Holistic Yield Platforms and the myth of greater efficiency

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The increased programmatic budgets and rise of ad-blockers have forced the ad-tech industry to sell inventory more efficiently. Publishers are concerned about losing traffic to Facebook (and others) and are adopting tools to stop the tide and “become more efficient.”

In a technology-oriented, fast-paced industry like ours, efficiency means technology. And the push for new technology is how the Holistic Yield Management platforms came into being.

Whether we call it Holistic Yield Management (HYM), a Full Stack solution, or just an advanced SSP, the basic idea is to offer publishers a one-stop-shop to manage both traditional and programmatic ad sales and yield.

By offering Reporting, Waterfalls, Clients CRM, Ad Server, DMP, HB (Header Bidding) and other components under one roof, HYM platforms are intended to maximize revenue while minimizing human power. But do they?

HYM providers claim the following benefits:

  1. More effective campaign monitoring and forecasting
  2. Better control over the demand mix
  3. Optimal consumer targeting
  4. Single view across inventory, sales channels, and platforms
  5. Unbiased, streamlined ad decisioning
  6. Comprehensive data insights
  7. Single platform management with associated cost savings

Publishers, who are under mounting financial pressure, may find this appealing. But they would be wise to ask themselves the following questions first:

  • Do we really understand the programmatic ecosystem?
  • Given that HYM platforms lean more towards programmatic – what is driving more revenue to my publication – traditional direct or programmatic?
  • Can we maintain the same amount of human power while utilizing these platforms?
  • Is the HYM not actually more complex, driving greater inefficiencies?
  • Are these HYM platforms fully agnostic? How do I make sure that I don’t depend on one platform?
  • Could it be that a HYM is simply a fancy name for a more complex SSP (that simply charges me more for a similar service)?

It seems to me that many HYM companies benefit more from this approach than the publisher itself.

The jury is still out, as this industry often evolves faster even than those of us in it. Decision makers need to move fast, and at the same time be brave enough to slow down, say no to certain sexy trends and get to the bottom of such a move.

Yes, technology is a key element in this space. Data-driven campaigns will be a standard, and programmatic might be the default. But does building new platforms add complexity or efficiency?

Facebook managed to such much of the oxygen out of the publisher space. Especially now, hurting the publishers would be like contaminating the last bit oxygen left, affecting the entire advertising ecosystem.

Simply put, while efficiency and technology are key, technology should make a publisher’s lives easier. Publishers should say thanks but no thanks to anything that adds complexity, and KISS (keep it simple, stupid!)