How to manage Display Advertising exclusive deals

Background:

As the owner of monetization for your companies web property – you have successfully implemented a multi-partner, programmatic Real-Time-Bidding (RTB) waterfall that’s generating impressive yield numbers. Because of your excellent track record, Management is now expecting you to consistently increase your key performance indicators (KPI’s) – traffic and Revenues ($eRPM).

Problem:

You know the next couple of months are historically lower (seasonality) and you have proactively communicated this risk guidance to your management and had modeled the decline in revenues with this years financial model. That being said – you know the Company could really use the cashflows.

Objective:

I am going to take a near and long term approach to Exclusive deals to exploit the traps and pitfalls and how to guard against them. I will also talk about the long term impacts and how to reverse the impacts of a prolonged, negative Exclusive deal.

Proposal:

Then you remember the monthly conversation with one of your networks – who has been pestering you about a rate guarantee with exclusivity. If you take the option, you can lock in your expected revenues and – voila! – problem solved. right?

As you probably know, not all networks are created the same. In my experience – ones that manage brand-safe experiences (like Casale/IndexExchange, WPP Xaxis, ) are less likely to offer wild and juicy deals. Others like Google’s AdX are so dominant that they won’t even “go there.”

Ok, Everything sounds great! What could be the problem? Well, if your traffic numbers stay constant (or grow) and there are no unfortunate changes in overall Ad spend levels (e.g. Post-Tax or Post-Christmas) – then things should be fine. Well, If we thought there was no jeopardy in traffic levels or Ad Revenues  we would stick with our finely crafted waterfall. But, we’re not sure – are we? We check the analytics platform and know that historically – traffic drops 20% at this time of the year. So, we call the Ad Network up –  tout the unprecedented growth (conveniently omitting the historical trend insights) and get them to commit to an exclusive, rate guarantee for the month.

Stakeholder POV:

The first step is understanding the motivations/needs behind the core actors/stakeholders in the arrangement.

  • Publisher
    • Gets to lock-in revenues they feel is at risk
  • Ad Network Sales Manager
    • Well, (s)he’s being paid on traffic booked. So this is a short-sighted gold-mine
  • Ad Network
    • Displaces inventory from their competition
    • Additional inventory = additional DSP/Agency buys

 

Implementing, monitoring and quantifying the lift, lost-opportunity or changes to engagement:

Yes, The best way to approach a guaranteed rate deal is to institute a 90% (exclusive)/10% (existing) A/B test – provided you have enough customer traffic to keep the existing waterfall’s advertisers satisfied. Its important to note that you need to make sure your control group (the 10%) is static so you can accurately measure any potential changes in engagement fatigue. You will want to keep a close eye on the following points:

  • Pages/Session (aka Pages/Visit) – This is my favorite metric as it tells you if the users are sticking around and consuming additional content (and generating extra pageviews)
  • Time on Site – Again, are there changes in the duration of engagement over the control? 
  • Bounce Rate – Is the new Advertising causing users to flee the sight? Often advertising that includes auto-play ads will cause this metric to skyrocket. 
  • Number of Sessions (Visits) per User – Insight into impacts of repeat users
  • Traffic levels from attribution sources

Unfortunately, since you cannot easily carry this A/B testing to the Attribution layer (e.g. Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, T.co) – you will have to employ more complicated analysis (like MANOVA or MANCOVA) to try and measure the inherited impacts of UX changes into Referral sources.

Lastly,  keep a keen eye on User Feedback (UGC) via site feedback, your call center (if applicable) and Social outlets. In my experience – your loyal customers will communicate here first before leaving. If you see a lot of negative feedback here and it doesn’t wane off – you should expect to see changes in your key KPI’s shortly. 

