Let’s be brutally honest: the ad tech industry is complex. It’s often messy, needlessly complicated, and completely overwhelming. 

Publishers like you have to navigate a massive number of tools that interact with each other in unclear ways. There are countless pathways between buyers and sellers and it’s nearly impossible to keep track of data. 

So, what can publishers like you do to gain clarity and control over their digital advertising models? 

Let’s explore a few actionable insights your team can put into practice today. 

Rock and a Hard Place: Ad Tech Options for Publishers Today

Today, you have two options: build and manage solutions in-house or outsource to a partner. 

Some publishers will opt to build and manage their ad tech in-house. 

Some will partner with an ad tech company. 

Both sides have benefits and challenges.

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Ad Tech Stack Pillar

The Complete Publisher Ad Tech Stack: Everything You Need to Know

Option 1: Build and Manage Ad Tech In-House

Building and managing your own ad tech stack involves a long list of moving parts and considerations. It’s a difficult process to manage in-house.


There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but generally, publishers will hire a complete in-house team to build and buy each piece of the ad tech stack. Even after the initial build is complete, the team will need to perform regular updates to include innovations and tech upgrades. 

Then, the team will maintain and monitor all stack components for alerts, collect and analyze data, and make the necessary adjustments to maximize revenue.

This option involves a significant level of effort and work on the part of the publisher. Unfortunately, it often fails. Here are a few reasons why:

  • The huge time and resource investment in building an in-house team
  • A lack of data consistency between tools
  • A lack of reliability with tools failing to live up to revenue potential
  • Workflow and productivity management
  • Improper resource allocation
  • Failure to keep up with changes, updates, and maintenance

As a result of data inconsistency and a mixture of different data sources, those who elect to build and manage their own ad tech often experience difficulties understanding their results. As a result, it’s nearly impossible to make strategy adjustments to improve those results.

They also struggle with constant fire-fighting, expending significant time and effort in keeping things from breaking, leaving no time left for a focus on strategically increasing ad revenue. Resource allocation and upfront investment are also huge hurdles in this model.

Option 2: Outsource to an Ad Monetization Partner

An ad monetization partner is a third-party organization that will build and manage your ad tech stack on your behalf.

Those who choose this option surrender a lot of control to their partner. It’s a risk. Trust can be difficult to establish.

Honestly, this option frequently leads to frustration and confusion. Many complain about the black box that comes with giving up control. They have no idea about the processes and systems they are paying for. All this makes it incredibly challenging to implement changes, meet targets, and achieve objectives.  

Improving on Option 1: How to Gain Clarity With In-House Ad Tech

Understanding the results of ad tech is tricky, even for those who know a lot.

But this clarity is mission-critical.

If you’ve chosen door number one and built an in-house tech stack, here are some key ways to get a clear picture of what’s going on and maximize your ad revenue in the process.


Build a Complete Stack

Building a complete tech stack for ads involves a lot of working parts. 

Here are some pieces you’ll need:

It may seem overwhelming to coordinate so many different tools, but it’s an integral part of any ad tech strategy. Each of them drives major advancements in both clarity and revenue generation, making them all vital.

Consolidate Your Data

You will need to consolidate data in a single spot. This is particularly important for data analytics.

Data consolidation is not an easy process and there is no universal prescription for how to go about it. Building a full-scale data practice is entirely worth the investment if you have a large enough scale.

A data team will manage data that comes from every corner of your technology stack. This data can then be used as a framework upon which to build clear, concise, and actionable reports and recommendations.

Complex though it may be, the payoff is measurable. 


Create Custom Alerting

Finally, to build and manage your ad tech stack, create custom alerting with consolidated data.

Here are a few revenue-related events and concerns that are worthy of real-time notification:

  • Ads.txt issues: This alert primarily looks for issues with injected redirects. DSPs that take more than two hops to get to an ads.txt file could be invalid, resulting in lost ad spend.
  • AdX fill rate: This is a leading indicator of other supply issues. AdX will be the first to see a drop if there is a tech or setup issue. This drop alerts you to look into the issue before other demand sources drop.
  • SSP spend: Set up automated alerts if any SSP stops spending for more than 24 hours.
  • Pageview RPM: This metric removes the effect of any fluctuations in pageviews. A drop of over 10% alerts you to ad setup issues.
  • DSP spend: This is difficult to see. It takes a lot of data management setup planning due to the hops that happen between DSP and the end publisher. Alerts regarding major drops in DSP spend allow you to catch issues before they consume revenue.

Improving on Option 2: Gain Control by Choosing the Right Partner

If you’ve chosen to work with an outsourced partner, there are things you can do to reduce the risk and gain control. It all starts in the evaluation process. 


Identify Your Minimum Requirements

The first thing a team needs to do before hiring an outsourced ad monetization partner is to establish a list of minimum requirements.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, some items you may want to consider include….

You’ll likely have a litany of your own requirements, depending on how your organization is structured and what you are looking for from a partner. Identify, and make sure to document, these before speaking to a prospective partner. 


Question Everything

Once you have a list, ask as many questions as possible. Hint: If you don’t feel like you’re asking too many questions, then you’re not asking enough.

Make sure you have at least one, likely multiple, questions per item on your requirements list in order to vet everything you need to know.

