Advertising Guest Columns
4 mins read

Growing revenues: Why SSPs need to improve the publisher experience

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

From the publisher’s point of view, managing the programmatic universe is an increasingly complex, chaotic environment to deal with. You just need to glance at the fabled Lumascape to see that the sheer volume of vendors and consultants etc, provides a baffling array of choice.

And only if it were as simple as publishers having to just choose one from the smorgasbord of supply. The reality is they’re juggling 10, 15, or more SSPs at any given time. That’s before you get into the gnarly question of whether the ads being hosted are actually doing the publisher’s property any good, from either a financial or consumer perspective.

The ecosystem needs to be adjusted

In reality, SSPs and advertisers have long considered publishers as a means to get an ad to an end-user. It’s probably a fair assumption that there has been little consideration for the publisher’s experience.

This isn’t about getting all touchy-feely. Publisher experience is a pivotal part of making sure that all parties in this media love triangle – advertisers and consumers included – all get some satisfaction.

Being stuck in a hugely complex ecosystem means publishers can’t focus on their core proposition – delivering a quality media experience to the end-user. Creativity suffers as they struggle to fill the pipeline, resulting in low-quality placements and shrinking RTB returns.

No one is seeking to dismantle the SSP ecosystem, but simplification is long overdue. Instead of working with multiple pipes, publishers should be seeking to work with just a handful – ideally, just one.

One SSP is all you need

With a single but powerful SSP, publishers can simplify their approach, benefiting from the deeper engagement provided by rich media. Dealing with a unique video and media supply, with fewer touchpoints but a broad base of expertise and managed services is an ideal scenario.

In many respects, it’s like the perennial choice across the martech and ad tech sectors. Do you go for the big box supplier which claims to provide every service under the sun, but all with a very defined ‘big box’ flavour? Or go the ‘build your own’ route, creating a portfolio of suppliers with their own, unique take but requiring some serious coordination?

Perhaps there is a third way. A platform organised around a collective which can access a large and diverse group of suppliers but is centrally managed, giving the best of both worlds. This is much more than a ‘nice to have’ or an idealised version of the SSP experience. Today, we see this approach as a necessity. As publishers seek to deliver a creative, rich media experience to their audiences, the demands made on their technical capabilities rise exponentially. It isn’t something bolting on automation will solve. There needs to be human expertise at the heart of the process, ready to train, troubleshoot and support every step of the way.

Gamification – a new world for publishers

Improving the publisher experience is even more important as the media landscape shifts once again, evolving into a yet more interactive, social, and gamified experience. Since lockdown, gaming and metaverse audiences have exploded. Publishers are seeking both to insert themselves in these new worlds, as well as diversify their revenue by adding these new media strings to their bow.

Take ‘instant gaming’ companies for example. Many of these companies build white label gaming experiences and portals for publishers, who can then offer an immersive gaming experience to their audiences in-site. For a publisher such as the Chicago Tribune or The New York Times for example, this means valuable increased engagement and dwell time. Tying this into an SSP platform allows for display ads with high CPM skins to provide the strongest yields.

This kind of diverse, seamless but still highly agile publisher experience is only possible through a platform with its own broad network of capabilities and diverse resources that tap into the zeitgeist, such as gaming properties. A provider that owns the creativity, the technology, and the expertise is the necessary three-pronged approach modern publishers need. All while simplifying the process overall.

Technology has been a boon for the ad business, but it’s also made a rod for its own back. An over-reliance purely on the technology has been behind a dip in creativity and a skewed focus on short-termism. Adding the human touch back in is what the industry has been missing. If we want to deliver the optimal end-user experience – and, ultimately, get that revenue growing in the right direction – we need to start designing SSPs that focus more on improving publisher experience too.

Amelia Parsons
Head Of Publishing, Azerion

Azerion is a leading global media, technology, and entertainment company which delivers meaningful outcomes to brand challenges. It enables advertisers to connect with some of the world’s leading publishers and gaming platforms.

Content creators, publishers, and advertisers work with Azerion to reach millions of people via its market-leading technology, advertising and gaming solutions. Founded in 2015 by two Dutch entrepreneurs, Azerion has experienced rapid expansion thanks to organic growth and strategic acquisitions. The company employs more than 900 employees across the world and is headquartered in Amsterdam, with 21 further offices across Europe including London, Paris, and Dusseldorf.