Helping Publishers Navigate in a Programmatic World

Content provided by Yield Executive Summit Sponsor, Operative.


Publishers contend with a lot of factors as they navigate programmatic advertising: How to choose the right demand partners, when and how to adopt new waterfall and header bidding strategies, how to make programmatic direct deals profitable, managing a ton of conditional metrics and measurement discrepancies. At the same time, they are faced with producing more revenue with too few resources.

What makes matters worse is that the ecosystem does not favor the publisher. Closed marketplaces are vertically integrated from trading desk to publisher inventory, creating black boxes. Ad tech companies are one-upping each other to get access to a publisher’s best audience first, creating overlap . Buyers are getting more and more sophisticated in RTB strategies, depressing yield. Data leakage risk increases with every new technology on publisher pages pages. Market transparency is non-existent.

For example, our client Outdoor Sportsman Group (OSG) was using programmatic partners to fill unsold inventory across its sites, but was unhappy with its return. Their strategy was the “set it and forget it” approach, which netted them only 2 percent of its total digital revenue from programmatic. The problem with that, programmatic accounted for 34 percent of OSG inventory. OSG also felt that it was sending too much of its inventory to programmatic channels, but was unsure how to increase yield. Similarly, another client of ours, Frankly, Inc. was unable to properly optimize programmatic bidding scenarios automatically or access the reporting they needed to improve programmatic performance.



Hint: It hasn’t been publishers and advertisers. The ad tech tax is real. Just look at revenue growth for the tech companies that are fueling this arms race. Neither advertisers nor publishers are meaningfully participating in this value creation.

The paradigm has got to change for publishers, and it can – with the right setup and partnerships. Since third parties aren’t built to support publishers in the programmatic market, publishers must take it upon themselves to create a more streamlined, profitable business, working with vendors and buyer partners that are transparent and aligned with publisher profitability. Publishers understand that programmatic is not automatic, and many complexities and manual processes make it difficult to advance, they need to focus on eliminating needless complexity just because the market pressures them to take IOs at face value.


For the last decade, we’ve brought control and transparency to our customers’ direct sales business through the Operative.One platform. Our publishers have the tools to drive yield and squeeze profitability through automation.

Now we’ve created Operative Compete to bring customers’ programmatic business under control. Additionally, Compete allows our customers to create transparency and drive up revenues through smart yield decisions done at scale using automation. Within two months of working with Operative, OSG realized a 114 percent increase in programmatic CPMs. Additionally, OSG was able to increase the amount of inventory it sold directly—from 66 percent to anywhere from 75 to 90 percent, depending on seasonality and programmatic availability. These improvements resulted in a 6 percent bottom line increase in digital revenue for the company. In short, we’re turning the tables back in favor of the publishers. To learn more about Operative’s solutions, please reach out to info [at] operative [dot] com.

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AppNexus Impact: an Open Platform for Doing Good

At AppNexus, we believe in our mission of making the internet a more open and equal engine of opportunity for businesses. Even so, we recognize there’s more to the world than meets the Web, and that true corporate responsibility can’t rest solely on driving greater revenue for customers.

While it’s true we live in an era of unimaginable technological opportunity, we also face environmental, economic and socio-political challenges that are, at least in many cases, without precedent. That’s why we decided to sign up for the Pledge 1% movement, a philanthropic alliance of global companies that have agreed to volunteer one percent of their annual work hours, equity or products to effect positive change in the world. In fact, we were the 500th company to sign onto a movement that now has over a thousand members.

Today, we’re making good on that pledge. We’ve formed an internal organization, AppNexus Impact, which aligns with AppNexus’ mission and values, supports our desire to make a bigger impact in the world and will accomplish the goals laid out by AppNexus when joining the Pledge 1% movement.

During the course of this week, more than 1,000 AppNexians across 16 global company offices – from New York to Sao Paulo to Singapore – will be devoting their time to causes that include providing food for the homeless, restoring neglected parks and natural habitats to their full beauty and donating school materials for economically-disadvantaged children.

