Publisher Monetisation in the Privacy Era: Q&A with Rivr

Speaking exclusively to ExchangeWire on the ground at this year’s DMEXCO, Benjamin Hansz (pictured below), vice president of strategy, Rivr, discussed how publishers could optimise yield following privacy constrictions and browser developments.

What are the key options available for publishers to increase yield?

There are two main options, they can either buy it or they can build it. Many are in the habit of using analytics packages to understand what is going on, then making calls manually, however what we prefer at Simplaex is a more automated approach. This is programmatic, although when programmatic first started many confused it with automation, the more you can automate yield management the better. The options are numerous:you can do it yourself or you can outsource it, and in either of those cases it can either be done manually or automated. Personally I would venture for the outsourced-automated combination, however this completely down to the company ethos and culture.

How will Google’s shift to the first-price model affect publisher monetisation?
Ben Hansz

Benjamin Hansz, Vice President of Strategy, Rivr

For publisher monetisation I’m not sure it will affect it that much, although there is a lot of scaremongering out there as to what’s going to happen. Publishers are right to be worried when Google makes a change, particularly when they are not consulted, however as said I don’t think it will affect the publisher side of things that much. What I do think though is that it will have more of an effect from the advertiser side of things.

It is also symptomatic of what’s happening in the industry. If I was a publisher I would be doing all that I could to de-tangle from Google. The best number I’ve heard from a publisher I talked to this week is that they’re only receiving just 50% of the revenue from Google, most people are getting more like 70-80% of their revenue from Google. As a business you have to diversify your revenue, so I would be doing everything possible to do that. So while the change won’t affect publisher monetisation, its a symptom of the trend that any change Google decrees might affect their monetisation drastically, and by then it would be too late.

With the current privacy-bourne pressure on identity, what steps can publishers take to maximise revenue despite tracking restrictions?

There are restrictions on tracking, and there have been for years, and it’s a balancing act between the data you use and the tracking that you do. Tracking is not going to go away because ad tech relies on that heavily, yes there is contextual targeting but it’s proven not to be as effective. Despite this I would still focus on contextual in order to perfect it and minimise the loss of effectiveness.

I wouldn’t worry too much as I don’t think tracking is going to go away, although yes Safari and Chrome could instantly get rid of cookies and the ‘world comes to an end’, but I don’t think they will do that. Especially Google which gets the majority of their money from small to medium sized publishers and advertisers. These enterprises rely on something simple and effective, and that is tracking. Until some new methodology comes up that’s less invasive, there will be some form of tracking. What I would do is stay abreast of what’s going on currently, you have to be able to react, so the more knowledgeable and flexible you are the more effectively you will able to react.

What contextual solutions are available for publishers and how do these differ from those available in previous years?

The solution that we have built has a small amount of contextual ability built in, in order to continue optimising and to adapt to the changes made to Safari ITP, ad blocking users, and first-time users, etc. However like other providers it’s not our bread-and-butter, and it would be difficult to make it that way.

How can tech providers work with data protection authorities to reduce ambiguity in regulations such as GDPR?

More communication is definitely better. A year and a half ago everyone was flapping their wings about GDPR and saying it would be the end of the world. Communication helped with that scenario a lot as we had the ICC chairwoman come out and say we won’t be sending out the cops from day one, and that helped settle nerves a lot. Both parties should continue communicating, but let’s just admit that there is a certain level of personal data that needs to be shared in order for advertising to be effective. Advertising is a huge industry and it can’t just disappear overnight, so coming up with a win-win where both the industry and the regulators feel comfortable is essential.

It’s also important to remember that for the ad tech industry it’s good to have these regulations as it weeds out bad actors, and the less bad actors there are the better the rest of the industry looks.


Rivr is a new Audience Yield Manager, powered by Simplaex’s AI-backbone, that enables SSPs and publishers to progress to an audience-based performance model, delivering exponential value to both advertisers and publishers. Rivr is the first AI tech…
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