Leading Operations Online

Better Ads Standards are an initiative for promoting “acceptable” ad experiences for users, while discouraging disruptive ads. The overall goal, as stated, has been to keep the spread of ad blocking tools at bay, by assuring the ads in the ecosystem are not so annoying they drive users to start using ad blockers.

Does the question of a threshold for what kind of ads are acceptable or unacceptable sound wildly subjective? Sure thing, by pretty much any stretch, and as such the Coalition for Better Ads has pointed out their methodology, which involved presenting over 25,000 users in North America and Europe with 55 different desktop and 49 mobile ad experiences.

The name “Coalition for Better Ads” might sound a little shadowy, but its list of members checks out. In it, we have major publishers, advertisers, agencies, tech vendors, and advisory groups from both the buy and sell side. Big names include Facebook,...

I came here to post photos from last week's Ops, but before that, I wanted to add one takeaway from the conference and all the conversations that led up to it. This year's Ops really hammered home something Gavin, Rob and I have been writing and talking about considerably over the last year or so: Ad ops professionals are in the user experience business. They have to be. They're the last line of defense against whatever is coming through the programmatic pipes, and they're defending the user's choice to visit that publisher's site as well as defending the publisher's own brand.

The thing is, and plenty of people on the publisher side of the media industry will say this as well: There aren't a ton of people who actively like advertising. That even counts people who work creating and distributing ads. Advertising dollars support the media business, and as such the whole process of taking care of ad content, putting it in relevant and aesthetically pleasing environments, and helping to convey its messaging to users is a crucial part of the job. Users...

Exchange Bidding in Dynamic Allocation is, in a nutshell, Google’s answer to header bidding. It’s a server-side solution where exchanges and SSPs can bid on publisher inventory along with Google’s AdX in a unified auction. Now, to understand why that matters, we’re going to have to walk back a few steps.

Dynamic Allocation is a function within DoubleClick for Publishers that basically allows AdX to compete with publishers’ direct sales teams—if AdX can fetch a higher bid than whatever your direct channels is getting, that’ll determine which ad gets served. That wasn’t terribly helpful to other exchanges and SSPs, who had to wait until direct deals were sold, too.

That’s where header bidding came in. You have Google operating an extremely broadly utilized ad exchange (AdX) and an extremely broadly utilized ad server (DoubleClick for Publishers, or DFP). That arrangement puts Google at an obvious advantage. Plenty of people have called it...

There are few topics getting digital publishers chattering right now quite like header bidding. In a marketplace where many publishers long perceived buyers as having the upper hand, header bidding pits demand sources against each other, giving publishers a clearer idea of the true value of their inventory and how to quickly optimize. The practice is changing the programmatic landscape—publishers are seeing increases in CPMs, advertisers are getting closer to the inventory they value the most, and vendors in between are being challenged to re-think the ways they integrate and operate.

However, few would call existing header bidding solutions easy or straightforward. Integrations can be arduous. Implementation can cause technical issues, like page latency. And there’s a sense among many entities that current header bidding solutions are something of a temporary fix on the road toward...

If you bother Gavin, Brian and I while we’re in the throes of preparing for the day-and-a-half military precision exercise that is Ops, we’re going to complain about the number of speakers to wrangle and calls to make. I mean with 40+ sessions and the 70+ speakers, it’s a bit much.  

But the truth of the matter is that we enjoy this part of the job in part because we get to talk to all these amazing people who so generously offer up their time and expertise, and because we get to connect the dots between the sessions we work on and see the underlying currents that drive our industry.

Yet for all the calls I was on and all the people I spoke with, I wouldn’t have expected a bunch of ad tech experts to so often use the word “story.” 

I’m not referring to someone telling how something had come to pass, like how Jeremy Steinberg told the story of how IBM...

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