Key Takeaways

  1. In the past, more demand sources typically meant greater competition and ultimately higher CPMs, however, the ad tech landscape is shifting drastically toward a more quality-over-quantity approach.
  2. Building the infrastructure internally to integrate and manage demand sources that also prioritize brand safety is highly cost-prohibitive for most publishers. 
  3. The publishers who manage their ad tech stack in-house typically integrate between one and five demand sources, depending upon maturity, but therein lies the difficulty of ensuring your site isn’t littered with malicious or duplicate ads.
  4. Over the past two decades, Playwire has worked to develop a comprehensive set of quality demand sources, prioritizing the safety of both our publisher and advertiser partners. This includes Google Open Bidding, Amazon TAM, a hybrid SSP model, app mediation partners, and exclusive direct sales.

Truthfully, the simplest way to increase CPMs for your website or mobile app is to incorporate more sources of ad demand. However, in 2024, not only is this mindset of “more is more” shifting but it’s actually leading to more failure than success. 

Ultimately, the programmatic ad space is undergoing a seismic transformation before our eyes, where publishers and advertisers alike are demanding more transparency into the programmatic pipeline. 

The result? Players across the digital advertising industry are dropping off the map due to a plethora of shady practices, many of which have been shoved under the rug for years, masked by the idea that more demand is the only way to drive more revenue.

Let’s dig into where we are today and how you can continue to increase CPM rates and drive more ad revenue for your website or app.

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How Many Sources of Demand Should You Incorporate?

This is somewhat of a trick question. As noted, to increase revenue the most, you typically want to incorporate as many sources of demand as you can. 

But more isn’t always better when more includes bid duplication, resold ad demand, and slower page latency, all of which will negatively impact user experience.

Additionally, each demand integration increases the complexity of your code, introducing more opportunities for things to go wrong, which would need to be handled by your ad ops team, assuming you have one that is ready to support the maintenance and firefighting that comes with driving clean, increased competition.

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

The answer depends on whether you want to maintain your ad tech stack in-house or use a platform like Playwire's Revenue Amplification Management Platform (RAMP®) to consolidate your ad tech stack in one place.

The Ultimate Collection of Quality Demand Sources

As the outdated motto of "go big or go home" shifts toward exclusively brand-safe demand integrations, things will only become more complicated for those publishers looking to integrate and manage demand themselves. 

Working with an ad monetization partner, such as Playwire, allows you to focus on your content strategy while Playwire handles integrating safe, high-quality demand for your valuable ad inventory.

Our programmatic demand stack includes:

Building a demand stack such as this ensures the highest-quality and most relevant ads will land on your site, guaranteeing higher CPMs on each ad impression, and, as we've seen across hundreds of publishers, driving higher revenue for each ad placement.

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

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

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

In fact, working on a RevShare model with a partner like Playwire will generate more revenue for publishers in the long run.

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The Complete Ad Tech Stack Resource Center

Managing a 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 rather low.

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 getting started on their ad monetization journey (for web publishers, this is typically under 250,000 pageviews, and for app publishers, this is typically under 1,000 daily active users), the most you'll integrate is a single source. And that source is usually Google, to keep it as simple and safe as possible to manage your stack.

As your user base grows, you'll find yourself at the point where you'll find enough value in incorporating two to three sources of demand and a header bidding solution. But again, it’s critical to focus on incorporating safe, quality demand rather than rushing to simply integrate more for the sake of more.

Usually, the most advanced publisher ad tech stacks, those managed fully in-house, incorporate approximately three to five different sources of demand. This level of maturity is triggered as websites crest over 1 million pageviews or apps surpass 100,000 daily active users.

The Risk vs. Reward Trade-Off

For most publishers, managing your entire ad tech stack in-house vs. using a comprehensive platform like Playwire's RAMP® comes down to questions of investment and risk.

Building your 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 or app delivers, you still have to make payroll and keep up your tech stack, all while ensuring your ad inventory is clean and the ads you are running are safe, relevant, and unobtrusive.

Demand Quality and Drive More Revenue with Playwire

Ultimately, building out a set of demand sources that is both comprehensive and quality-driven such as those you’ll find in the RAMP® Platform is next to impossible. 

Partnering with Playwire will help you drive the highest CPMs, improve the quality of your ad strategy, and reduce your infrastructure costs and internal efforts.

Playwire introduces economies of scale across our entire network of publishers, making the increases in ad revenue available from our list of premium demand sources to publishers of all sizes, without having to invest in growing a team or building tech infrastructure.

Interested in learning more? Contact our team today.

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