5 Challenges Enterprise Publishers Face With a Programmatic Monetization Partner

The rapid growth in the online consumption of content presents a favorable environment for enterprise publishers to monetize their websites. Publishers can implement many in-house and third-party programmatic monetization strategies to achieve profitable yields from their websites. 

Enterprise publishers often run programmatic advertising operations with in-house resources. However, the scarcity of time and resources and the technical complexity of the programmatic ecosystem hinder maximizing revenue. This is where third-party monetization partners come in. The right monetization partner can bring exponential growth in revenue through the smart use of data, technologies, and expertise.

However, enterprise publishers often collaborate with multiple monetization partners to gain adequate demand and monetize their ad inventories across all their websites. Such partnerships often bring challenges, including a lack of transparency, theft of first-party data, intrusive ad experiences, and restrictive contracts. 

Here are the most common challenges enterprise publishers face with their programmatic monetization partner(s).  

1. The Need for Transparency in Ad Operations

Transparency has been a hotly debated topic in ad ops. Here’s why:

Cost Management

Intermediaries such as SSPs, ad exchanges, DMPs, DSPs, and advertisers increase as the volume of ad inventories increases. These intermediaries raise the need for transparency in costs associated with media and data, the quality of ads served, and the quality of demand sources used to obtain these ads. Visibility of such information becomes more challenging when it comes to programmatic partnerships.

Advertisers, for example, usually pay higher fees to DSPs to access inventories. However, the intermediaries take a significant share before it reaches the publishers.

Choosing a monetization partner with a transparent revenue stream can reduce revenue loss considerably. 

Reporting

Transparency is necessary in reporting. Despite promising innovative technologies with high returns, many monetization partners fail to provide detailed reports. These reports are essential as they are based on specific metrics like the win rates and bid rates of demand partners, etc., broken up by the different web properties an enterprise publisher monetizes. Partners can also sometimes neglect to offer benchmark reports like a comparative study of ad performance with peers.

These reports are crucial for a comparative study and devising profitable strategies based on industry trends. Transparency in reporting becomes essential, especially when multiple privacy and regulatory changes are happening in adtech. As publishers test which strategies work best in an ever-changing landscape, such detailed benchmark reports enable them to understand the probability of success.

Demand Sources

The quality of demand sources plays a critical role in revenue generation. Apart from providing publishers with efficient ad ops solutions, a monetization partner must also help reduce the possibility of acquiring demand from poor sources. Transparency helps the publishers identify the SSPs and the quality of demand sources and hence bids associated with their monetization partner. 

Low-quality demand sources can lead to intrusive and poor-quality ads. This can hamper the user experience and cause a revenue drop. Poor ad quality will further hamper the website’s SEO.

It is also challenging to find a monetization partner who can offer multiple ad formats such as out-stream, in-stream, native, and sticky ads while helping improve publishers’ revenue streams, CTRs and reduce ad clutter. 

2. Protecting First-party Data to Prevent Data Leakage

In an age when privacy is the buzzword, and third-party cookies are on their way out, first-party data has become a vital asset to manage. Enterprise publishers have a large audience pool contributing to an important first-party database. Advertisers use this data to analyze the audience pool and bid higher for the publisher’s inventories if the collection coincides with their target buyers. 

While sharing first-party data is vital to help the buyers understand the actual value of the inventories, sometimes the monetization partners might sell this data to third parties for profit without informing the publishers or obtaining their consent. A simple code on the publisher’s website, a cookie ID, or a tracking pixel is enough to extract such details from a backdoor. 

Unauthorized data leakage by monetization partners could potentially lead to valuable first-party data being revealed to unscrupulous players in the ecosystem. They could, in turn, use this information to target the website’s visitors elsewhere, where inventory costs might be lower. Thus, choosing an unreliable and unethical monetization partner can reduce the value and demand for the publisher’s inventories and decrease its yield.

3. Flexibility in Selecting Demand Partners

As an enterprise publisher, one might be collaborating with multiple monetization partners. They help the publisher optimize demand for various websites and their inventories. In this process, however, different monetization partners can end up using the same demand sources (SSPs, ad exchanges, or ad networks) to accrue demand. This means that the same buyers are bidding for the inventory multiple times, adding redundancy. Therefore, the publisher would want to be able to optimize connecting with different demand sources. 

However, monetization partners affiliating with ad networks or an internal marketplace might constrain the flexibility of publishers in choosing SSPs and demand options.

4. Exclusive and Restrictive Monetization Contracts Hamper Growth

The contracts signed between the monetization partners and publishers can also be a significant challenge if a publisher fails to negotiate its needs successfully. Signing a revenue-share model, for example, is a customary practice. However, a few vendors might have hidden charges behind the terms and conditions wall that become unsustainable in the long run. 

Furthermore, many of these monetization partners often have steep lock-in periods. The publishers must continue to use their monetization solutions and services for an extended period with little to no scope of altering these contracts when needed. Publishers may also be required to sign an exclusive contract, limiting the flexibility in working with other partners.

5. Delivering New Demand Sources to Fuel Growth

The programmatic marketplace is growing rapidly — and for a good reason. The demand and supply sides of the equation are also continuously evolving, with new players entering the market and existing ones expanding their offerings. As advertisers look to reach their audiences across platforms and devices, they are finding more sophisticated ways to use programmatic technology.

However, enterprise publishers are still struggling to find new sources of demand for their inventory. There are two major reasons for this:

  • The sheer volume of impressions available on the market. Programmatic buyers can access tens of millions of daily impressions from hundreds of thousands of publishers through a DSP. This makes it difficult for publishers to stand out and get noticed by buyers.
  • The high level of competition among sellers increases pricing pressure on the supply side and leads to low CPMs for publishers.

To stay competitive in this environment, monetization partners can help publishers reach new buyers more suitable for their audiences and drive higher CPMs for ad inventory. It’s not enough for a monetization partner to simply be a reseller of ad inventory.

Strategic partners can help publishers discover new demand sources for ad inventory, which is essential for growth, and help them navigate this shift by leveraging their own proprietary data, tools, and expertise.

For example, suppose a publisher is looking to create opportunities in the mobile world. In that case, it can leverage the expertise of its programmatic monetization partner (which may have a strong mobile footprint) to identify potential partners who can buy its inventory on behalf of advertisers. This way, the publisher doesn’t have to spend time researching and contacting advertisers themselves – it is all done through a single point of contact.

Similarly, many programmatic monetization partners also offer video-focused ad solutions for publishers who want to drive more revenue from video content. This includes offering solutions for pre-roll and post-roll ads and live streaming ads across multiple devices.

Programmatic advertising is in the middle of a major transformation, and publishers can’t expect to make money from it on their own. To keep up with the evolving industry, a monetization partner should offer more than just ad sales and services.

What’s Next?

Programmatic monetization partners must help enterprise publishers free up time to focus on creating content and engagement for their websites while taking care of growth and optimization of ad revenue. Publishers would do well to select a flexible and transparent programmatic monetization partner that can catalyze growth with reliable, innovative monetization services. 

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