for digital publishers to be aware of these resources and integrate them into the selling process to maximize revenue opportunities.

Here we look at some of these resources and share how they benefit publishers and buyers.

1. Private marketplaces

Programmatic technology has made it easier for marketers to buy advertising at scale. However, not all exchanges provide them with publishers that have been vetted by a trusted organization.

Private marketplaces give buyers access to quality inventory while participating publishers also benefit from higher CPMs and by knowing the ads placed on their sites are from legitimate marketers.

You’re probably aware of TrustX, a premium private marketplace developed by Digital Content Next. It offers buyers access to inventory directly from more than 250 member publishers, bypassing resellers and intermediaries. Similar exchanges are taking hold globally including The Ozone Project in the U.K. and the Maple Network Exchange in Canada. By joining a premium private marketplace, publishers can find strength in numbers and greater exposure to buyers looking to buy inventory from quality publishers.

2. Industry programs

Several organizations have created programs to identify publishers that have taken steps to stand out, whether that’s by providing transparency, offering quality local journalism, or integrating industry standards and best practices into the buying process.

The Alliance for Audited Media’s Digital Publisher Audit is an in-depth, continuous audit of a publisher’s website traffic and business practices to verify that a publisher is effectively minimizing ad fraud risk. This new assurance solution addresses ad fraud at the publisher level and complements other industry initiatives like private marketplaces. We include all AAM-audited digital publishers on the AAM Audited Domain List, which can be downloaded from AAM’s website. It can also be found at the IAB Tech Lab Transparency Center, a resource that buyers can access to learn more about sellers and the compliance programs and industry standards they adhere to.

The Local Media Consortium is an association of local newspapers, broadcasters and online news outlets committed to quality journalism. The LMC Local News Advertising Inclusion List includes thousands of local media advertising opportunities for national brands.

And finally, The Trustworthy Accountability Group sets standards that promote greater supply chain transparency and includes organizations from across the industry including brands, agencies, publishers and tech providers. The TAG Registry lists members that are committed to increasing trust in digital advertising.

By taking part in these programs, publishers can be easily identified by media buyers who access these resources to build inclusion lists and prioritize quality partners.

3. Supply chain validation

Publishers also can use industry tools to easily gain insight into who sells their inventory and discover ways to make the process more efficient.

The IAB Tech Lab develops solutions to bring greater transparency to the supply chain through tools such as ads.txt (app-ads.txt) and sellers.json. The organization recently launched a new service that analyzes publishers’ ads.txt files to validate who is authorized to sell their inventory. Supply Chain Validation allows publishers to verify that their ads.txt file adheres to technical specifications by alerting sellers when issues arise such as an incorrect or missing entry, which can lead to missed revenue or an unauthorized sale. The service also compares the publisher’s ads.txt file to their selling partners’ sellers.json files to determine if there are any inconsistencies between the two. The results are then published in the Transparency Center and are also available from the IAB Tech Lab via an API.

As a premium publisher, it is important to integrate industry solutions into your selling strategy to stand out to advertisers. Putting the right processes in place will give your site — and your ad sales efforts —the best chance for success.

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