Leading Operations Online

Yield management is a slippery topic to explain, and even more complicated in practice. Rather than explain how it works, it’s probably more helpful to explain what it does. Well… what it’s supposed to do, in theory.

First, the problem that yield management aims to solve for publishers: The total amount of inventory on a site is more or less consistent over time, but the demand for it fluctuates. Your goal is to sell out all your inventory all the time, at the highest prices possible. Yield management strategists have to figure out which buyers will have access to how much inventory, at which time, through which buying channels, at which CPMs.

Basically, in order to keep both fill rates and CPMs as high as possible, the same inventory is sold to different buyers at different prices.

Yield management is not even remotely confined to digital media.You come across examples of it as an everyday consumer without thinking twice about it. The “analog world”...

Late last year, tales of Methbot illegitimately gobbling up $3 million to $5 million in ad spend daily horrified the industry. While advertisers are the obvious victims of fraud based on bot traffic, the spectre still haunts premium publishers—not only is that spend that should have been relegated to their inventory, scams like Methbot increase advertiser pressure on legitimate sites.

The bot menace has caused particular pains in the programmatic video space, arguably halting the growth of what could be a lucrative channel for honest video content providers. In this interview, VertaMedia CEO Alex Bornyakov talks candidly about invalid traffic and fraud in both desktop and mobile video advertising, service providers’ responsibility in this space, and how publishers can push back against the bots. 

GAVIN DUNAWAY: Why is fraud so...

Publishers that deal with a lot of video content will likely be able to tell you a little about the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA). Particularly, they’ll be able to tell you about the numerous hoops it causes video-heavy ops teams to jump through. VPPA holds that a user’s viewing history is private, and that video providers are not to disclose it without the user’s consent. As such, digital video providers must take caution to separate a user’s viewing history from anything that can be traced back to an individual, identifiable person.

And what do you know? Those legal requirements exist now because someone wanted to know what a Supreme Court nominee rented from Blockbuster in 1987.

During the hearings for Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, a journalist wanted to see if Bork had rented any questionable titles from his local video store and asked Blockbuster for Bork’s rental history. Nothing weird showed up in the list, but when...

Regulation--it’s the bane of ops’ existence. Keeping abreast of various regulations impacting the digital advertising environment is not easy: COPPA, HIPPA, VPPA, cookie laws, and so on. Do you even know what those letters represent let alone mean?

Maybe the bigger question is: Where does regulation come from, and how does it affect the day-to-day role of ops?

Ops teams are in a unique position, as their day-to-day tasks provide a birds-eve view of what’s really happening on a publisher's website. And this knowledge, when shared, can be powerful and have a tangible impact on the broader business.

There are plenty of laws and regulations that can cause roadblocks for digital publishers. It’s not ops’ job to know the intricacies of the law--that’s for the legal team. However, ops professionals need to have a good sense of when to flag and escalate potential legal issues.

Specialist Required? Know How to Choose a Legal Liaison

Someone needs to represent ops at the executive level. The...

There’s a report from DCN (Digital Content Next) that’s been making the rounds in recent weeks, breaking down what the whole process of moving content into distribution platforms has meant for publisher revenue so far. Pulling data and commentary from 17 of DCN’s publisher members during the first half of 2016, it paints at best an ambivalent picture. Publishers are monetizing distributed content, for sure, but not as much as they’d hoped, and there are a lot of downsides to reckon with.

If you haven’t seen that report yet, it’s worth checking out. It goes into some depth discussing the benefits and detriments publishers are seeing with various platforms (Facebook Instant Articles, Facebook Live, Twitter Amplify, Google AMP, Snapchat, YouTube and so on). It also explains how results vary for publishers that have a more traditional text/image offering, and publishers that have a lot of video content. There’s much more to the...

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