Here are some of the most important questions to include in your list as a starting point:

  • Support: How many people are on your direct sales team? Who will be my primary point of contact? How many people are on your yield operations team?
  • Technology: What sources of demand are included in your technology? How will you manage the relationships with SSPs and DSPs? What is on your product roadmap?
  • Strategy: What revenue maximization strategies do you use?

If a representative can’t answer or declines to answer any of these questions, the red flag is a-waving.


Validate Claims

Ad monetization partners can overpromise and underdeliver. Now that you’ve gotten answers to your questions, this is where claim validation comes in.

Make sure you have a method to verify each claim. Here are some ways to verify some of the claims we’ve already identified: 

  • Check LinkedIn to verify team-based claims like the number of roles in Direct Sales or Yield Operations
  • Ask for case studies and references, looking for clear indicators of results
  • Speak to all provided references
  • Ask for technical documentation to understand the effort required for integration
  • Check Google’s partner directory to validate any claims about GCPP status
  • Review their tech stack and make sure it has everything you require

Never swipe right (or sign on the dotted line) before confirming all claims are true and you’ll get what you’ve been promised.

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Ad Tech Stack Resource Center

The Complete Ad Tech Stack Resource Center

Now You Can Have the Best of Both Worlds: Simplicity and Control in Ad Tech

It used to be that if you wanted control of self-managed ad tech, you had to dive into crazy complexity. 

If you wanted the simplicity of outsourced partners, you had to live with mystery. 

It was inevitable.

Our team was tasked with coming up with an ad tech solution that provided the best of both worlds. To build a solution that would allow you to do things like:

  • Manage bid settings without managing the minutiae of building and maintaining a tech stack
  • Run your own direct sales deals while also taking advantage of external deals provided by a Global Direct Sales team
  • Manage yield settings directly while benefiting from advanced technology designed to maximize yield

So, that’s what we did.

The RAMP Platform: Simplifying the Tech Stack

The RAMP Platform simplifies the mess of tech that exists today into a streamlined tech stack. The entire publisher ad tech stack can all be managed from a single platform. That means one source of data. One source of truth.

With the RAMP Platform, you gain clarity on exactly what is driving your results.

AdTech Stack - 3D-11

Unparalleled Transparency and Visibility

RAMP’s Advanced Yield Analytics gives you visibility into everything. It’s built to be simple enough for a CEO to use, but powerful enough to drill down to anything a yield operations professional might need.


The RAMP Platform gives you complete transparency into how your ad revenue is generated. With the variety of tools in the ad tech stack at your fingertips, you are in complete control of your results.

All the Technology to Maximize Ad Revenue

RAMP provides simpler access to, and management of, common tools in the ad tech stack. It also includes proprietary technology to further amplify publisher ad revenue.

  • {RI} Revenue Intelligence®Machine learning and AI adjust thousands of settings across the ad tech stack on a per-ad impression basis, maximizing publisher yield.
  • Direct Sales: Get immediate access to Playwire’s Global Direct Sales team, who package websites across the network and sell direct to major brands, infusing brand dollars into your ad revenue.
  • Data Management Platform (DMP): The RAMP Platform includes a built-in DMP, allowing you to track unique data about your audience and maximize CPMs. Audience insights and segmentation unlocks premium brand dollars.
  • Innovative Features and Ad UnitsThe Playwire team is constantly innovating the set of features and ad units we offer. Recent industry-leading additions include rewarded video ads for websites.

Simplify Your Operation

The RAMP Platform offers control without the burden of managing an ad tech team. 

Our multi-disciplinary team is always standing by to support your needs while you enjoy a simplified way to manage and control your ad tech stack.

Here are some of the services our team can provide:

  • Yield Ops: An entire team of yield ops professionals is hard at work every day looking for ways to maximize revenue for you. From managing SSP and partnership relationships to running experiments that fuel our proprietary Revenue Intelligence {RI} algorithms, they handle the behind-the-scenes efforts needed for you to reach your full revenue potential.
  • Ad Ops: RAMP is backed by a team of experts managing all the pieces of the ad tech stack and keeping an eye out for ad fraud. They manage settings across the ad tech stack, optimize header bidding integrations, and run direct ad campaigns across the network.
  • Engineering and Development: Our team of engineers keeps the ad tech stack humming 24/7. We put out fires so you don’t have to, and we are available when you need us.



Not Every Solution Will be Right For You

This solution isn’t right for everyone. And that’s okay.

We may not be a fit if….

  • You want to manage the minutiae of your technical integrations 
  • You’re interested in email monetization or user acquisition
  • You’re looking for out-of-home online advertising solutions


If you’re looking for a winning solution to bring all the pieces that impact ad monetization into a single place, then this is the right fit for you.

Simpler, Smarter Ad Tech Solutions From Playwire

The ultimate goal of our platform is to help you get out of the mess (and make you a truckload of additional revenue in the process). We want to provide you with access to the levers and resources you need to gain complete transparency and control over your ad tech. And we wanted to ensure it is all accessible from a single platform.

We understand that ad tech is complicated and confusing. That’s why we’re here. Our entire platform exists to make your work simpler and smarter. If you’re ready to implement the perfect advertising revenue model for your business, contact us online today.

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