Holistic Ad Serving is the natural evolution of digital advertising. The industry itself emerged in tangible form in 1994 with Yahoo and ESPN. Since 1994, the industry has been on the move and it has produced many forms and methods of advertising. Today, digital advertising has produced 5 main methodologies under the concept of programmatic trading. In this article, we will be focusing on the 5 programmatic methods while discussing the pros and cons of each method.
Method1: The aged waterfall
The approach of serving ads with a waterfall depends on prioritizing campaigns. Companies such as ad networks and re-targeters that use the waterfall, ranking the campaigns directly on the ad server with a certain priority. Ad campaigns in the waterfall will be served following the order of priority until there are no campaigns left to be served.
Now, we can say that the waterfall does not actually benefit publishers at all. The reason why it does not benefit publishers lies in the fact that waterfalls actually ceases publisher revenues from increasing. In other words, it causes the prices to decline because the waterfall actually eliminates the competitive edge between advertisers. Accordingly, advertisers do not have a motive to pay more. However, if we are to list one con to the waterfall, we would say that it significantly increases latency.
Looking at this from a business perspective, a pre-set price actually eliminates the opportunity to really know what the inventory is actually worth.
The aged waterfall is not at all beneficial to publishers as it eliminates all competition between advertisers for ad spaces. Moreover, waterfalls cost publishers a lot from a business and economic perspective.
Method 2: SSP standard Set-up
Programmatic trading under this method sells campaigns directly while ranking them under a certain priority. This method excludes trading in private market places. In this case, the auction is set on the second highest bid within an SSP, as networks and re-targeters and companies of the type are connected on as a campaign to compete for the ad space.
On the contrary of waterfalls, the SSP standard set-up offers some level of yield growth to publishers. However, impression trading is conditional on being connected to an SSP which provides transparency and focused partnerships with publishers. On the other hand, the potential for revenue incline is missed because usually, bids on ad impression in programmatic are higher than the directly sold impressions. However, in this case, the auction is ranked second below the direct media deals.
The method of trading ad impressions under the SSP standard set-up is more efficient as it provides more control, competition, some transparency, and long term revenue increase.
method 3: header bidding
Any evolution in the programmatic advertising world is dedicated to better serve ads. Hence, yield growth for all parties. Header Bidding is a script that is usually placed in the header of a webpage that allows programmatic buyers “bidders” to view and bid on the impression before the ad server. Next, the highest bid in the header goes to the ad server with a given priority depending mainly on the bid price given by the buyer. The ad server then adds this bid as a campaign to the other campaigns in the ad server and it is ranked according to the priority classification that it got. Header bidding is conditional to run through a transparent SSP that is publisher focused.
For the first time reader, it does not sound more than adding an extra spot for a new campaign in the ad server. However, if we look closely, we realize that header bidding actually offers a boost in the short-term return. To explain how this happens, we need to understand that header bidding in programmatic grants access for a first look at remnant inventory which was inaccessible before the development of header bidding.
On the other hand, as amazing as it actually is, but there are some cons to header bidding as well. Because of the script placed in the header of the page, a common issue with header bidding is the delay in load-time of webpages. Accordingly, in order for it to succeed, it needs a higher level of attention and maintenance by ad ops to avoid any problems. Moreover, reporting and analysis on data collected are more demanding as it requires stitching from different systems. The main downside of header bidding is that publishers always suffer from the cost of opportunity lost due to two main reasons. The bidding processes do not occur simultaneously while being integrated together, which means that the bidding process can happen over multiple systems separately. The second reason occurs when there is an abundance in impressions available for sale, which will drive buyers to lower their bids.
The bottom line is header bidding offers more control and brings more competitors to the table which will increase the returns on the short term. However, it still can be costly to maintain and an abundance of impressions can turn the tables and give the edge to advertisers costing publishers loss of returns.
Method 4: Holistic Ad Serving
We represent An SSP that follows the complete holistic ad serving is an SSP that provides a holistic eco system. In this holistic eco system, the ad server can be replaced entirely. This method can also integrate the ad server to the SSP while keeping their rank after being moved into the holistic platform for a comprehensive auctioning. The main differentiator of this eco system is that it allows programmatic and direct sales (campaigns) to compete in the holistic auction.
Holistic ad serving or holistic yield management or even holistic eco system guarantees the highest return on filled impressions. All buyers, whether direct or programmatic, will compete to bid for impressions in one holistic eco system. This will evidently drive prices to incline while providing publishers with transparency that they need to analyze and action taking.
To better understand holistic ad serving and its relevance to video advertising industry we suggest that you read our article “Video Advertising & Holistic Ad Serving” where we spot the light on holistic ad serving and the challenges related to it and some recommendations relevant to holistic ad serving.
There is nothing more perfect than a complete holistic ad serving SSP.