Publishers Will Be Judged on Their Ability to Connect Buyers with Sellers: Q&A with John Potter, Purch

Publishers are under pressure to continuously monetise their own inventory, as well as help advertisers justify their ad spend. ExchangeWire speak with John Potter, Chief Technology Officer, Purch, about how pubtech solutions can solve this problem and keep publishers ahead of the game.

ExchangeWire: How do Purch help customers connect content and commerce?

John Potter: By combining trusted content, product reviews, and services across our 25 brands, Purch enable purchasing decisions amongst our audience of buyers in both consumer and small- to medium-sized business markets. Purch’s proprietary publishing technology platform (pubtech) enables the rapid creation of high-quality, targeted content to create a seamless connection between high-intent buyers and performance-based sellers. Purch’s technology platform also optimises monetisation and profit, both internally and for third-party publishers, through our sophisticated ad-server and real-time bidding offering.

How can publishers rebalance their marketing mix outside of a brand marketing focus?

Publishers have traditionally relied on brand advertising, and brands tend to be overweighted in the marketing mix. The move to digital has triggered a shift to direct, affiliate, and performance marketing; and those are all the right moves to make as publishers rebalance their marketing mix. In addition, publishers need to look past capturing ‘eyeballs’ and monetisation through display ads/banners. Overall, we are moving to a world where publishers are going to be judged on their ability to connect buyers with sellers. Diversification includes customer acquisition through referrals and lead gen, native ads and native commerce, high-performance sponsored content, and mobile commerce and marketing.

What is the role of performance marketing in developing diverse revenue streams?

At Purch, we believe that internet advertising is fundamentally about performance. More and more pressure is being put on brand marketers to justify their ad spend and prove ROI through measurable statistics. Smart digital publishers must develop performance marketing solutions that connect buyers with sellers in measurable ways to address this changing landscape and to capture a key portion of brands’ overall marketing spend. It is yet another tool in our toolbox to enable our marketing partners to effectively reach our more than 100 million high-intent buyers and deliver a return on their investment.

Why is programmatic still important to publishers, even though it is often overvalued?

Programmatic is not going anywhere. The efficiency and automation of programmatic is the future of ad buying on the internet. That’s why it is key for publishers to create solutions that help level the playing field and ensure they are getting their fair share of programmatic revenue. Client-side header bidding was a first step towards this because it enables competition for programmatic impressions. However, header bidding has significant technical limitations on the amount of competition that it supports. That is why the market is moving toward server-side solutions, such as our Purch S2S (server-to-server) header bidding solution. These server-side solutions enable publishers to capture the true market value of their inventory.

John Potter, CTO, Purch

Why is pubtech integral to the publishing performance marketing model?

We believe it’s important for publishers to own this technology themselves, since that ensures the technology development is fully focused on raising yield for the publisher. For too long, the ad-tech playing field has been tilted against publishers. That’s why it is crucial for publishers to level it and why at Purch we have established ourselves as a leader in ad tech through our continued investment and innovation in processes, such as server-to-server bidding implementation. This represents a strategic move beyond header bidding. But, ad tech is just a small part of the larger pubtech portfolio. Publishers’ survival is about more than optimising yield. It’s about serving the user and optimising the entire page. Server-to-server bidding maximises the experience for both users and marketers by helping them find the right products, and delivering the right marketing messaging, regardless of whether that’s an IAB ad, affiliate link, video, or another element of the marketing mix.

How do you see pubtech evolving in the future?

Eventually, the publisher CMS and the ad server will merge into a single platform as martech and ad tech also become more integrated. We’ve already begun the work to directly integrate our advertising technology directly into our delivery platforms. This kind of deep integration will allow publishers to personalise both content and marketing messages in a unified way to maximise both yield and user satisfaction.