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One of the services we offer publishers is end to end management of ad stacks so they can focus on creating content, and we can apply our AdOps expertise to increase yield and revenue. However, optimizing DFP ad servers is critical for doing programmatic advertising well, and we often come across settings that have been incorrectly configured, are missing or have been forgotten altogether. This leads to missed revenue and monetization opportunities.

Here are three tips to prevent this from happening to you:

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Release that inventory! It’s an easy thing to forget. You’re setting up direct advertiser campaigns and, in the process of making updates, it turns out one of the campaign line items in DFP needs to be paused for some reason. The rest of the campaigns proceed but are not performing very well. This happens because while you may have paused campaigns that weren’t needed, you never released the inventory, which is a required and an additional step when pausing Sponsorship or Standard line item types, especially if you want the impressions allocated to the paused line item to be made available again in your DFP Network.

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Manage that yield! Optimizing your DFP ad network partners is a combination of art and science and, most importantly, yield management. Regardless of whether you prefer the more hands-on approach or are using a yield optimization technology solution to help, the goal should be to find the CPM range and inventory allocation that drives optimal yield from each of your ad network partners. A critical element of optimization is paying attention to performance over time and learning what impacts your average eCPM and revenue. An ideal way to do this is by implementing an A/B testing strategy and adjusting the rate or value CPM of the line item campaigns in DFP for each network partner until you find the yield “sweet spot” for each. Seasonal or event-driven traffic patterns and any significant updates made to your site’s content are also important factors to take into account.  While time-consuming at first, putting a little extra effort into yield management of your DFP Network will pay off with better revenue and more consistent market valuation of your inventory.

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Segment that inventory! It’s a common mistake to approach ad operations with a “set it and forget it” mentality. Once you’ve got your DFP in a good place and have a handful of partners bidding on your inventory across a variety of channels, you can focus your attention elsewhere, right? Wrong! Let’s use the following example, which reflects what many publishers are doing. 

A publisher is using a “wrapper” header bidding solution with 10 bidders integrated into that header auction.  Sometimes the publisher also has legacy post-header bidding waterfall line items in their DFP. After an initial boost from the header auction activity, the publisher starts to see CPMs and ad performance plateau or even drop.

What happened? A likely reason is that by merely adding more ad requests sent to buyers from your website, over time, those buyers (or Demand Side Platforms) have normalized their buying of your inventory via machine learning and other buy-side optimization strategies like Supply Path Optimization (SPO). Their goal is to minimize duplicate buying of your inventory via multiple bidding channels. This can often come as a surprise to publishers who follow the approach of adding as many partners as possible to bid on their demand, assuming that the more competition for their inventory, the better. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. To counteract this, it’s worth considering a strategy to segment and differentiates which ad networks are in which channels targeting specific CPM price tiers. This could mean testing having six bidders in the header with the goal of establishing premium CPM-tier programmatic ad buys and having the other four bidders in the post-header-bidding waterfall, targeting CPMs below the header bidding average. While there is no silver bullet solution, being able to segment your inventory by ad partners, ad tech platforms and bidding channels can be a great way to improve your site monetization.


Want help setting-up, cleaning-up and optimizing your DFP? The Sovrn Services team is here to help! We offer flexible DFP consulting and training packages that are customized to your unique needs. Learn more about this service or contact a Services Representative today.


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