The Cautionary tale:

I have personally seen and experience several situations where a drop in traffic has threatened Exclusive, rate guaranteed deals. It is under these circumstances that the Ad Network/Exchange will call up you as the business stakeholder to threaten the pull the deal unless you make certain concessions to increase the monetization effectiveness of the property. This can range from removing/altering block lists, changing ad unit placements, adding additional units, and lifting bans on more ‘contentious’ technologies. These all (in varying degrees) have a negative impact on the UX and they will hurt your overall traffic in the long term. The following is a typical scenario of how this happens:

S/D visualizations of impacts to ad inventory and demand (quality)
S/D visualizations of impacts to ad inventory and demand (quality)
Q0: Equilibrium. This is the starting point of the relationship 
Q1: The Ad Network notes that your supply of inventory (impressions) has diminished due to the seasonality. This jeopardizes their profitability with the guarantee. In order to maintain equilibrium of Price level ($), You need to either increase your supply (adding more units) or by increasing demand (by adding additional ad technologies or lower quality inventory). Otherwise, the Network will have to cancel your deal. You sell the issue to your management team and they remind you you've already committed to accruing those revenues.
Q2: You reluctantly agree and the Network adds the previously restricted advertisers and/or technologies. The net price level ($) is back at equilibrium (Q0) levels, but this has introduced an untenable UX which will be impacted in Q3.

Q3: Within days you notice a spike in customers complaining via social media, call center feedback, email comments, et al. User engagement metrics start to wane. Site load times begin to grow, especially on mobile. Over the next month(s) you notice more leftward shifts in Demand without the ability to counter with Supply adjustments. Here are the tell-tale symptoms you will experience..

  1. Bounce rates have climbed up
  2. Page/Site load times are now noticeably longer than originally and your site loads slower than your competition
  3. Attribution from Google, Facebook and other prominent sources had become unreliable and wanes heavily
    1. These sites value the user experience as measured by clicks and bounce rate. Bad site UX causes clicks to drop and bounces to go up. Since this negatively reflects on Google and Facebook, they will organically showcase other properties instead.
    2. Traffic has fallen outside of your annual model’s risk variance now
  4. t this point, the traffic and engagement are below the networks tolerance levels and they will either
    1. Ask to add additional Supply (Ad units) to the experience to maintain the rate guarantee against declining traffic
    2. Reduce the rate guarantee

I have seen the destructive impacts of this cyclical behavior ruin websites. Once you get to point #6, you have a untenable situation and you have broken your relationship with the most important stakeholder, the customer. This is why it is so important to conduct A/B (90/10) testing in parallel with an Exclusive deal. It not only lets you know when traffic is being negatively impacted against the control, it also lets you know when the control is out-performing the guarantee (so you can call them up and ask for a better rate). The worst possible thing you can do it sit idly by and let the exclusive network dictate your business. 

Reversing potential long-term damage:

Over time, UX degradation will result in a decline in engagement, visit frequency, and attribution.  Since these are the driving factors for Pageviews, and subsequently eRPM – we need to regain the traffic (and the trust of the users). This step is painfully simple. In order to reverse the negative engagement trend – you will need to level-set the user experience to pre-exclusivity. This includes removing additional Ad units, removing the tainted ad network, and returning to a waterfall of brand-safe advertisers. Most importantly: you will need to apologize to your customers and invite them back. Unfortunately, the cold fact is – it takes longer (and with greater expense) to travel up-market than it does to travel down-market.

Thanks again,

David

Article by David

Your host and an experienced analyst dedicated to evangelizing the quantifiable, data-driven measurement of business with an emphasis on the customer relationship.

229 Comments


  1. Great Article ! I’d like to convert the two 4-ft single linear T-12 fixtures in my kitchen to LED lights. These are 40W bulbs but I’ve measured 45+ watts probably due to inefficient ballasts.

  2. Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I have really enjoyed
    browsing your blog posts. In any case I
    will be subscribing on your rss feed and I’m hoping you write again very
    soon!

  3. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is areally well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info.Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.

  4. Hi would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re using?I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most.Can you suggest a good internet hosting provider at a fair price?Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!

