Three Ways Publishers Can Optimize Prebid To Achieve Scale in Premium Marketplaces

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Today’s article is written by Ashley Wheeler, SVP, DV+ Publisher[7] Revenue – Magnite.

As walled gardens like Google continue to grow and reinforce their own closed systems, publishers are presented with a Hobson’s choice: run deals through Google’s AdX (or a closed system equivalent) that prioritizes its own demand or forgo the ability to scale. 

Fortunately, as Prebid.js has gained critical mass, it’s become a hub of open source innovation looking after the needs of independent publishers — including deal structure. 

Using Prebid in tangent with an independent SSP[1] can help publishers retain more control while still optimizing monetization. 

Independent SSPs Give Publishers More Control Over Deal Implementation

Two key benefits of running deals within an independent SSP are transparency[5] and control. 

Conversely, within the walled gardens, prioritization algorithms are opaque and often unfairly advantage the demand of the walled garden[6] itself, sometimes to the detriment of a publisher’s yield[8]. Leveraging an independent SSP through Prebid gives publishers full insight and control into how a PMP[2] deal might compete against Open Auction demand, other Premium Marketplace deals, and a publishers’ own direct-sold deals in the ad server. 

Furthermore, through an independent SSP, publishers are in full control of deal prioritization. This gives them the flexibility to optimize priority in-flight over the course of a campaign[9] in response to yield and revenue. Other benefits often include more favorable rates, better service, and increased diversification of revenue among partners. This all provides a more competitive landscape, provides an opportunity to increase publisher yield, and strengthens the programmatic ecosystem overall.

How Publishers Can Optimize Prebid to Boost Deal Monetization

With the right strategies, independent publishers can scale their campaigns while leveraging more control over their businesses. Here are three key ways publishers can configure Prebid to optimize the opportunity for monetization on their terms. 

1. Leverage Inflated Price Priority Line Items for Deals

Many publishers want to prioritize deals over their open auction demand but have high direct sell-through and want to preserve their direct campaign delivery. Here, inflating the value CPMs on deal-specific price priority line items can give them an advantage in the indirect auction while ensuring that deals still compete with direct campaigns on the optimized CPM[3] (oCPM).

This is a safe way to prioritize Prebid deals but still leaves publishers open to getting trumped by Google Preferred Deals which automatically take priority over price priority line items. 

2. Mirror a First Look Deal

For publishers who want to ensure that their Prebid deals take priority, inputting deal line items at a sponsorship priority will allow them to compete above the indirect auction, Google Preferred Deals, and direct-sold campaigns. For publishers who are wary of indirect deals impacting direct delivery, these sponsorship line items can be throttled to a percent share of voice and run alongside a twin line item[10] at price priority targeted to the same deal key value. 

It’s worth noting that a throttled sponsorship line item for all Prebid demand above a certain floor is also a great way for publishers to mirror Google’s First Look product within Prebid and ensure that all indirect partners are competing on a level playing field.

3. Bypass AdX/GAM[4] Altogether

For publishers specifically looking to circumvent Google’s self-bestowed advantages and diversify revenue away from Google AdX, AdX line items can be anti-targeted to Prebid deal key values ensuring that Google is not eligible to compete on requests where a Prebid deal is present. 

For publishers who want to be even more aggressive in their Prebid deal prioritization, Prebid can be configured to render a deal bid directly on the page, bypassing a call to GAM altogether. 

While this method requires a holistic reporting suite to ensure that revenue served outside of GAM is still accounted for, it has the added benefit of significantly speeding up page loads as the call to the ad server is historically one of the heaviest actions on the page. 

Standardization Is Still Necessary

The above methodologies each have nuances that may make them better or worse for publishers depending on their direct sell-through, development resources, and general indirect revenue mix. The common denominator is that they give the publisher transparency and control over how their deals are being prioritized within their ad stack. 

While these configurations can help publishers optimize outcomes in Prebid, there is still work to be done around standardization. Having a cohesive prioritization story across all demand sources would allow publishers and buyers to have a common benchmark for how that prioritization should impact delivery and scale. 

In the grand scheme, technological advancements and shifting industry needs are opening the door to diversifying premium marketplace demand away from the walled gardens and into a more transparent and independent ecosystem.

By working with Prebid through an independent SSP, publishers can maximize control over their deals and maximize their opportunity to win better campaign outcomes.

1. Supply-Side Platform [SSP] ( SSP ) A technology platform that provides outsourced media selling and ad network management services for publishers. The business model resembles that of an ad network in that it aggregates ad inventory, however they serve publishers exclusively and do not provide services for advertisers (e.g., FreeWheel, SpotX).
2. Private Marketplace [PMP] ( PMP ) Private Marketplace deals or PMP is a direct deal made between a publisher and buyer for programmatic ad inventory. A PMP can also be called Preferred Deals. This practice contains much more human interaction unlike the alternative of selling ad inventory through an ad exchange. Often higher rates for ad inventory can be negotiated through this method.
3. Cost Per Mille/Thousand [CPM] ( CPM ) Cost per mille, or thousand (mille = thousand in Latin). A pricing model in which advertisers pay for every 1000 impressions of their advertisement served. This is the standard basic pricing model for online advertising. See also CPC and CPA.
4. Google Ad Manager ( GAM ) Google Ad Manager is a combination of both Google Ad Exchange and DoubleClick For Publishers as a unified platform that provides publishers with ad serving services.
5. transparency. To be considered transparent, a solution provider must fully disclose all components of the buy including pricing, any related mark ups, delivery, placement level media location, inventory type, inventory mix, and how advanced audience data is being applied and reported. Arbitrage and black box inventory solutions are not transparent.

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