Ad Yield Ops 101: Managing Demand Sources Why it is important

Watch the video to learn why the process of managing demand sources is important to your ad monetization success.



Lesson Overview + Resources:

In this lesson, we'll discuss why it is so important to manage your demand sources. This includes:

  • The desired goals and outcomes when incorporating demand sources
  • The benefits and drawbacks to incorporating demand sources
  • How many sources of demand you should incorporate, and why?

Here are additional resources pertaining to this lesson:

Read the Transcript:

In this video, we’ll start by covering why the process of managing demand sources is so important.

Why is the process of incorporating demand sources so important to your success?

Well, it’s because your selection will determine the level of competition you have bidding for your ad impressions, which can significantly drive up your RPMs if you do it right.

Let’s start with the most important question: How Many Sources of Demand Should You Incorporate?

This is somewhat of a trick question. To increase revenue the most, you'll want to incorporate as many sources of demand as you can. More is always better to increase competition, and thus increase RPMs.

What you really need to consider here is the diminishing return on efforts that comes from adding more and more sources of demand. Each demand source you integrate into your ad tech stack will help add increased price pressure, but it also comes at a development cost.

Integrating, and maintaining integrations with individual demand sources is no small task. Each source you integrate incurs an effort tax. And, at some point, as you add more and more, that tax becomes so large it outweighs the benefits.

Not to mention the fact that each integration increases the complexity of your code and introduces more opportunities for things to go wrong. Your ad ops and yield team will need to grow exponentially to support the maintenance and firefighting that comes with driving increased competition.

So, this returns us to our original question: how many sources of demand should you integrate?

The answer depends on your team, capabilities, and desired level of effort. Ultimately you have a wide range of choices that fall across a spectrum. Let’s go through a couple of examples to demonstrate.

Let’s start by looking at the far right end of the spectrum.

If your motto is "go big or go home," then you'll want to incorporate as many sources of demand as possible.  To demonstrate the “as many demand sources as possible” approach, we’ll walk you through the comprehensive set of demand sources that we’ve incorporated into our platform as an example.

Our programmatic demand stack includes:

  • Google Open Bidding
  • Amazon TAM
  • More than 20 SSPs
  • More than 9 Mediation Partners
  • And Exclusive Direct Sales Deals from our Global Direct Sales Team

Building a demand stack of this size certainly guarantees a higher RPM on each ad impression, and we've seen it work to drive higher ad revenue across thousands of publishers.

But, we've built a dedicated team to constantly manage, optimize, and improve this comprehensive set of integrations. Building a stack of this size is often effort and cost prohibitive as an individual publisher. It makes sense for us since we serve a very large network of publishers.

Not only does it take a full team of developers and ad ops professionals, it requires a team dedicated to maintaining relationships with each of these demand partners so we can fight for the best interests of our publishers when necessary.

The beauty of choosing to work with a partner like Playwire means you get access to a comprehensive set of demand sources that will drive incrementally higher CPMs without having to invest in the infrastructure and team it will take to build it up-front. 

But that may not be the best option for you.

Now let’s shift closer to the left end of the spectrum.

Let’s discuss building a more manageable collection of demand sources.

If you're firmly in the camp of building your ad tech stack and managing it in-house, the right number of demand sources for you to integrate will likely be significantly lower.

Most often, the number of demand sources you should integrate is directly related to your current size and level of maturity. For most publishers just starting out, often around 500K monthly pageviews or less, the most you'll integrate is a single source. And, that source is usually Google, to keep it as simple as possible to manage your stack.

As your user base grows beyond 500k pageviews monthly, you'll find yourself tripping the point where you'll find enough value in incorporating 2-3 sources of demand and a header bidding solution.

Usually, the most advanced publisher ad tech stacks that we've seen managed in-house incorporate approximately 5 different sources of demand. This level is usually triggered as websites crest over 1 million page views per month.

Deciding what is right for you is simply a matter of weighing the risk and reward trade-off.

For most publishers, the decision on whether to manage your entire ad tech stack in-house vs. using a platform like Playwire's RAMP Platform comes down to questions of investment and risk.

Building your own infrastructure and team requires a lot of up-front investment, which can be hard to justify if your user base isn't yet large enough to provide the kind of ROI on that investment that makes it worthwhile.

In addition, building and maintaining a team requires taking on inherent risks. No matter how much revenue your website delivers, you still have to make payroll and keep up your tech stack. Some publishers choose to use an ad monetization solution simply for the fact that their costs scale as their revenue scales, significantly reducing overall risk.

Choosing the number of demand sources that is right for you is a question only you can answer.

Lastly, let's talk about what happens if you can’t get approved on the demand sources you want to integrate.

Getting approved is important in helping maintain the competitiveness of your auction for each impression. Without competition, you’ll have little control over your ad revenue, so ensuring your website is built to get approved will be incredibly important in your yield strategy.