Content Recommendation’s Tipping Point
MartechSeries, June 14, 2021 – History repeats itself, and WhizzCo CRO Bill Nolte shows where the native ad (content recommendation) space is heading, based on where all the other online ad channels have been.
For someone who has spent the last fifteen years working in the digital marketing ecosystem, as I consider the content recommendation market today, I am reminded of the Supply Side Platform (SSP) market circa 2010.
Then, publishers were dealing with a growing ad ops nightmare of managing the increasingly complicated supply-side operations, with more and more advertisers bidding on auctions that were increasingly being decided in real-time. Ultimately, most signed up with SSPs like my then employer PubMatic, still a leading SSP in 2021.
Today in the native/content recommendation space, publishers are either dealing with rigid and exclusive vendor contracts without a transparent understanding if the revenue generated is the highest possible. There isn’t one native/content recommendation provider that has all the advertisers and campaigns that are most aligned for a publisher’s specific audience. In the same way that the SSP led the way to better yield optimization and fewer ad ops headaches for publishers a decade ago, the content recommendation market is maturing and publishers are now ready for automated solutions to improve operations while increasing revenue and including additional ad quality standards, which is a priority.
A little-known secret: Content recommendation is one of the only digital ad channels where ads are not purchased via programmatic auctions (according to IPONWEB, 85% of digital ads are purchased programmatically). Perhaps it’s time for publishers to start benefiting from the real-time value of their content recommendation ad units which would be possible through programmatic bidding.
By opening up the content recommendation market to enable true competition, publishers could derive the benefits of a competitive market. They could receive a fair price for their online real estate based on open bidding as well as from additional sources of demand. This in turn would lead to more and higher quality demand, resulting in even greater revenue for publishers. This will be particularly relevant for niche content across a broader range of geographies, generating a significant lift for publishers.