Awesome – What Next?
When an ad vendor promises a revenue guarantee for any amount of your publishing inventory, by all means you should take it. However, you should consider a few few things when accepting guarantees.
Here are 5 of them:
What is your revenue share with the vendor?
Getting a guaranteed CPM is great, but dig a little deeper. Check if your vendor is transparent on what margins they are selling to their advertisers. Is your rev share 70% or 80% or is it a blind revenue share? Is your partner keeping 20%, 40% or more for every advertising dollar?
Sometimes intermediaries between publishers and advertisers add value. Expect transparency around the intermediary’s fees and added value. You can read my thoughts about middlemen here.
What happens if the vendor cannot fill an ad impression?
Ad vendors shouldn’t be monopolizing your inventory if they cannot fill it, especially if you’re giving them the first opportunity to fill it. Ensure these vendors allow you to set a passback, at the very least. That way you can let other vendors fill the ad for you and further increase your yield.
Vendors and partners benefit as well. Rather than showing any random low quality ad and diluting their eCPM, they can simply let another vendor take a stab at filling the ad impression. Given the premium nature of native inventory, it’s in both the publishers’ and ad vendors’ best interest to keep CPMs high.
There’s no such thing as ‘exclusive’ in advertising
Frankly, ‘exclusive’ doesn’t exist in ad-tech. Every publisher is bucketed into a standard IAB audience categories by media sales teams along with several other sites. Your page-views and uniques are aggregated and pitched to advertisers.
When a vendor says “exclusive for just our unit” or “noncompete for our slot”, remember that’s your inventory, maximize it’s value! Vendors need your inventory, not the other way around. Stacking multiple ad units just dilutes the value of your inventory so make vendors compete. Competition always breeds excellence.
Make your guarantee a floor, not a ceiling
If a vendor offers a guaranteed CPM, treat this as the minimum price of your inventory and seek out higher CPMs to boost your yield. With the introduction of programmatic trading for native inventory, often times advertisers will pay premium CPMs to reach their target audience, CPMs that eclipse guarantees.
As a publisher, be smart about not locking yourself out of this premium demand by relying on your guarantee first and foremost. This was one of the pitfalls of banner advertising. We think native inventory deserves a different, more holistic approach. Read more about our holistic ad-serving philosophies.
Try selling some native inventory yourself
Vendors sell your inventory above their guarantee, otherwise they’d go out of business. That means you should be able to directly see your inventory for more than your guarantee. Nobody knows your audience and brand better than you, and nobody else can sell exclusive access to it.
Often times publishers already have existing relations with brands and advertisers that are looking to buy native inventory. Most publishers won’t be able to sell 100% of their inventory, which is where vendors can add value, but don’t leave those premium dollars on the table by relying solely on a vendor
To summarize, guarantees are great for publishers: take them!
Just be smart and don’t sacrifice your ability to maximize your inventory’s value.