Case Study

The Value of Coupling a Zero Take-Rate with Direct Demand

Sovrn Communications // November 6, 2023

Today’s programmatic marketplace is unnecessarily complex, creating an online experience cluttered with ads that decreases the value of marketers’ ad spend while diverting revenue from publishers’ pockets. In fact, a recent study found that less than 65 percent of advertising dollars ever reach the publisher. Connecting buyers directly to publishers has potential benefits for both the buy-side and the sell-side of the advertising equation. 

To counter these issues, Sovrn recently tested a more direct supply path, coupled with a no take rate pricing model, that eliminates inefficiencies, reduces fees, and boosts revenue for publishers. Early results indicate this unique bundled solution has the potential to transform outcomes, not only delivering an increase in revenue to publishers via the Sovrn Ad Exchange path, but a more competitive auction across all demand partners. 

Zero take rate plus direct supply path

In December 2022, the Sovrn Ad Management team began testing the impact of a unique model, one that offered a zero take-rate path between a publisher and the more than 55+ demand-side platforms (DSPs) on the Sovrn Exchange. The goal was to demonstrate that a bundled solution would improve efficiency for buyers while ensuring higher ad yields for publishers. 

Sovrn tested the efficacy of this model with 105 Ad Management publishers, including,, Ask Media Group, and, among others, by sending their supply — unburdened by a take rate —via the Sovrn Ad Exchange directly to Sovrn’s demand partners, from The Trade Desk to niche ad agencies. 

The test revealed promising outcomes, including:

  • Improved efficiency for buyers
  • A more competitive auction environment
  • Increased yield for publishers
  • Higher allocation of ad spend via the direct-to-publisher path

This test provided proof of the potential influence of bundling Sovrn Ad Management and Exchange together, demonstrating that a direct, zero take-rate path to demand model delivers clear revenue benefits for publishers while improving efficiency for buyers.

35% ↑

Average increase in net revenue earned through the Sovrn Exchange


Increase in publisher share of advertising spend


Increase in buyer participation rate

Testing proved the bundled offering and direct-to-demand path makes Sovrn Ad Management a more efficient option for ad buyers. This improved efficiency resulted in increased bidding activity by the majority of demand partners (DSPs) during the test period, and an average bid rate increase of 20% across the board. Through optimizing this supply path, Sovrn ensures that buyers prioritize this path over less efficient points of access — thus increasing visibility for Ad Management publishers. 

Revenue impact

The direct-to-demand path, coupled with the usage-based pricing structure Ad Management offers, has the potential to transform revenue outcomes for publishers. Test data showed a 35% average increase in net revenue earned through the Sovrn Exchange and an increase of 16% in their share of advertising spend.

Throughout the test period, buyers allocated more of their ad spend to publishers through Sovrn’s efficient, direct-to-publisher path, who experienced a 67% higher win rate, on average.

Auction environment

Finally, testing demonstrated that the bundled, direct-to-demand model drives higher yield for publishers across their entire stack of demand partners, even when bids sent via the Sovrn Ad Exchange did not result in impression wins. This is because a direct, zero-take rate path between publishers and ad buyers creates a more competitive auction environment and increases pricing pressure on other bidders — including Google AdX. A bundled, direct-to-demand model incentivizes more bidding and exerts an upward pressure on price floors — both of which directly benefit publishers. This resulted in the Sovrn Exchange the top demand source for Ad Management publishers, second only to Google’s AdX. 

Ready to get started?

Built for ad ops professionals, Sovrn Ad Management delivers the ability to optimize performance, drive more revenue, and quickly respond with real-time data. With robust, enterprise-level tools and efficient, proprietary header-bidding technology, Ad Management ensures ad ops teams can easily optimize ad placement, increase yield and fill rates, and maximize ad value. Additionally, since Sovrn Ad Management leverages a usage-based fee structure instead of a revenue share, publishers keep more of their hard-won earnings. 

To learn more about Ad Management, visit or Request a Demo. Our team will be happy to demonstrate how we can help you get the most out of your advertising program.

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