Progress Amidst the Pandemic – Automatad, Inc. (Product & Growth Roundup 2020)

“To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.”

– Thomas Watson, Sr., former CEO, IBM

2020, with its unique challenges and a year-long pandemic, propelled several industries to innovate at a faster pace than ever before. While we agree that the year has been tough, we all had to move forward and find a way to help ourselves and others. 

Frontline health workers and hundreds of thousands of doctors and practitioners in the medical industry have been doing their best for all of us. Other Public service sectors are trying to keep the world running amid all the chaos and uncertainties. 

The media industry is also facing the impact of the crisis directly. Ad spending went down (for the most part of the year) before it got back up during the last few months and several newsrooms had to lay off employees to cut the cost and optimize for long-term goals. 

We are existing to help digital publishers and independent media companies strive and increase their ad revenues and unsurprisingly, this year brought us a new set of challenges.

But we did our best to release new products, rolled out several features, and supported the publishers with commendable services. On top of that, we invested a lot in educating the publishing community to help them understand the basics and gear up to face the monetization problems.

Let me give you a glimpse of what we’ve been up to in 2020. 

Product

AMP: 

Last year, we rolled out a header bidding solution for the AMP framework and became an official RTC partner. This year, we took on the huge challenge of building the robust and scalable server-side infrastructure to ensure our publishers aren’t facing any issues — in terms of ad load rate and page load speed. 

And, it was a win. Our publishers have seen substantial growth in AMP ad revenue and now ads tend to load as fast as the content on the AMP pages. 

Bidder Adapter:

We successfully rolled out Automatad’s bidder adapter for Prebid js. This, in turn, enabled us to participate in header bidding auctions. Thanks to our strong partnership on the demand-side, our bid rate, and win rate are high. 

Note that the bidder product isn’t launched publicly to everyone and we work with publishers based on several criteria. 

Brand Safety and Compliance:

2020 led both publishers and advertisers to actively pull brand safety levers in their respective dashboards. Media buyers have been trying to exclude COVID-19/BLM related keywords and categories from their campaigns. On the other hand, publishers are working to ensure the users aren’t seeing scam ads and malware.

We have shipped a few features that save time and money for publishers including the ability to:

– Block advertisers or advertisers from specific IAB categories from running ads on the site.

– Leverage specialized vendors to help our publishers detect and block IVT/malware ads before it hits their sites. 

– Enable a firewall to prevent IVT hits from jeopardizing demand partnerships.

– Have ad-free pages.

Read the update in detail here

Ads.txt:

To make it easier, we offer the latest ads.txt file via the dashboard where a publisher can review and use the same to keep its file updated (single click to copy the file and paste it on your ads.txt). 

Multisize AXT: 

AXT or Active Exposure Time is an intelligent ad refresh product that works exceptionally well for publishers with engaged audiences. To put it simply, AXT can recreate highly viewable ad impressions to maximize revenue per session. With the latest improvement, AXT can now call and render only standard ad sizes, rather than random sizes passed down by the advertiser.  

Customer & Partnerships

In 2020, our customer base doubled as opposed to last year and we have attracted publishers from all over the globe. 

Additionally, we integrated 10+ SSPs & exchanges to our header bidding wrapper, thereby giving publishers increased access to demand partners and intensifying the competition in the header auctions. 

During this year, we serviced 500+ digital publishers from 50+ countries across the globe — to maximize their ad revenues. Some were kind enough to talk to us about their experiences and the impact of Automatad’s products on their bottom lines. 

Partnerships

Company Growth

To keep up with the growth and expectations of our customers, we scaled our teams across all the departments including operations, account management, engineering, and sales & marketing. We went from 26 to 38 people this year, a 46% growth! 

As we have improved our product, established new partnerships, and expanded our customer base, we are now sending more than 5 bn requests per month via our system and that’s a 66% growth from the previous year. Some of our top publishers are sending more than 500 Mn requests per month. 

Ad Request per monthMarketing & Events

We had a lot of plans for this year and the pandemic forced us to go completely remote. Even then, we managed to double the size of the marketing team and invest a lot of time and energy into creating successful campaigns and educational assets that help the publishers. 

And, hundreds of publishers requested to read our case studies to understand how our products work. 

Traffic:

Automatad – We increased both the users and sessions by more than 130% and pageviews shot up by 80%.

Headerbidding.co – Headerbidding.co became one of the top blogs in the ad tech industry last year and we increased the traffic by ~180% this year alone!

AdTech Insider – For a new blog launched at the beginning of 2020, we were able to help tens of thousands of publishers and published several in-depth articles and studies. 

Overall, we published more than ~250 pieces of content on our group of sites! 

What’s Ahead?

We have a lot of upcoming product releases and other initiatives lined-up for 2021. As we all learned to work remotely, communicate effectively, and support our publishers — next year will be about doubling down on what worked well and applying the learned lessons to avoid any mistakes. 

Thank you for supporting our work and we wish you a happy and joyous 2021!

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