Collectively, these efforts amount to over 8,000 work hours devoted to serving and succoring the people and places that need it the most. We hope to increase the number of hours in 2017.

AppNexus Impact reflects our longstanding vision as a company. In the same way we’ve built a technology platform that allows online buyers, sellers and users to profit through a virtuous cycle of openness and accountability, we’ve built a company that champions causes that we believe are of benefit to everyone.

AppNexus continues to sponsor organizations like Girls Who Code, Out in Tech, She’s the First and the New York’s Tech Talent Pipeline to create fairer opportunities in communities who haven’t always experienced fairness. We remain committed to funding internal AppNexian groups such as the AppNexus Women’s Network, OutNexus, the AppNexus Black Alliance, the AppNexus Latino Alliance and Sustainability AppNexus.

Much as our customers use AppNexus’ free and open platform to build their own businesses from, AppNexus employees use our company as an open platform to make good things happen, worldwide.

AppNexus Impact is the cornerstone of our commitment, as a company, to our society and planet.

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Improving Bidder Restart Times

I finished my first week at AppNexus a little overwhelmed and very nervous; the week-long crash course on the ad tech industry showed me how little I knew, and I wondered how I would contribute anything meaningful in 11 weeks. Nine weeks in, I’m more knowledgeable about the system my team owns, at least; but more importantly, I’ve realized that at its core, the problem I’ve solved is a widely acknowledged one: relaying event data from a central source to multiple applications, with transactional guarantees.

My project aimed to decrease restart times for Bidder,an application built Continue reading

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Five Reasons to Attend the 2016 Women’s Leadership Forum


The 2016 Women’s Leadership Forum takes place on Thursday, September 22 in New York. Here are five can’t-miss reasons why you should attend!

1. Learn Ways to Accelerate Your Career
In a series of high-tempo onstage sessions, guests will learn specific tools and techniques to help them accelerate their career. Topics include: navigating organizations through transformation, expanding your personal net worth, cultivating meaningful mentor relationships, how to leverage machine learning techniques to gain influence, and more. Download the agenda here.

2. Hear from World-Class Speakers
WLF 2016 will feature over 20 exceptional leaders, sharing their unique insights leading from the front lines of business today. Speakers include: Peggy Johnson, EVP, Business Development, Microsoft, Sallie Krawcheck, Chair, Ellevate Network, Katrina Craigwell, VP, Global Marketing Innovation, GE Digital, and Claudia Perlich, Chief Scientist, Dstillery. See the full lineup here.

3. Build Your Network
WLF will bring together over 200 women currently in, or aspiring to, leadership in the global digital community. Our networking breaks and post-event cocktail reception present a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with industry colleagues and friends, and foster new relationships!

4. Connect with the Community
Spend time with our amazing event partners to learn what they do and how you and your organization can get involved. These include: Advertising Women of New YorkEllevateGirls Who CodeTech:NYC, and the AppNexus Women’s Network.

5. Continue the Conversation
Last year’s WLF generated such positive discussion and feedback that we wanted to create a way to ensure those conversations continue long after the event. Join us on September 22 to learn how you can get involved with a new online community we’re building, as we invite you to share your own ideas around personal and professional growth for women leaders.

Can’t make it to New York? We’ll also be live streaming WLF from 2.00pm ET on September 22.

To learn more and request your invite, please visit

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Designing a Better Job Scheduler

AppNexus accumulates 170 terabytes of data a day. This is a ton of information that we can harness to better serve our clients – specifically, the advertisers who want to get the most of their money’s worth. The Optimization team is responsible for crunching the numbers to inform the Real-Time Platform team on how much to bid. The bid amount can be calculated based on the target spend amount, number of clicks, or percentage of auctions won, among other metrics. There are many pieces to this puzzle, which need to be recalculated periodically (as frequently as every few minutes) and are sent as batch jobs to a job scheduler to handle distributing the work among a cluster of machines.

My work this summer aimed to add several features to change the simple FIFO (first-in-first-out) scheduler to support dependencies, conflicts, priority Continue reading

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