Ad Ops Doesn’t Have To Be Scary

Halloween has traditionally been the scariest day of the year. Skeletons, ghosts, goblins and witches roam the streets, creating mischief and chaos. While we're grateful that we only have Halloween once a year, many ad ops professionals run into different kinds of demons every day. Ad blockers, ad networks, and low CPMs haunt ad ops folks all year round. But ad ops doesn't have to be scary. Sortable can help you manage the things that keep you up at night. Except the monster under your bed - we can't help with that.

Ad Blockers

Ad blockers are the guy on your street who turns out his lights on Halloween. Ad blockers filter out the content users don't want to see by targeting offensive domains, keywords and ad formats, and rendering the page as if the ads aren't there. Ads equal revenue to publishers and, much like the curmudgeonly neighbor, ad blockers are raining on the parade. To make things worse, AdBlock looks to charge publishers and vendors for the right to advertise. It's a lose-lose proposition, and publishers are not happy.

The largest ad blocking software available online, AdBlock Plus (ABP), blocks almost everything by default, regardless of the content or relevance.

There are ways to get around ad blockers. ABP, for example, accepts applications from publishers who meet certain criteria. Once ABP agrees, the publisher must pass a community review of their whitelist request and agree to stay in compliance going forward. However, only a fraction of applicants have been approved to date and, again, you're likely to get charged for the privilege.

The best way to mitigate the impact of ad blockers on your website is to ensure that the ads contain contextually relevant and engaging content for your visitors. Ads shouldn't be intrusive or disruptive, and publishers need to take a hard stance on maintaining the quality of ads on their sites. It doesn't hurt to remind your visitors that ads generate the revenue to maintain your website, and allow you to focus on creating great content.

If you're concerned about ad blockers, we have recently developed a tool to detect whether users have ad blockers enabled, and we would be happy to conduct an assessment on your site to help you understand the scope of the adblock problem for your visitors.

Working with Ad Networks

Most smaller publishers are only running one ad network, with Google AdSense being the most popular. They understand that using multiple ad networks will increase bid pressure and thus drive up ad revenue. However, many publishers lack the experience to handle such an elaborate ad stack. So they simply hard code AdSense and hope for the best, knowing that they're missing out on the increased revenue associated with multiple networks.

Imagine you're taking your kid out trick or treating. Getting him dressed and organized, taking him from house to house and making sure you don't lose him is easy enough. But if you add a few more kids to the mix, it gets a little more complicated. Sortable is like the awesome neighbor who volunteers to take all the neighborhood kids out for the evening. He keeps track of all the kids, makes sure no one gets lost, and takes the kids to all the houses that give out the most generous helpings. You get to enjoy the benefits (candy!) without doing any of the heavy lifting.

Low CPMs

The top concern for publishers is revenue. Ad ops professionals are always looking for ways to maximize CPMs for their sites, and often work with multiple partners to achieve revenue targets. But working with multiple demand partners can be risky.

Imagine you're going door-to-door on Halloween night. You can only take candy from one house, and you can't go back to a house once you've been. Do you accept what looks like a great piece of candy, even though it isn't your favorite? Or do you keep going and take the chance that the next house will have something better?

That's what it's like working with multiple demand partners. As your inventory moves through your waterfall, you often end up with a lower CPM than you would have earlier. Sortable can help with that - we analyze hundreds of millions of impressions each day and machine learning allows our ad engine to predict what impressions will perform best under specific circumstances. Imagine you're looking at a row of houses, trying to figure out which one is giving out the candy you want. Now imagine there's a giant sign over a house, that says PICK THIS ONE! That's what Sortable can do for you.

Ad ops doesn't have to be scary. We at Sortable are publishers too, so we understand the challenges you face on a daily basis. Ads suck. We're trying to make them suck less.