Under most configurations, it’s difficult for publishers to see how often a header partner is bidding and winning. Partners pick and choose what information to share, and the ad server only states who won and at what price, Rubenstein said.
SmartWrapper identifies how often partners bid and how often they win, helping publishers decide which partners are worth the latency they create, or if they should be removed or given a strict response time, Higgins said.
Publishers can limit partners that only bid during the first few page views of a user session on subsequent views so as not to wait on bid responses. Or they can tell partners how much to raise CPMs to increase their win rate.
SmartWrapper can also help publishers like Topix understand how long to wait for bids to come in. “If we know that 95% of the bids are in by one second, there’s no need to wait another second,” Rubenstein said. “We’ve cut down on load time for the partners.”
Going forward, SmartWrapper will have more “smart optimization” capabilities and analytics that enable publishers to manage partners and improve yield. An API to allow publishers to pull analytics into their own custom reporting interfaces will be ready next week.
SmartWrapper is one piece of a larger publisher tech platform Technorati is building, which will be dubbed Contango. The platform helps publishers with partner integration, management and optimization. But it will be a neutral third-party technology that doesn’t favor one demand source.
Despite many ad tech companies’ claims to work better when they get everything, the reality is that more competition generally gets better results for publishers.
“We have not had great success relying on one partner for everything,” said Topix’s Rubenstein. “We like a healthy ecosystem, and transparency to understand for what’s going on.”
The healthy ecosystem comes from multiple header bidding partners, and the transparency comes from adding in the SmartWrapper solution.
“We see ourselves as an extended tool to better manage [publishers’] DFP installation,” Higgins said. “Google does not benefit when [a header bidding partner like] Sonobi wins, they benefit when AdX wins, so they’re not going to build out the extra features that would make it more efficient for publishers.
“We figured we could solve for that, and give publishers additional insights and data.”