Spending on programmatic advertising is set to hit $133.04 billion in 2023, representing over 90% of display advertising, according to eMarketer. This rise in programmatic advertising presents publishers with a new challenge. While spending increases, so do the estimates around the cost of ad fraud. Publishers must exert more control over inventory than ever before if they aim to maintain customer trust while being a part of the programmatic marketplace. The good news is, providing a trustworthy, fraud-free environment for advertisers can be what sets you apart from the competition.
Certainly, achieving transparency with advertising partners remains a persistent industry challenge. However, there are also few ways that publishers can maximize their opportunity for monetization while building audience trust and meeting the needs of advertisers. Let’s look at a few and what they may involve.
Pay attention to bad actors and ensure fraud-free experiences
It seems like an obvious criterion, but advertisers and agencies need to ensure real people see their ads. Delivering quality impressions and identifying any invalid traffic is table stakes for publishers who want to build trust with advertisers.
In the past, attempts to prevent invalid traffic (IVT) have been tedious at best, and, at worst, horribly ineffective. To be genuinely effective at blocking IVT, publishers need intelligent solutions to identify patterns associated with malicious bot activity. Your solutions should do this without slowing download times or exposing consumers’ personally identifying information (PII). This is how you truly stay ahead of the game.
Commit to responsible media
We can all agree that getting brand safety right is essential—that value transcends across the ecosystem. The right technology needs to be in place to safeguard brand reputation while also being nuanced enough to allow access to quality inventory. Having the right tools in place will instill advertisers with confidence that working with you is an efficient and responsible investment decision.
However, brand safety is about so much more than avoiding inappropriate or non-brand-aligned content. Establishing a marketing strategy that brings brand values into the equation has increased importance, especially when it comes to reaching younger audiences. Curating packages in line with advertiser values (such as diversity, social initiatives, and environmental impact) will make you a more attractive partner overall. Publishers that support and maintain responsible media practices demonstrate integrity and care for audiences by doing what they can to avoid potentially damaging exposures.
Work with reliable tools you have now
Faced with an economy overwhelmed by COVID-19 and web traffic spread across a variety of devices and channels, more than 70% of advertisers feel they need to simplify management of programmatic budgets to have more inventory control. To meet the challenges of rapid declines in revenue during pandemic-caused turmoil, publishers cannot wait idly for the next technological innovation. In fact, conditions like these create opportunities to plan how to lower expenses and optimize value.
For example, take a look at the tools you currently have at your disposal and determine if you are truly getting the maximum value. Connect with your partners, revisit best practices, and uncover new features that you may have missed or metrics you may not have paid much attention to before. Measuring attention meaningfully goes beyond simple verification metrics—such as valid, safe, and viewable—to more nuanced metrics that can provide deeper and more tailored performance metrics that can set you apart from your competition.
Moving targets: establish dynamic pricing to deal with flux
When the average cost of an ad impression falls precipitously due to high supply and low demand, as they did in early 2020, ad revenues creep lower as well. In January and February of 2020, the price of an impression fell by almost 28% compared to 2019. To cope with these changes, effective publishers employ dynamic pricing methods that incorporate bid analysis.
By leveraging learnings to set minimum pricing rules per device, content category, type of bidding, advertiser, and other parameters, publishers can address growing demand and fierce competition. Even under the most challenging circumstances, ad revenue can rise if publishers continuously analyze the bids they receive for ad space and create opportunities to set minimum prices—between fill-rate and revenue—that reflect customer demand.
New measures of success
As an industry we are increasingly looking toward new measures of success and a commitment to the responsible media strategies that inform them. Human, viewable, and brand-safe data still sets the baseline for core measurement, but true brand effectiveness requires further evolution.