Aug 15 2016
Anthony Loredo

Programmatic Advertising 101: What’s In It for Publishers?


Last week, we answered questions surrounding DSPs. Because that was geared toward advertisers and agencies, we’re turning our attention this week to publishers. It doesn’t matter if you’re a traditional media publisher with roots in print or a publisher with digital as your core business. The benefit to using a DSP is the same: audience extension.

So, let’s dive in. And stop me if you get lost.

I’m already lost. What’s audience extension?
Audience extension is used by publishers to capture a greater share of digital ad budgets by accessing additional inventory and audiences.

Audience extension allows publishers to retarget their users on sites outside of their own. This makes it possible for publishers to increase the volume of their inventory and the value of their first-party audience data.

But keep in mind: It’s more than just site retargeting. Utilizing a DSP for audience extension allows publishers to expand both their digital inventory and their digital offerings. In other words, audience extension turns publishers into a one-stop-shop for their advertisers’ digital needs.

An example might help.
Let’s pretend you’re an online sports publication and your visitor is a female in her mid-20s. She’s reading about Alex Rodriguez’s retirement from baseball while she cries into her morning coffee, but when she’s done, her digital activity will extend beyond your website to other devices, platforms, channels and interests.

She might head to her favorite blogger for ideas on how to decorate her apartment, or perhaps she visits REI’s site to buy backpacking gear for an upcoming trip to New Zealand.  Maybe last night she ordered too much pizza online, and now she’s Googling local gyms she can join. It’s also possible she spent all morning at work researching what audience extension is so she can write a blog about it, and takes a break to like all of Britney Spears’ posts on Instagram.

The point is: Your website attracts a unique set of visitors with their own range of hobbies, behaviors, brand affinities and lifestyle preferences. Advertisers are buying your inventory directly because they want to connect with that unique audience. As a publisher, you can offer access to these users on your site and continue targeting them after they leave your page.

This sounds a lot like retargeting. You said audience extension is more than that, but I’m not seeing how.
Think about it like this: You’re the same popular sports website. And Joe’s Sports Shack loves advertising on your website. He can’t get enough, and he keeps coming back for more. Every quarter that he spends on your site directly, he sees an in-store traffic uptick. And now Joe wants to spend more money with you. He needs your help geo-targeting a nearby little league tournament with mobile ads. And Joe, busy guy that he is, also recently put together a TV spot and he’s wondering if you can help him run a video campaign. With DSP technology, you’ll never have to say no to Joe.

Well, I see the benefit for programmatic advertisers in this scenario. What’s in it for me?
Audience extension allows you to follow your readers after they leave the page, which turns your website traffic into audience segment data. You’re now selling audiences to advertisers – instead of physical ad units – which allows you to monetize your readership, web traffic and increase inventory capacity.

Ok, but how does all of this this work from a technical standpoint?
Audience extension uses HTTP cookies, a string of text sent from a web server to a user’s browser. Cookies store a unique identifier, and may contain information like the users’ browsing activity and what ads were recently seen. To facilitate this, it’s as simple as publishers placing code into the backend of their website. Once the cookies and ad tags are there, the ads follow the audience as they browse the web.

One more question: Can’t I achieve audience extension with just an ad exchange or DMP?
You might already be monetizing your website, or collecting first-party audience data. You might even be utilizing ad exchanges or DMPs to offer retargeting to your advertisers. That’s great – you’re doing some good work.

But guess what? You’re still leaving money on the table.

Remember Joe? Using a DSP, you will have scalable inventory and audience targeting across any device, anywhere, any time.

For more information on DSP technology or on Basis DSP, visit our website. You can also check out our 3-part video series on using a DSP as a publisher.

Learn more about Programmatic Advertising with Centro.