New ad decisioning systems are needed for publishers

Oh, to be a publisher today, afloat upon the Programmatic sea, drifting from one trend to another in search of the ever-elusive increased revenue and margin. In foul conditions or in fair, their goals haven’t changed – Publishers want to build lasting relationships with both advertisers and consumers by delivering value. But for years, the deck has been stacked against Publishers in this endeavor.

Ad servers were built to deliver ads on a set schedule, with no mechanism to deliver relevance to the consumer. Ad networks co-opted publisher data to provide targeting at scale, but continue to fail at passing the value to the Publishers (Note: flat CPMs for years.) SSPs were built to organize the waterfall, but rates didn’t move – the same bidders were just bidding at the same prices. DMPs were built to help publishers organize and monetize their data, but deals were challenging to execute and advertisers cared more about their own cookies anyway.

Simultaneously, the brands and advertisers who relied on these types of technologies to achieve ad performance became disenchanted with the rising costs of media because they never saw any increased ROI, the exact same problem plaguing publishers. To circumvent this, the advertisers championed and built DSP technology to cherry-pick cookies and impressions in an environment where they could control the cost of performance.

Today, advertisers too are afloat upon the Programmatic waves. They’re drifting in two directions – quality and performance – but anchored to their DSP/SSP relationships.

At their core, publishers and advertisers understand the benefits of building lasting, mutually-beneficial relationships. But Publishers are still technologically ill equipped to prove their long-term value, and are reliant on outsourced platforms they don’t control to deliver on advertiser KPIs. So if an advertiser wants to buy programmatically (for efficiency), and a publisher needs to control performance so they can get credit (and data) for delivering that performance, what does a publisher do?

They reframe the programmatic conversation by removing it from ad serving decisions. By treating programmatic as purely a commerce play and not as the performance engine, Publishers can deliver efficiency and performance to their advertisers. By doing this, Publishers dictate their own destiny and THAT is how publishers can deliver performance and grow their business in a programmatic world.

So if Publishers should no longer rely on programmatic for performance-based ad serving decisions, what other options do they have? I’m so glad you asked.

Intent-driven ad decisioning systems, leveraged by brands and advertisers in search of pure performance, should start to be utilized by publishers themselves. The natural progression of this technology is to offer this same technology and performance advantage to Publishers to leverage in their direct relationships with advertisers.

Through direct integration with a Publisher’s ad server, these systems can use page-level data to determine what ad will be most relevant to each consumer. This intent targeting methodology delivers performance, without cookies, across both mobile and desktop inventory. Because each page is different, the data for each page can’t be co-opted. Harnessing this data – this consumer intent – is the key to giving advertisers what they want.

Every advertiser afloat on the programmatic sea is in search of one thing – ROI. By limiting programmatic to the sourcing and execution of campaigns, and using their own first-party data to make serving decisions, publishers can re-connect and extend direct relationships with advertisers without moving outside of the programmatic landscape.