5 Ways to Maximize Ad Exchange Revenue

By Chris Sukornyk, CEO of Chango

The digital age has been challenging for publishers; while ad exchanges have made it easier to unload excess inventory, they've also driven down CPMs to such an extent that some publishing giants are building their own private exchanges.

Private exchanges only work for the big boys, and it's very hard for smaller publishers to unload their entire inventory through direct sales. As a result, ad exchanges are a necessary reality - but dismal CPMs don't have to be.

Publishers are losing money simply by the way they're setting up their real-time bidding (RTB) inventory.  Let's look at five tips that can help publishers maximize their ad exchange revenue right away:

1)   Avoid Ads Within iFrame Containers

Ads within iframe containers have grown popular thanks to their visual appeal, but they can cost you higher bids during the RTB process. A perfect example is this iframe ad on toptenreviews.com:

At Chango, we'd buy ads on this page all day long because it matches a keyword for a new Jive campaign we're running.

Unfortunately, thanks to the iframe, their ad exchange tag isn't passing along the URL of the site, which contains the relevant keywords and tells us this is a site we want to buy ads on. Instead, we see the URL of the ad unit, which lacks any relevant keywords: https://www.toptenreviews.com/scripts/servead.php

As a result, we don't bid on the ad at all.

2)   Fix the URL Structure of Your Search Results Page

Companies like ours want to pay a lot of money for ads targeted to people that search on your site, based on their search keywords. While they may have their reasons, some ad exchanges are robbing you of potentially higher eCPM's by stripping everything off the URL after the "?", depriving ad buyers of key information that fuels their bids.

So, if someone searches for "cars" on your SITE.com. The URL in the browser would show site.com?search=cars. But buyers on the RTB exchanges only see "site.com." That site is not nearly as relevant for us, and, as a result, we don't bother bidding.

3) Stop Being Anonymous

Making your site anonymous simply doesn't make any sense if you're looking to earn higher eCPMs from ad exchanges. If you don't reveal your domain name, very few ad buyers will bid on your inventory.

4) Keep It Standard

Agencies that we work with usually provide us with display ads in three different standard sizes, and that's what we have available when we're bidding for ad placements. If our ads don't fit your unit, we're probably not going to make the bid. So, if you want to maximize your ad exchange revenue, keep your units standard.

5) Make Direct Deals Easy

One of the best ways to maximize your ad revenue is to sell inventory through direct deals instead of exchanges. Some advertisers prefer to negotiate a private exchange deal to guarantee secured inventory, even if that means paying more than the going rate on exchanges. Make it easy for media planners to contact your ad sales staff, and make sure the direct sales process is smooth and easy - repeat customers pay huge dividends in the long run.

Chris Sukornyk is the CEO of the search retargeting platform provider Chango