  5. Hi there, simply turned into alert to your blog thru Google, and located that it’s truly informative. I’m gonna be careful for brussels. I’ll be grateful if you happen to proceed this in future. Lots of other people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  6. Hi there would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a tough time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  7. I just want to mention I am beginner to weblog and definitely savored this web-site. Likely I’m likely to bookmark your website . You actually have good articles. Thank you for sharing your blog site.

  8. Outstanding post, I conceive people should acquire a lot from this web blog its rattling user genial. So much superb info on here edfebkcfdbbc

  9. Quite a few online communities include singles sets which attempt enjoyable click here activities mutually, all this is actually is a good renewable dating approach. Incidents similar to pedaling, bowling, curling, video clip evenings, breaking a leg and comedy club sets tend to be organized with the singles group, but it enables a evenly-distributed group of objectives to have a great as well as laid-back nights. Together with emphasis apply to the actual activity themselves as an alternative to building a romantic connection, you will need plenty of demand journey singles in addition to sights manifest additional the natural way throughout this kind of environment.

  10. where is the best site to do a blog,blog tips be grateful. thanks for help. sam i tried get your blog but seems no thread,check it out.

  11. I currently have a two column Joomla website, however I don’t like the sidebar being on the right. Is there a way to either convert a two-column jJomla website into a three column one, or at least move the sidebar to the left?.

  12. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the layout of your website?

    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe
    you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it
    better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  13. Hello! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and finally
    got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from
    Atascocita Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good job!

  14. Thanks , I have just been looking for information about this subject for ages
    and yours is the greatest I have discovered so far. However, what concerning the conclusion? Are
    you certain in regards to the supply?

  15. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you
    wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with
    a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog.
    A great read. I will definitely be back.

  16. Every code I try either leaves a huge space on top of the page, or at the end of the page. Its definitely that code triggering it. I have actually tried many codes trying to hide the blog sites & extended network, however they all leave a white gap either on top or at the bottom. Anyone got one that does not cause the white gap? Or just how to eliminate the white void?.

  17. Fantastic goods from you, man. I’ve bear in mind your stuff previous to
    and you’re just too excellent. I really like what you’ve got here,
    certainly like what you’re stating and the best way during which you
    are saying it. You’re making it entertaining and you continue to
    care for to stay it smart. I can not wait to learn much more from you.
    That is actually a wonderful website.

  18. I’m seeking to learn as much about the on-line surfing neighborhood as I can. Can any individual advise their favored blogs, twitter manages, or sites that you discover most thorough? Which ones are most preferred? Thanks!.

  19. I wish to show my respect for your kindness giving support to men and women that must have assistance with this theme. Your real dedication to passing the solution all around ended up being unbelievably productive and have consistently permitted some individuals much like me to achieve their aims. Your own informative tips and hints means a great deal to me and further more to my mates. Thank you; from all of us.

  20. I together with my friends were actually following the great items found on the website while at once got a horrible feeling I never thanked the blog owner for those tips. All the people ended up absolutely glad to read through them and have now really been using these things. Appreciation for getting indeed kind and for deciding on variety of remarkable guides most people are really desperate to learn about. My personal sincere apologies for not expressing gratitude to you sooner.

  21. Thank you for the good critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research about this. We got a book from our area library but I think I’ve learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such fantastic information being shared freely out there…

  22. Helpful info. Lucky me I discovered your site by accident, and I am shocked why this accident did not took place
    earlier! I bookmarked it.

  23. I simply wanted to construct a quick word in order to say thanks to you for all the marvelous guides you are writing at this site. My time-consuming internet look up has now been recognized with beneficial points to share with my classmates and friends. I would assume that we visitors actually are undoubtedly endowed to exist in a remarkable community with so many lovely professionals with very beneficial tactics. I feel very much privileged to have used your entire web pages and look forward to really more exciting minutes reading here. Thank you once more for all the details.

