Match.com Dating Sites Upping Optimization With STAQ

Match Ad OpsManaging multiple programmatic partners gets really complicated.

It’s even more complicated when you’re a conglomerate of dating sites, such as The Match Group, owner of Match.com, Tinder, OKCupid, BlackPeopleMeet and three dozen other dating platforms. You’re likely working with a good portion of the LUMAscape.

When Match.com senior manager of yield ops Konica Ghosh isn’t adding a new programmatic partner, reporting or trafficking ads, she’s optimizing to make sure the best-performing partner is on top.

Traditionally, this process required pulling performance data from multiple sources – the ad server and each partner – and then using Excel to figure out what CPM a partner was actually delivering by accounting for the fill rate and the discrepancy rate.

Then she would have to go back into the ad server, DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP), and update where each partner stood – which could include hundreds of line items for the different ways the Match.com sites sliced and diced inventory for partners.

Because partner optimization took a whole day, Match.com would do it on a weekly basis.

But that’s too slow in the world of real-time bidding. Numbers would get out of date, and Match.com would miss out on revenue.

About a year ago, Match.com became one of the first customers of STAQ, a technology platform that aims to combine all of the analytics data from a publisher’s different partners.

STAQ CEO James Curran started creating what looks like a meta-Excel spreadsheet three years ago and brought it to market a year and a half ago. With the technology, ad ops can see freshly cleansed and combined data in rows or in reports and graphs every morning.

Curran’s next goal was to allow the ad ops people to take action within STAQ, instead of returning to an individual platform like DFP to make a change.

Working with a unified system has taken hours of work off Ghosh’s plate. Instead of updating every week, she now optimizes daily.

“The CPMs we’re using in the ad server are a lot more accurate,” Ghosh said. Being able to quickly respond to changing market conditions “has directly impacted our revenue,” though she couldn’t share specifics.

The automation reduced the amount of manual errors made and freed her team for more interesting strategic work.

Now, Ghosh is focusing her attention on looking at larger performance trends around areas like viewability, performance by geo, demographic and ad size. She can identify pockets of high-value inventory and renegotiate rates for those spots.

Although the incredibly complicated web of partners that Ghosh deals with every day is one reason why some – including LUMAscape creator Terry Kawaja – call for increased consolidation in the industry, Ghosh isn’t holding her breath.

And neither is STAQ’s Curran. STAQ has 225 integrations, and Curran is betting his business that those won’t be whittled down, either through M&A activity or by publishers reducing the vendors they work with.

Plus, having multiple partners allows Match.com to work with all the players that can increase performance.

“We don’t want to get to a place where we’re working with 100 people who are each bringing in $100,” Ghosh said, “but we want partners that meet our performance standards and add value or unique demand.”


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1 Comment

  1. Staq sounds like a better version of Ad juster. But it seems that the market is moving towards less partners and fewer connections. Makes you wonder how these middleware vendors will fare.

    Reply

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