Thought Leadership

Programmatic for Publishers: 5 Myths Debunked

June 11, 2019
By Garrett McGrath

Reprogramming Programmatic Mythology

Publishers have been inundated with myths about programmatic selling: you can’t have full control over monetization, you need a dev team of engineers to manage header solutions, programmatic exchanges are inherently biasedjust to name a few.

Demand Manager uses Prebid technology to defy these myths, and offers an unprecedented solution to publishers — one that empowers them to take charge of their own programmatic destiny.

Programmatic Myth 1:  Publishers can’t have software-level control over monetization.

For some publishers, partnering up with a third-party vendor to manage their header solutions means giving up control over monetization decisions. This is no longer a necessary compromise.

Prebid presents a solution to this, affording publishers a transparent, open-source header bidding solution that puts publishers in the driver’s seat. With Prebid as a service, publishers win software-level control over their infrastructure.

Through Demand Manager’s easy-to-use UI, they can make changes to demand sources and inventory in minutes and access automated, data-driven insights that update in real time. This means publisher monetization teams can stop spending resources on internal development and focus on making fast, informed decisions to help them scale. Looking forward, we anticipate a fully programmatic world where managing your inventory is done in software and not in hardware and line items on an ad server.

Programmatic Myth 2:  One-point solutions are too good to be true.

In our often splintered ecosystem, doing business programmatically means integrating with a myriad of demand partners (and their piping) which can be a headache for publishers. If you have multiple types of formats and properties, you have to manage different stacks.

Prebid solves for this. As Prebid becomes mainstream, every publisher will be able to use it to support all formats, all the time.

To this end, Demand Manager integrates into Rubicon Project’s marketplace across all deal and inventory types. This ensures seamless integration with private marketplace and programmatic guaranteed deals that are increasingly essential to large publishers’ monetization efforts. Demand Manager also supports the continued growth of emerging inventory, from audio to DOOH.

Programmatic Myth 3:  Managed Solutions are Inherently Biased.

Some believe that if an exchange offers a service, it necessarily means the exchange would favor its own demand. This fear is understandable. Other exchanges set a precedent for this: many publishers don’t trust one exchange to run inventory in a neutral, fair way.

While there’s some truth in this concern, what some publishers aren’t considering is that open source solutions offer total visibility, and that a shift in business model is underway. Since Prebid can be audited down to the code level, any bias can be detected quickly and called out, giving publishers maximum transparency. Meanwhile, with Prebid as a service, buyers will be able to connect directly to publishers, reaching the right audience at the fairest price.

In this model, exchanges will no longer be the method by which publishers access demand, but will become service providers, offering tech hosting along with tools and consultation. This shift in model is happening now, and Rubicon Project is leading the charge as an independent, unbiased service provider, offering transparent solutions like Demand Manager in closed beta.

Programmatic Myth 4:  Open Source is Open, yet Technically Challenging.

Since we co-founded two years ago, the open source technology has

brought transparency, flexibility, and community-driven innovation to header bidding. Today, it’s the go-to independent standard used and trusted by thousands of global publishers and buyers.

Demand Manager supplies the same principle of collective ownership that Prebid brought to header bidding, made easy. We manage all the operational complexity, making open source as effortless as opting for a proprietary solution (while maintaining full transparency).

Meanwhile, clients can expect around-the-clock support from our Prebid and yield management experts. Publishers no longer need to choose between easy-to-use closed systems or complex open systems. Now, there’s a headache and hassle-free, open source option.

Programmatic Myth 5:  The Programmatic World is all about Technology.

The programmatic world has become synonymous with automation. Really, it’s still about people. Algorithms fuel programmatic transacting, but human beings are still necessary to “pull the levers,” gather data and improve processes.

With Demand Manager, we both implement and host code while delivering exceptional service, offering publishers responsive, end-to-end, live customer support. This makes all the difference. As more budgets transact programmatically, it’s key to remember programmatic technology is only as powerful and flexible as the human insights that drive it.

Take Back Control

Many misconceptions are flying around the ad tech universe. These are just a few, but if believed, they can hinder growth and revenue. Don’t let them hold you back from making the smartest decisions around monetizing your stack. With Demand Manager, Rubicon Project brings an unprecedented level of control and simplicity to header bidding, disproving these programmatic myths.

For more info about Demand Manager, reach out to us at


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