About the Series

Playwire’s Ad Ops Team Build vs. Outsource Series is the go-to resource for publishers who are looking to build, implement or optimize their ad operations processes. In each series entry, we tap the knowledge and experience of one of our in-house experts to provide need-to-know knowledge to publishers like you.

In this entry, we tapped the collective knowledge of the leadership across all of our technical teams: 

Check out all the blogs in this series.

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Engineering and Dev Mean Scale and Depth for Publishers

Scale is a problem that most successful publishers encounter at some point on their journey from plucky startup to established publisher. At a certain point, you realize you need to offer more than just the off-the-shelf display units to advertisers, and you’re faced with the question of how to make that happen.

Inevitably, the answer will involve engineering and software development. But does that mean you need to break out the checkbook and hire a whole engineering and dev team? Not necessarily. Many successful publishers outsource their engineering and dev teams and still enjoy all the benefits and increased CPMs that can come with an in-house team.

So, how do you make your choice? By reading our breakdown of this issue below. 

Playwire has a world-class team of engineers and developers working for every publisher who partners with us. That’s how we offer cutting-edge and high-value ad units to buyers and keep pushing our publishers’ CPMs higher. Interested? Reach out.

Why Publishers Need Engineering and Dev

Not all publishers need software engineering and development. The smaller ones who don’t want to do more complex ad sales processes like video header bidding and are perfectly content with earning a couple hundred bucks per month need not worry about it. But if you plan to grow, offer better inventory and maximize your revenue, you’re going to need to build or outsource an engineering and dev team.

Here are some common reasons why publishers decide to invest in engineering and dev:

  • Video header bidding. If you want to bring in high CPMs, video header bidding is the way to go. But every supply-side platform (SSP) is going to have its own parameters that it wants to pass through your technology when requesting video ads, and you’re going to have to work with multiple SSPs. That’s a lot of competing interests flowing through your ecosystem, and it requires an experienced software developer’s touch to manage.
  • Video player compliance. If you want to do video ads, you’re going to have to have some kind of video player. If you’re using a third-party player, you may not be able to monetize it in the way you would prefer, but if you’re building your own, you’re up against an avalanche of compliance concerns — everything from how it pauses to how sound is enabled and whether and when ads are skippable. That’s all in addition to basic functionality. This is a job for experienced software engineers and devs.
  • Brand safety and ad quality. One of the most significant ongoing concerns for both publishers and advertisers is brand safety and ad quality. On one hand, you have the issue of serving ads alongside brand-safe content, and then you have general quality issues like whether ads come through with audio on. Some SSPs and platforms offer brand safety and ad quality services, but if you are working with multiple partners, you are faced with the issue of integrating your chosen safety and quality solution with all of your other platforms and tools. Here again, this often requires the expertise of an engineer.
  • Core web vitals. Making sure your site is in line with Google’s Core Web Vitals standards is more important than ever, but it’s not something that most publishers can do themselves. They often need a front-end web developer with demonstrable Core Web Vitals experience to take on the job.

Build or Outsource?

If you’ve already decided that you need to move forward with the help of an engineering and development team, your next question is whether you build your own or outsource the work. Here’s what each of those scenarios looks like:

Building Your Own Engineering and Dev Team

Let’s say you’re ambitious and feel like you have what it takes to build your own development team. In that case, your first and biggest hurdle will be hiring (and the high costs that come with employing those you hire). But what are we really talking about? You will need to make, at a minimum, the following hires:

  • A video engineer
  • A display engineer
  • A JavaScript developer
  • A front-end web developer

Keep in mind that you will need more of each of these engineers and developers as you scale. You might be able to find someone who has the technical skills to do two of those roles if you get lucky. But keep in mind that each of these hires will command more than to six figures in salary if they are of the high caliber you need to really make this work.

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Outsourcing Engineering and Dev

When you outsource your engineering and dev needs, many of the problems described above can go away, but they’re not guaranteed to go away unless you outsource to the right partner. If you outsource to a subpar team, you’ll get subpar results. It’s as simple as that.

For example, most third-party partners will specialize in video or display — not both. Some will offer a brand safety or ad quality solution, but others won’t. Some can handle the demands of Core Web Vitals optimizations, and many wouldn’t even know where to start. 

Playwire fills those gaps with our world-class team of software engineers and developers. So, what does it look like when you outsource to an experienced and capable team like Playwire? Here’s the rundown:

  • Our team handles everything. Our engineers and developers know how to build solutions for both video and display, and we have teams that specialize in both.
  • All your demand sources in a single stack. We integrate every aspect of your ad tech stack, including all of your demand sources, into a single managed revenue platform to drive your CPMs higher than ever.
  • You save money. You don’t pay six figures for each hire and hope it works out. You let us do the work and drive your revenue higher while you focus on creating great content. We profit when you profit, so you’re never hit with unexpected costs that chip away at your bottom line.

Engineering and Dev for Publishers: Solved

If you want to maximize your revenue, you are almost certainly going to need to give your site or app some engineering and development attention. But where that attention comes from — an in-house team or an outsourced one — is up for debate. Let us settle that debate for you right now: You will save yourself time, money and hassle by outsourcing your engineering and dev needs to a comprehensive revenue partner like Playwire.

You don’t have the bandwidth to hire and manage a team of engineers and developers, but we already do that. And they’re the best at what they do. They make your site irresistible to advertisers while you focus on creating the content that keeps your audience coming back.

Sound good? All you have to do to make it real is reach out to Playwire. Contact us online today.

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