The Programmatic Primer: Publishers in the online advertising ecosystem

This article is part of The Programmatic Primer, Warc's essential guide for advertisers to the latest online advertising techniques. The report includes detailed advice on how to work with companies in the online advertising ecosystem, plus use cases of programmatic in action. View a PDF version.

Need to know: Publishers

  • It's harder and harder to define a publisher. Put simply, the publisher is the party who owns the domain that a consumer visited, but in reality there may be several layers of ownership of a given web page.
  • The online advertising ecosystem is driven by a supply signal created by a browser rendering a page containing a call to an ad server. The inventory will perish in 100 milliseconds, the time it takes a browser to paint (render) a page.
  • For the buyer, it is important to understand who you are buying from, and what they have the right to do with your creative.
  • For the advertiser, the question is: "how much does context make a difference in persuasion?" Ask any publisher if your impressions will be from visits to their own sites and use a tracking tool to see where your impressions are really going.
  • What's 'good for an advertiser is to get the right attention from the right reach.
  • Yield is the amount of margin a publisher makes from an impression. Most big publishers have yield management organizations. They try to make sure that the inventory, as it becomes available, is sold to the buyer who will pay the most for it.
  • Publishers are both excited about, and fearful of, ecosystem buying. On the one hand, it gives them options to serve advertisers, and on the other it gives buyers the ability to bid only for the consumer they want, with or without regard for context.