Demand sources/ display/ video/ native ads

Blog by the WhizzCo Team


What is the ideal number of demand sources for online publishers?


Demand sources

There is no one-size-fits-all answer.

Why is the number of demand sources important?

When your demand sources know you are working with others, it raises the competitiveness of their terms. They understand they have to try harder than if they are the only ones (except Google, which is so big that this is not an issue).

In other words, as ChatGPT told us when asked: Having multiple demand sources is generally beneficial for publishers as it helps diversify revenue streams and reduces dependency on a single source. Relying on multiple demand sources can provide stability and mitigate risks associated with fluctuations in advertising trends or changes in partner policies.

However, while having more demand sources means higher competition, fill rates, and revenue, it can also mean more time and effort spent managing them. This can be a lot of work so there is a clear cost-benefit tradeoff.

What is the work involved?

To start, publishers spend time negotiating and signing agreements with each demand source. Once active, each source has its own dashboard so unless you have a clever system that inputs, analyses, and compares the performance data from each source, this can be a near-impossible task.

To make the management of the different sources all the more challenging, they don’t use standard metrics, as we break down in What’s in a CPM.

Finally, each source has its own payment schedule, so more sources can mean more payments to track at best and chase at worst.

Breaking it down by ad type

The number of demand sources you will ideally use also depends on the ad types monetizing your domains – display, video, and native.

This is the most mature ad type (see our quick history of digital advertising) and allows programmatic bidding. Some large publishers and arbitrators will manage their header bidding in-house, but most work with a monetization partner like WhizzCo 360, Ezoic, Freestar, and many more.

The header bidding may include a long list of demand sources, but generally, 3-4 will make up 20% of the demand, and Google, which has a huge amount of demand in all geos, will fill in the rest. The non-Google demand sources often offer better RPM than Google but can’t give the fill rate, which is why we recommend having a complementary mix.

Since publishers are limited by Google compliance to one video player per article, the standard is to use only one vendor.

That said, when working with the WhizzCo platform, publishers can use more than one demand source. WhizzCo predicts the publisher’s video ad vendors’ bids for ad placements and then shows the “winning” vendor’s player and demand accordingly. This is in keeping with Google compliance.

Our optimization experts recommend most publishers work with at least three video ad vendors simultaneously. By working with multiple video ad vendors, publishers enjoy more competitive bids and fill rates, resulting in higher, more stable revenue.

When it comes to native advertising, most specifically content recommendation advertising, geography is a more significant factor. The larger the distribution of the website, the more vendors may be needed to meet the demand in all the represented geos. For example, one vendor may work well for a domain’s European demand and another for their demand in India. (See our listing of vendors per geo).

And like video, in the absence of header bidding for native, most publishers only use one native ad vendor. And also like video, when working with the WhizzCo platform, publishers can use more than one demand source with WhizzCo predicting and placing the best bid. Our optimization experts recommend using 3-4 vendors for each key geo when possible. All those vendors are managed on the WhizzCo platform, clearly demonstrated using standard metrics and a single payment.

The Survey

As we mentioned above, the ideal number of demand sources is unique to the publisher.

This is clear by the range of answers when we posted a poll on Reddit’s AdOps group asking how many demand sources they use. The Reddit poll illustrated below shows a majority with 10 or more demand sources. That sounds like a lot of work!


A single dashboard for all demand sources – display, video, and native

WhizzCo’s user-friendly, transparent dashboard with standard metrics for all native content recommendation and instream video vendors now includes display data and revenue reporting as well. Please get in touch if you would like more information or a demo.

display reports



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