Risks and Dangers of Programmatic Advertising for Publishers

February 18, 2022

In our blog, we tend to mostly talk about the advantages and benefits of programmatic advertising solutions. Which are indeed a plenty, and we are not lying when saying that programmatic advertising is an extremely powerful technology able to fuel an explosive ad revenue growth. 

That being said, we don’t want to make an impression that it’s all unicorns and rainbows. Programmatic advertising certainly does have its share of pitfalls and dragons, if we may call all the issues associated with it this way. 

Speaking of those, it feels like we should dive deeper into this topic. Here are some of the most common risks and dangers of programmatic advertising that publishers tend to encounter these days. This is based on our own survey of several dozens of web publishers, as well as general market research. 


Technical difficulties 


First thing you should realize is that programmatic advertising is a technology. Like with any technology, it requires some time and effort in order to be adopted. The amount of time and effort may vary depending on how good you are with new technologies, your needs, what skills you have, and which specific programmatic tools you choose to utilize. The absolute majority of publishers tend to encounter technical difficulties when they first start to implement programmatic advertising into their operations. And in most cases, technical issues will continue to arise with varying frequency on a constant basis, be it difficulties with implementing certain ad formats, adjusting programmatic ad platforms in accordance with individual needs or properly utilizing specific tools. This can become a great challenge if you are not ready for it. 


High middle-man fees 


Even though programmatic solutions have emerged as the way to minimize the number of intermediaries allowing publishers and advertisers to deal with each other directly, this field is still full of middlemen. Which shouldn’t be surprising as such rapidly growing and exploding tech ecosystems aways do. Naturally, programmatic advertising middlemen, such as SSPs and DSPs, ad networks and agencies, can be very different from each other. They all charge fees for their services, but the size of fees can vary significantly. For publishers, this means that making a wrong choice of an intermediary solution may result in operating on the terms that are far from being favorable. When middleman fees are too high, publisher’s ad revenues will naturally suffer. So make sure you are not overpaying the middleman when choosing a programmatic platform to work with. 


Too little focus on user targeting 


After programming advertising technologies are implemented, it is not untypical for many publishers to focus on using these platforms to grow ad revenues by maximizing ad sales. Both through extending ad inventory (adding new types of ad formats) and by making sure that as many user page views as possible are monetized. Doing that, however, they tend to overlook the powers of programmatic solutions in user targeting. High quality targeting can be a great way to increase your RPM and other core metrics. This is why it is advisable to choose programmatic platforms and tools that are able to provide publisher’s inventory buyers with truly high-level advanced targeting opportunities for higher value. 


Lack of consistent measurement and data collection 


And in order for high-precise user targeting to be possible, you need data. Publishers who neglect the importance of establishing consistent measurements and data collection across all their programmatic advertising processes face considerably more risks (with worse consequences too) compared to those who don’t. Collecting data and being able to analyze it, on the other hand, can provide publishers with actionable information and insights about their audience, ad viewability, ad inventory performance and a thousand other valuable things. Having all that information allows publishers to react to the changing market environment much quicker while also being better protected from various risks and dangers. 


Low ad viewability


One potential problem that a publisher might not be aware of for quite long without collecting and analyzing data is low ad viewability. Which is the issue we devoted a separate article to previously. Ad viewability measures how visible the ads are to the audience of a website or mobile app. According to the standard by IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), in order for an ad to be considered as viewed, at least 50% of it must be in view for a minimum of one second for display ads or two seconds for video ads. Today advertisers are more inclined to demand that ad suppliers should apply ad viewability principles when measuring the ad views. This separates the number of actually viewed ads from the total number of served impressions. 


Putting all eggs in one basket when choosing programmatic solutions


Another risky thing, which can end up being costly for an advertiser, is putting all eggs in one basket. Or, in other words, sticking to just one programmatic advertising platform and solution. Programmatic advertising includes a huge selection of various solutions and technologies. And to really benefit from it, you need to try and test different options, identifying the ones that suit your needs and requirements best. Unfortunately, many publishers are very limited in the amount of time and energy they are able to spend on implementing programmatic solutions. As a result, often they just stick to the one they implemented first or the one that seemed the most relevant to begin with. In order to avoid a multitude of risks associated with relying on just one platform, it is advisable to use at least two or three at the same time. 


Final thoughts


Don’t have time to sort through different programmatic advertising platforms and test multiple related tools to find the one that will allow your web properties to deliver highest ad revenues? Outsource this headache along with all the other challenging aspects of your ad operations to professionals with proven expertise in the ad tech field. 

This is us! The pubGENIUS team consists of highly experienced specialists who are well-versed in the best practices and trends of the industry. We know how to utilize innovative technologies and ad unit types to optimize websites for individual publishers. We will make sure that your web properties are using the most relevant monetization methods and your ad inventory is set up and operating with maximum capacity at all times. 


Get in touch with pubGENIUS Team to get free consultation 🙂