In previous articles, we have demonstrated how speed creates scale, how scale drives performance, how both speed and scale can reduce media cost, and how you can generate 50% more efficiency in your campaigns by using your existing strategy and simply changing your pre-bid targeting, contextual, or brand safety solution.
This article focuses on why you should continue to use a post-buy verification provider, and why you shouldn’t use that provider as your pre-bid solution.
Verification providers deliver a tremendous amount of value to advertisers looking to ensure that they only pay for real users that have seen their ads in a brand-safe and suitable environment. They exist to verify that what the advertiser bought is the same as what the advertiser received.
Somewhere along the way these companies moved from verification to selling data. This creates a conflict of interest, because they now grade their own homework. At the same time, having similar technology that understands a webpage does not mean that they are proficient as a pre-bid data provider.
As a pre-bid provider, Peer39 has made the conscious decision not to offer verification solutions even though we offer pre-bid brand safety. We have made this decision for a number of reasons.
Primary among them is that it’s a very different business with different technology, costs, and support structures. It might seem logical that a company that is good at one would be good at the other, but both capabilities require a lot of technical expertise and very different infrastructure.
The verification providers do offer pre bid-targeting through the various DSPs however, as we have described in this series, not all technology has the same capabilities.
Beware of contextual technology addons
Context is a significant ingredient in understanding brand safety and suitability. All of the verification providers need some technology to understand context to support their brand safety reporting. They have either built this, rented it, or bought it.
In recent times we have seen two of the most popular verification companies buy other companies for their contextual capabilities, however, neither of these acquired companies were pre-bid data providers. This is important, because there is a lot of technology required to support a pre-bid environment with contextual signals. It’s not just about the technology to understand the meaning and sentiment of webpages — it’s about the ability to do that at scale. Processing the hundreds of billions of bid requests and doing so quickly gives advertisers the most scale available for their campaigns.
As a contextual solution, supporting publishers is fairly trivial as it relates to scale. The average publisher has tens of millions of page views on a monthly basis. Large publishers may have a billion page views per month, but those are people coming to one site, or a group of owned and operated sites. The actual number of URLs produced on a monthly basis is a fraction of the total pageviews.
Processing the URLs of some publisher accounts is not the same as processing 1.3 billion pages on a daily basis through the real time channels.
The speed factor
The process of understanding a web page after the ad has been delivered is very different than understanding the page before an advertiser bids or buys the impression. With verification, the verification provider has approximately 24 hours to review URLs and produce their reports for advertisers to review by the following day. There is no need to be faster for this use case.
When verification providers decided to sell data in pre-bid, they took on the task of populating a cache for the DSP to call. If the tech provider is leveraging its existing technology, then it is likely populating a cache based on the impressions they have already processed, and that can be 24 hours later than the impression currently up for auction.
In some platforms, it is even documented that when you build something new like a KW category, it could take 24 hours for the insights to be available for targeting.
The scale factor
The scale of impressions in verification that need evaluation are also significantly smaller than what you would see in a pre-bid targeting environment.
Consider this: a DSP is evaluating hundreds of billions of impressions, or bid requests, each day so that advertisers can bid and buy the impressions they want. Advertisers have daily budgets that help them to plan out how many users they will reach with each creative message.
The largest advertisers are only buying a fraction of what is available to them. But the DSP is evaluating every single impression so that it can give advertisers the best opportunity to find their target audience and deliver their ads.
Verification providers, by nature of where they sit in the process, are evaluating what has already been bought by their advertiser clients, which is far less volume than the DSP is seeing.
Avoid layering providers
We run into a lot of advertisers that will choose one provider for context or keywords, but will still use their verification provider for pre-bid brand safety. We just explained how speed and scale will help drive performance and efficiency. There is one other major problem. When you choose a provider that lacks maximum scale, you are limited to the scale that they do have, even if you are also targeting-based on a data provider that has scale.
Consider this: If you are retargeting based on shopping carts on an e-commerce site, the universe of available impressions is restricted to those users who were in the shopping cart at one point. The same is true of Context and Safety, and scale limits what a data provider can say about an impression.
You can target a custom keyword list for travel with one provider and use another provider to keep you off of pages with negative associations, such as “accidents.” But when you do this, both providers play a role in restricting the available inventory. If one provider processes fewer URLs then the other, or takes more time to produce a result, then the available inventory — and the number of ads you ultimately serve — is restricted by the smaller provider.
As a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, your scale will only be as big as your smallest provider in pre-bid programmatic advertising.
Choose an expert in pre-bid targeting
With this series, we hope we have provided a real understanding of what it takes to provide a pre-bid targeting, contextual, and brand safety solution, and how these solutions are very different from one partner to another
Peer39 was the first to integrate our technology into real-time bidding environments in 2010, and since then we have scaled our technology and capabilities at the same rate that RTB grew. We’ve gone from 1 billion bid requests in 2010 to more than 750 billion requests per day across all of our integrated partners, and we now process over 1.3 billion unique pages per day.
Technology partners can’t just go and buy a publisher solution that deals with tens of millions of publisher pages and plug it into pre-bid. It won’t scale, and picking the wrong provider means that your advertising won’t scale either.
Peer39 is pre-bid targeting only. We are the best at it.
By choosing Peer39, you are not replacing your brand safety and verification provider, you are making that relationship better by ensuring you are able to buy more media at scale.
You can, and should, continue to use your post-buy verification providers, but it is unwise to think that because they are great at verification, that they would be great at pre-bid. d
Other articles to read in this series:
- Why speed is important in a pre-bid targeting, contextual, or brand safety solution
- Why scale is important in a pre-bid targeting, contextual, or brand safety solution
- Why speed and scale can reduce media cost in a pre-bid targeting, contextual, or brand safety solution
- How you can achieve 50% more efficiency with pre-bid targeting, contextual, or brand safety
- Why you should continue to use a post-buy verification solution, just not for pre-bid targeting