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Tags: Programmatic, Publisher, Ad Serving

Typically, programmatic sales means selling and buying online advertising, often using fully automated systems, thereby deviating from traditional sales processes that involve negotiating between people and handling orders. Programming advertising has been quickly adopted in different markets, making it easier, faster and more flexible to buy media inventory. In 2018, the share of programatically purchased advertising in the Nordic countries is estimated to be 57% in Finland, 77% in Norway, 67% in Sweden and 53% in Denmark.

In order to run a successful ad sales programmatically, pay attention to at least these things:

Ad formats - The advertising formats that are selected for programmatic selling create a framework for what kind of demand the media is directed to. Do you decide to sell programmatically only basic formats or, for example, parade and rich media solutions? Demand for video and mobile inventory is on the rise. It is worth paying attention to those ad formats that are in demand or are standardised. Depending on the demand sources used, it is also worth considering internationally used ad formats in addition to domestic sizes.

Ad placements, loading, and in-screen -  What kind of ad placements do you have on site? Is it possible for visitors to see ads on the site? Visibility, or viewability, is measured by in-screen values, which usually means the proportion of displays that have been displayed on the screen by at least 50% for the visitor. If the in-screen values are low, advertisers may not be so interested in buying inventory. Follow the in-screen values of your placements and try to take action to improve them.

Floor price - In pricing, the challenge for the media is, in particular, defining the floor price. Through the sales system, Media receives information on buyer quotes. This information can be utilised in determining the floor price. You should follow up and do optimisation often enough to get the best results. It is also good to take into account seasonal exceptions for prices and demand when evaluating and comparing results.

Visitors and target groups - Instead of ad inventory only, advertisers are increasingly interested in targeting advertising and utilising data. What kind of visitors does your site have and what is the value of your visitors? What kind of target groups can you build and reach through your media?

Data sales - It is possible to commercialise profile data related to media visitors. If you want to sell the data, is it sold as such or is it possible to buy it only with the campaign? What is the value of the data and how it will be sold? What are the terms of sale and what should the buyer commit to? How can data create new business for you?

Optimisation of revenue through technology -  Various techniques can affect the revenue you get from your inventory. Traditionally, publishers have managed their ad prioritisation via their ad server. Already an outdated method in which programmatically sold ad is called consecutively from the servers of different advertising partners is called the Waterfall model. Header bidding is a technique where the publisher adds a code snippet to the site that allows the publisher to simultaneously display the ad screen to multiple parties before the ad call is sent to the publisher's server.

Prebid.js is a free open source library and community that helps publishers implement Header Bidding on their websites & apps. In post-bid, the competition among your mediated demand sources compete after your ad server has first offer call for direct campaign and possibly media’s own source of programmatic demand. Server-side header-bidding is also discussed in the industry, which means that the technical implementation works on the servers of the providers of advertising technologies instead of the site. However, this implementation does not yet generate revenue as well as the site-based prebid.

ADS.txt - The mission of the ads.txt project is simple: Increase transparency in the programmatic advertising ecosystem. ads.txt stands for Authorized Digital Sellers and is a simple, flexible and secure method that publishers and distributors can use to publicly declare the companies they authorize to sell their digital inventory. By creating a public record of Authorized Digital Sellers, ads.txt will create greater transparency in the inventory supply chain, and give publishers control over their inventory in the market, making it harder for bad actors to profit from selling counterfeit inventory across the ecosystem. As publishers adopt ads.txt, buyers will be able to more easily identify the Authorized Digital Sellers for a participating publisher, allowing brands to have confidence they are buying authentic publisher inventory.

Consent - Under the EU General Data Protection Regulation, operators collecting personal data are, in principle, obliged to request the user's consent to the use of cookies and provide the user with information on the use of cookies. In practice, this means that if your site shows advertising that is targeted on a cookie basis, the page visitors should be asked for their permission and offered the option of not using cookies.

It also matters how the permission is asked. In the near future, all media, as well as technology providers, will have to switch to the industry's common way of asking consent and communicating. For more information on the Transparency and Consent Framework developed by IAB together with technology providers, ( Make sure that the site complies with applicable laws and regulations in order to prevent any negligence from affecting the programmatic sale of advertising.

If you’re planning to sell your site’s advertising inventory programmatically, increase your programmatic revenue or modernize your operating models (for example Headerbidding or Prebid.js)  – Relevant is the right partner for your needs. For example, we have a lot of positive commercial experiences of using Header Bidding. In addition to programmatic development, we are also happy to help you with ads.txt and consent. Consulting and services are always produced on an individual basis, so we can tailor your solution to get you the best and most efficient results.

Suvi Leino
By: Suvi Leino

Responsible for marketing and communications at Relevant Digital.


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