(This is Chapter 4 of the Adomik Programmatic Yield Management Handbook)

Programmatic selling technology has become increasingly complicated, but how you implement and manage these tools will dramatically influence your yield

In the first three chapters of this Handbook, we introduced evolving actors in a changing environment, multiple demand partners and sources, varied ad products/channels with their own unique flavor…among other things. While possibilities may not be endless, they’re numerous enough to raise some structural (philosophical?) questions about the programmatic ecosystem. Such concerns need to be mitigated to survive and thrive in this new era of digital media. Here are considerations to deeply ponder as you get deeper into the Adomik Programmatic Yield Manager’s Handbook (PYMH).

You need to choose the right technology partners and set up: As we mentioned earlier, the transaction chart in Chapter 2 was intentionally simplified, and does not reflect one of the dilemmas facing media sellers. All exchanges/SSPs are not equal in their offering – programmatic channels, level of customization, control, and connected demand. In some cases, it might even make sense to use several SSPs at the same time. But how? Simultaneously? With different priority levels? How will we handle passbacks, waterfall, daisy-chain, multi-SSP allocation, header-bidding? Such are the conversations that occupy the day of today’s programmatic yield managers and drive him or her to choose different vendors. It is critical here to remember to keep your options open and don’t get locked into only one “stack” or vendor. Being agile and having the flexibility and the data to consider and manage your entire yield against the multitude of distribution channels gives you more options.

Transparency – both at the inventory level and the industry level: As setups and decisions are getting more granular, complex, and automated, there’s a real risk of creating black boxes at all stages of the transaction which create distrust and waste. As sellers, you need 100% transparency on your seller trading data to know what’s going on in your inventory so you can make the decisions to drive your business. Make sure you get this data from your exchange and leverage it to make better strategic and yield management decisions–this is the lifeblood of any programmatic business. Further, you need to be transparent with your buying partners to build long-term trusting relationships with them. Ironically, now more than ever – media buyers and sellers need to meet, discuss, share their goals and strategies based on a common language (metrics, KPIs) in order to create trusted long-term business relationships and weed out the wasteful margin-eroding ad tech taxes from unnecessary vendors.

Adapt your organization to get the right people on board: While we will drill into this with more detail later in the Handbook it’s important to reiterate at this point that the game has dramatically changed. Publishers need data driven and technical people on staff to analyze and interpret data and to be sure that “the stack” is operational and issues can be troubleshot quickly. While outsourcing is an option in the short-term, we feel that in-house ad opps expertise is a requirement to move beyond “keeping up”.

Understand and analyze to make informed and optimal decisions: once you have command of your seller trading data and at least a few technology decisions under your belt — and you are up and running with a programmatic channel or two, you now get to focus on the fun stuff. As you look at your data, ask these questions, among others:

  • How do I efficiently manage your programmatic sales across one or several SSPs?

  • Maximize the capacities of each programmatic channel?

  • Leverage your first-party data and ensuring your internal business constraints (monetization and/or brand safety) – are respected?

Answers to these questions (and many other like them) are the new practice of  Programmatic Yield Management. Yep, it’s the whole point of this series and we finally get to dig in and intensively cover this topic now that we have the basics under our belts.

As you do deep log level analysis of your seller trading data, you will begin to answer all of these questions and have the ability to drive new business rules that result in higher revenue (much more on this later!) Moving forward in the Handbook, you’ll see actual business cases that will help you conceptualize these concepts and answer these key questions.
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