"The Sell-Sider" is a new column written by the sell-side of the digital media community.
Michael Barrett is CEO of AdMeld, a publisher yield optimization company.Beyond monetization, premium publishers are looking for more than just technology to help them navigate the ad space. In an increasingly complex landscape, publishers want partners and advocates with expertise ranging from emerging sources of demand to data strategies to minimizing issues like cannibalization. Speaking of cannibalization, I had a recent conversation with a client in which he acknowledged the need for more efficiency in the industry but asked: “If I lean into exchanges whole-heartedly, will it turn my $0.50 remnant CPM into $3 (a good thing) or my $30 premium CPM into $3? (a not so good thing.)” We’ve heard it before, but this is a persistent and legitimate concern for top-tier publishers. Without their confident participation, the exchange model simply won’t deliver. I don’t think Google wants to help publishers strategize around these types of issues, and if they did, the inherent conflicts of also running an ad network would make it a difficult sell, even if those conflicts never actually came into play.
While some have speculated that Mountain View will come to dominate the exchange space, I think it’s an unlikely scenario. Google will find a way to play a meaningful role in display advertising, but as Darren Herman said in a recent post on this site, the industry has yet to see one platform in any segment (including PPC, Google’s core business) that meets everyone’s needs. Whatever happens with Google specifically, AdEx and similar platforms are spurring a new wave of innovation and competition that will make it a lot easier to transact display advertising inventory—and that’s a good thing for everyone. Forgive the industry-thought-piece cliché, but it really is an exciting time to be in this space.