The key questions publishers should be asking their SSPs

From incremental revenue measurement to unique advertiser demand, publishers can optimise their monetisation stacks by asking more of their automated ad selling partners.

Umar Nadat, UK Sales Director, Supply at Onetag, looks at the key questions publishers should be asking of their Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) to ensure they are maximising revenue streams and performing at peak optimisation. 

The relationship between publishers and their SSP partners has come a long way since the adoption of programmatic advertising nearly a decade ago. As publishers have become savvier and more data-driven, gone are the days of piling on SSPs in the name of hunting down revenue.  

Whilst some publishers continue to chase revenue like Swifties chasing Taylor Swift concert tickets, adding as many SSPs as possible and not paying much attention to platform effectiveness; others have become a lot savvier and have put teams in place to assess and improve performance. Some have gone even further by controlling which DSPs can buy their inventory through specific SSPs. As a result, SSPs finally have to prove their worth to publishers, rather than just riding the wave of the initial business win.

But let’s be honest; it has been a rough few months for SSPs - the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank caused a ripple in the industry, as well as the closure of businesses such as EMX, Yahoo’s SSP, and most recently MediaMath. However, in the face of these changes, SSPs have an opportunity to collaborate with their partners to forge a more efficient supply chain.

Seeking out the answers

Times used to be so much simpler for publishers when revenue was the main goal. But as the industry has developed and the programmatic ecosystem has become more and more complex, the magic solution to being successful no longer exists. Publishers now have to consider if their partners are delivering truly incremental demand and really helping them to grow their revenue.

Publishers need to ensure that their partners have a unique selling point (USP), driving unique incremental revenue and offering real value, rather than just being another SSP reseller.

“Why are you different from your competition? What’s unique about your proposition? How are you going to help us beyond just providing advertising revenue? What CPMs can you offer? Can you prove that your platform is really going to increase revenue? What data do you have available and how can we use that? What happens if one of your DSP partners goes bust? Do you have insurance in place to cover any liabilities?” – these are some of the questions that they should be asking their partners. 

SSPs that offer something unique and genuinely valuable – whether that is high quality, unique demand, unique measurement capabilities, or unique data, will have the upper hand. In the case of the latter, SSPs have a lot of data that could be very beneficial to publishers.

Therefore, publishers should be pushing their SSPs to share some of this data, and prove just how valuable they can be as partners. For example, data around performance metrics by geo, site or even as granular as ad units, could be shared to help publishers optimise their sites for more advertising revenue, provide transparency and help them make the most of their inventory.

Further, the reality is, between cookieless browsers and people refusing third-party cookies, 50% of global traffic is already unaddressable with traditional identifiers, so there’s also the opportunity for SSPs to help monetise publishers’ cookieless audiences. This could then be supplemented with first party data to further enhance audience targeting. 

Meeting the demands of a partnership

A good SSP should be proactive in their approach, preemptively providing information and guidance on how they can partner together to achieve the best results. 

Publisher inventory is a commodity, and should be handled as such. With every SSP clawing to get a hold of that inventory, publishers have the power to demand more, and the first move to being smarter is asking the right questions of partners.

The programmatic landscape is already difficult enough to navigate so publishers need to be seeking out partners that offer something different from their competitors, deliver true incrementality, and back it all up with the best possible data and measurement capabilities. It’s time for publishers to take their savviness to the next level and demand more from their partners.

By Umar Nadat

Sales Director – Supply