Seller’s guide to success with automation

November 16, 2015
By Kaylie Smith

Ahead of the winter holidays, we interviewed and surveyed more than 1,000 publishers and app developers globally about where they’re seeing successes, challenges, and new opportunities to grow their businesses through automation. One astutely said, “In a couple of years, we won’t call it ‘programmatic’ – we’ll [just] call it ‘advertising.’”

The steady march toward complete overlap between automation and advertising was apparent from the survey responses: 80% of surveyed sellers said buyer demand has motivated them to offer inventory via automated/programmatic systems.

That demand for programmatic is expected to continue rising, and it’ll do so across a diverse array of formats and devices. This year alone, U.S. programmatic digital video ad spending is expected to more than triple, with an additional 76.4% growth projected for next year. Additionally, in 2015, U.S. programmatic ad spending on mobile is expected to surpass desktop for the first time, taking over 56% of programmatic ad expenditure.


And seller adoption of automation isn’t just about chasing demand. Automation enables sellers to more easily leverage first-party data to create differentiated ad products, increases operational efficiency, and gives them access to the cutting edge in ad formats that excite buyers and create great user experiences. But despite all indications that the demand for automation is significant and growing, we continue to encounter sellers who are not yet taking full advantage of the opportunities it affords. One of the primary reasons: many sellers still don’t feel knowledgeable enough about automation to make the transition. It’s a learning curve that sellers can best surmount with their technology partners’ help.

In “The Seller’s Guide to Success With Automation,” we explore three often under appreciated complexities of transitioning to automation.

1.Switching costs. A lot of human capital is required to make this transition. Sellers need technology partners that provide strong customer support, comprehensive customer education, and thoughtful transition planning in addition to their technology platform. All three of these services are necessary if publishers and app developers are to be empowered to take control of their data and offer the breadth of inventory types to their buyers using automation.

2.Channel conflict. A natural conflict can emerge when a new sales channel is developed within an organization. The best technology, tools and partnerships offer ways to quickly and systematically test, learn, and remove points of friction between sales and operations teams.

3.The learning curve. Everyone we surveyed said education is critical for achieving success with automation. Fifty percent of sellers reported that third-party research and case studies are highly useful for winning internal buy-in for programmatic, specifically when they demonstrate that combining programmatic and direct sales increases publisher yield.

Ninety percent of surveyed sellers said automation technology is key for increasing revenue; the incentive for sellers to automate digital ad sales, planning, and delivery is evident. With the right partners helping them along, the barriers to inventory expansion will continue to break down, and 2015 and 2016 will continue to produce happy buyers and sellers.

To learn more about how sellers can achieve success with automation, and how Rubicon Project can help, download our full white paper.


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