In particular, publishers who receive income from selling media space are constantly striving to develop and find new ways to increase digital advertising revenues. New trends and innovations come and go. Sometimes it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff when thinking about what really is useful, worth testing and putting into practice. Media and websites are different and not all solutions are suitable for everyone, but those who build a framework and operating culture that enables continuous testing and innovation usually achieve the best results in advertising sales.
Relevant Digital is a software and service company that works globally with publishers and various advertising sales organizations. For publishers, we have developed Relevant Yield, which allows publishers to manage and optimize advertising technologies and combine all important sales data in a single user interface to facilitate decision-making.
With the help of Relevant Yield, publishers develop and enhance ad sales processes, increase advertising revenues, and enable cost savings daily, when various maintenance tasks and testing are made easy. Relevant Yield is a neutral technology that does not automatically favor or optimize individual demand sources but instead focuses on achieving the best possible total sales and transparency. Relevant Yield is used by ad ops teams, people responsible for sales and revenue development, management, and, of course, advertising sales teams.
Relevant Digital is an independent company whose mission is to increase revenues of publishers' digital services, and we have been fulfilling this mission for 10 years. Based on what we have learned from the market together with our customers, we would like to share with you some of our experiences and tips regarding the optimization of digital advertising and current trends. Additionally, we will tell you how Relevant Yield helps publishers build an operating culture of continuous growth and learning.
More advertisers by investing in quality
Investing in the viewability of ad placements is always topical. What makes it especially important is that advertising buyers are more aware and demanding than ever. If previously 60% viewability was considered a good level, now the goal should be set closer to 80%.
We have noticed that improving the viewability of ad placements significantly increases the number of advertisers interested in the site and enables a higher achievable cost level (eCPM). A tool like Relevant Yield helps to identify development needs, monitor the development of the viewability, and the effect of quality improvement on the number of buyers, price level, and total sales.
We started working to improve the viewability of one publisher's ad placements February 2022, when the viewability was at 57%. In February, there were 6,480 advertisers on the site. In April, the viewability had risen to 73.7%, and there were 10,203 advertisers on the site.
In the attached graphs you can also see the effect the change had on revenue, eCPM, and RPM.
The results show that the improvement has had a great impact in terms of income. We recommend monitoring the behavior of buyers and testing to find a balance in terms of the quality of the ad inventory. You can read more about improving the viewability here.
Ad-refresh, i.e. updating the ad during a page load
Ad-refresh is especially useful for sites and content where visitors spend more time. These are often news, sports, and video content. Ad-refresh refers to the loading of several advertisements to the ad placement during the same page load. Even if the visitor stays on the same page, several different advertisements are updated in the ad placements of the page. Ad-refresh can be used to increase the ad inventory and thus also affect the income from advertising, as well as the viewability of ads on the site because the ad is only updated if the ad placement is visible.
In terms of sales growth, it is important that the entire auction, covering all vendors from Prebid to Amazon, is allowed to re-bid. In some cases, it makes sense to limit ad-refresh to programmatic campaigns only. Then a tool like Relevant Yield is needed, which can be used to manage e.g. enabling reloading by ad placement, reload interval (time), number of reloads, and the minimum viewability before a new ad is loaded. Read more about ad-refresh here.
The future of advertising targeting
The targeting of advertising and its future has remained a hot topic for a long time, as various parties contemplate what will happen after the removal of third-party cookies. Right now, it seems that targeting in the future will primarily take place using first-party data, shared IDs, and contextualization.
Technically, one of the strongest means will be first-party data. But even the largest publishers will face challenges with having enough data, and smaller ones will likely find it very challenging, perhaps impossible, to achieve the desired scale.
Contextual targeting has recently become fashionable again. The third interesting and growing trend is shared IDs. We don't yet know if browsers will support shared IDs in the future, but it seems that they might add value to the digital advertising ecosystem.
Regarding shared identifiers, we have implemented a large-scale pilot together with publishers, ID5, Piano DMP, and Adform DSP. The results have been positive for both publishers and advertisers. Reachability in Safari and Firefox has improved significantly when, instead of third-party cookies, targeting has been done using ID5 identifiers. A clear (around 10%) growth has also been seen in the revenues. So the publisher should definitely get to know this possibility as well. Using a tool like Relevant Yield, it's easy to implement shared IDs, test them, and measure their functionality. You can find more on the topic here.
Ongoing floor price optimization
Optimizing advertising is a continuous learning process and testing and utilizing new ideas can be very fruitful in terms of revenue.
One useful idea is to optimize floor prices based on audience. Some of our customers optimize prices based on the geographical location of visitors. For example, an audience from the domestic market may be more valuable to a local advertiser than international visitors. The floor prices that vary by region should be tested especially by those publishers who reach a wide audience, for example, around the world. If publishers are able to identify a visitor's geographic location, Relevant Yield offers a solution to set floor prices based on this information. Base pricing based on content categories may also be reasonable, i.e. financial news may be more "valuable" than local news.
Another fascinating aspect is the behavior of different buying platforms (DSP). Their goal is to buy advertising inventory as cheap as possible. As we live in an ecosystem where one DSP's market share is significantly larger than the others’, covering a large number of advertisers, it may be possible that active price optimization can activate the better-paying advertisers of that DSP to become buyers of the site. Searching for optimal price levels is interesting when you use a tool like Relevant Yield, which makes it easy to test floor prices and monitor the effect.
We have noticed that many publishers are struggling with mobile app monetization. Partly this is certainly due to the fact that scalable technologies enabling the commercialization of the application inventory have not been available. But the good news is that things are getting better. We have several customers who use Relevant Yield to prebid in mobile applications and have achieved good results with it.
Using Prebid in applications requires using the Prebid server-side implementation. Relevant Yield also fully supports the Prebid server-side solution, enabling more efficient monetization of applications. If you wish, you can read more about the Prebid server here.
But most importantly...
As stated, trends come and go and only some survive. But how can you build a sustainable and innovative media sales culture that enables continuous growth?
Hardly anyone expects that, but unfortunately, there is no single easy solution to this. Increasing advertising revenues and commercial development of media is continuous hard work, but also fun. We would start by paying attention to at least these things:
- Enable continuous agile testing and optimization
- Free up resources from manual work, e.g. from reporting to commercialization
- Make sure that everyone involved in advertising sales has access to the necessary data, from Ad ops to sales management. For some, it may mean SSP-specific detailed level reporting, while for others it may mean tracking sales per advertiser.
- Make sure that you have motivated and curious employees and that they have the necessary tools to test and exploit new innovations.
These are the themes that we at Relevant Digital work on every day and we support publishers in the development work with the help of Relevant Yield and our own expertise.
Relevant Yield is the market's most comprehensive and effective solution for maximizing advertising revenue. Relevant Yield offers independent Header Bidding management and analytics in one system, as well as reporting covering all sales sources. With the help of Relevant Yield, sales and ad ops teams can improve their processes and at the same time benefit from cost savings and increased advertising revenue.
Read more about Relevant Yield here or order a free consultation here. If the development needs of advertising sales are not current for you right now, you can also subscribe to our newsletter to stay in the loop.