The Often Overlooked Side of the Digital Publishing World: Optimization

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Publishers invest a great deal of time and effort into negotiating the contract and getting media spend for premium ads. However, once the ink is dry, too many miss the next step – making sure the campaign delivers to the advertiser’s goals.

Sales teams assume optimization is on the way, yet the current trend is to optimize only critically important campaigns – or those already on the receiving end of complaints. Premium optimization has become reactionary; an afterthought, a remedy to be employed only for underperformance.

Oh, it’s not that we don’t care; there are a number of good reasons optimization has been deprioritized. Optimization has traditionally been time consuming and tedious. Done manually, it’s reactionary by its very nature, as we can really only make educated guesses and assumptions, gauging the impact only after further manual analysis.

The industry as a whole also suffers from data-overload, with an ever-increasing volume of information to sift through in search of the insights that actually matter. Publishers are trying to pull and analyze data from multiple sources, making decisions based on gut instinct and best judgment calls rather than the best possible analysis of fact.

Publishers can do so much better than this.

The upside is that publishers want to do better than this; they’re certainly incentivized to improve their premium optimization strategy.

Effective premium optimization enables publishers to maximize the revenue from each campaign, but also to deliver results that make them more likely to retain that media plan in future (or ideally, earn an even greater share of the budget).

Consider this: if you’re currently managing to optimize even a fifth of your premium inventory, it’s difficult to deliver on the goals of the campaign. Don’t feel bad – that’s pretty typical across the industry. Imagine seeing even a 20 percent performance improvement in the remaining four-fifths of those assets.

What would those results mean to the advertiser?

And what would that do for your business and reputation as a publisher?

Optimization is built in with RTB; it’s part of the approach, start to finish. Why are we lagging behind with premium assets? Optimization is a critical part of the publisher’s process and should be a part of the overall strategy, not a reactionary measure.

Automating premium optimization enables ad impressions teams to drive results right from campaign kick-off, rather than waiting for results to roll in and wading through the data to react. Part programmatic, yet with human control measures, it gives publishers an understanding of the potential impact of optimizations on a daily basis.

Imagine sitting down each morning to review your campaigns and seeing system recommendations based not on your manual analysis of two or three variables, but 150 variables at a time. You decide which parameters to measure and assess; the technology does the work. It’s programmatic to an extent, yet you still have a good level of human oversight and can better deliver on the advertiser goals.

This technology has driven better optimization in RTB and trading platforms, so why not in premium optimization? It’s typically the most lucrative opportunity for a publisher, with those top 20 percent of assets accounting for up to 80 percent of revenue.

Automating premium optimization is a proactive approach employing ad optimization algorithms, opportunity spotting, rapid-fire testing and predictive suggestions. All of this results in higher quality optimizations at scale for a publisher’s most valuable assets.

It’s time for publishers to prioritize post-sale programmatic strategies. Focusing primarily on acquisition and pre-sale support will land the deals, but post-sale optimization drives the results that build loyalty and strengthen advertiser relationships.

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