Leading Operations Online

There are a couple new players in town, quietly but dramatically changing the way the marketing/advertising ecosystem uses big data. Marketing technology and system integrators have been rapidly expanding first-party offline data sets, based on the business intelligence data sets that have powered brands for years.

These massive data pools are now being used to power digital ads and all other cross-channel marketing tactics, TV included. Likewise, these same data pools are now fueling MarTech dashboards, evaluating inter-campaign marketing and media mix model effectiveness, tying back to offline sales. Yes, my friends—the train has left the last-click station.

The Perfect Data Storm

The pools of first-party data for both targeting and measurement are expanding as CRM and ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems are on-boarded, along...

If you’re a marketer looking to send the right ad to the right person in the right place, programmatically buying online video ads on the open exchange is a monumentally stupid move. If you’re a brand trying to advertise that way, you’re wasting much, if not most, of your ad budget. If you’re an agency doing this, you’re doing things the easy way rather than the right way. You’re wasting your clients’ money, and it will lead to your eventual termination.

It’s been common knowledge in the less-traveled sectors of the digital advertising world that open exchange video inventory has a huge percentage of crap in it. Yet media buyers and traders transact on it anyway, either due to laziness, ignorance, or both.

I am here today to relieve you of your ignorance. Buying online video ads on the open exchanges is a bad idea for three reasons:

  • Most of the video inventory available, in my experience, is re-purposed 300x250 display banners set up to run video ads--also known as “in-banner video” (or IBV).
  • What’s not in-banner...

Before we talk about server-to-server (or S2S, or server-side bidding, or whatever you want to call it), we have to talk about header bidding. Header bidding allows publishers to solicit bids on all their inventory from a select group of demand partners in a unified auction, just by putting the partner’s code in the pub’s page. It’s a way to circumvent the programmatic waterfall, and it’s led to overall higher CPMs for many publishers. But, at the same time, header bidding calls for a certain amount of development work, and it’s been blamed for adding latency to page load.

One common refrain (although always up for debate) is that header bidding is a hack, and that there ought to be some kind of “next step” that doesn’t require so much work and open the door to so many user experience problems. So certain players in the industry started asking, “Why do we have to use the page header? These server-to-server connections already exist—connections like...

There’s a new report out from FreeWheel called "Advancing the Ad Experience," where the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video and study partner Advertiser Perceptions surveyed brand and agency execs about the ad experience in digital video, and the challenges to it. The report concluded—surprise!—that “the process and responsibility starts with the brand advertiser themselves.” That’s the kind of news publishers like to hear, right?

All right, so I oversimplified the report’s takeaways for the sake of a catchier lede. The full sentence I quoted goes, “The process and responsibility starts with the brand advertiser themselves, their agency teams, technology partners and the publisher.” So, in other words, ad experience starts with the entire ad supply chain. But brands and agencies are still first and second in that list.

Publishers catch a lot of heat for ad experience problems, and much of it comes from users...

In an end-of-week post, AdExchanger reported this afternoon that Google had abandoned its “last-look” practice in exchange bidding. The old Google last-look advantage allows AdX the chance to outbid whichever demand source would have otherwise won in a programmatic auction, prior to sending a request to Google’s ad server. Famously, publishers’ desire to circumvent that practice gave rise to header bidding.

But now Google says it’ll be putting AdX bids into a unified auction with everyone else’s. Updated support documentation for its exchange bidding product reflects that change.

This might sound surprising to some. Yes, header bidding has been probably the hottest topic in ad tech over the past couple years—and rather than just being discussion point, it’s had substantial effects on publishers’ ability to earn revenue in programmatic. But...

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