  24. This is so good to see. We have do more things like this for the military families. They are protecting us and we need to support them in this way.

  25. I’ve been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts in this kind of area .
    Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this site.
    Reading this information So i’m happy to show that I’ve an incredibly just right
    uncanny feeling I found out just what I needed. I
    such a lot indubitably will make sure to don?t fail to remember
    this website and provides it a look regularly.

  26. I as well as my guys happened to be examining the best suggestions found on the blog while all of a sudden developed a horrible suspicion I had not expressed respect to you for those tips. Most of the boys are already for that reason passionate to read them and already have honestly been having fun with these things. Many thanks for being considerably accommodating as well as for selecting such marvelous subjects most people are really desirous to know about. Our sincere regret for not saying thanks to earlier.

  27. I have to point out my respect for your generosity for men and women who really need guidance on this important issue. Your special dedication to passing the solution all-around came to be amazingly powerful and have usually allowed somebody like me to reach their aims. Your personal insightful instruction indicates a great deal to me and somewhat more to my office colleagues. With thanks; from all of us.

  28. I have been a yahoo individuals for some years now. I am only starting to utilize the devices which they offer, one of which being post. I have created a blog and wishes to understand if my post are being seen by others. Otherwise then does any person know how I get my articles check out.

  29. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the
    future and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post and
    if I could I want to suggest you some interesting things or
    tips. Maybe you could write next articles referring to
    this article. I desire to read even more things
    about it!

  30. I don’t know if it’s just me or if everybody else experiencing issues
    with your website. It appears as if some of the written text within your content are
    running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is
    happening to them as well? This may be a issue with my browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
    Thanks

  31. I and also my friends were found to be following the nice guidelines located on your web page and then the sudden came up with a terrible feeling I had not expressed respect to the site owner for those strategies. Most of the young men are actually as a consequence glad to read through all of them and have very much been enjoying those things. Thank you for really being considerably kind as well as for using this form of fantastic guides millions of individuals are really desirous to understand about. Our honest apologies for not expressing appreciation to you sooner.

  32. You are so cool! I don’t think I have read a
    single thing like this before. So great to discover somebody with
    some genuine thoughts on this subject matter. Really..
    many thanks for starting this up. This web site is something
    that’s needed on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

  33. I’m pleased by the manner in which fountainanalytics.com handles this kind of issue! Generally on point, often contentious, without fail thoughtful and more often than not quite thought-provoking.

  34. Infotogel.live dan Togelmbah.com adalah situs yang berisikan prediksi togel jitu dan akurat serta memberikan data hasil keluar togel 4D hari ini secara cepat dan terupdate. prediksi pengeluaran hk sgp sdy

  35. I was curious if you ever considered changing the layout of your blog?

    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little
    more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.

    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  36. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or
    if it’s the blog. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

  37. Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your design. With thanks

  38. I simply wanted to appreciate you all over again. I do not know the things that I would’ve tried in the absence of the type of ideas discussed by you about this concern. Previously it was a very traumatic setting in my position, but spending time with a specialized strategy you resolved that made me to leap with contentment. I am grateful for this guidance and thus sincerely hope you are aware of an amazing job that you are putting in teaching most people via a site. Most likely you haven’t come across all of us.

  39. Hey there I am so glad I found your blog page, I really found you by error,
    while I was searching on Bing for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a fantastic post
    and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design),
    I don’t have time to read it all at the minute but I have saved it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I
    have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the fantastic job.

  40. Hi, I do think this is an excellent blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will return yet again since I bookmarked it.
    Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich
    and continue to guide others.

  41. Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of.
    I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they just do not know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing
    without having side effect , people could take a signal.

    Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  42. Its like you read my thoughts! You seem to know a lot approximately this, such as
    you wrote the ebook in it or something. I think that you simply could do with a few percent
    to pressure the message house a bit, but other than that, that is great blog.
    An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *