How to optimise your supply path in four steps: A guide for buyers

Posted on: Monday 02 December 2019 | Emma Newman - Chief Revenue Officer, PubMatic

From internal assessment to ongoing optimisation, find out how buyers can optimise the supply path with top tips from PubMatic’s Emma Newman

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The growth of programmatic media buying and the ever-increasing inventory landscape is prompting many in our industry to call for more transparency in the hope it will lead to greater efficiency with ad budgets. Supply path optimisation (SPO) has become a hot topic recently and with good reason, but what is it and how can it help our industry?

SPO refers to an evaluation process of media buying. It allows buyers to assess the effectiveness of their supply side partners (SSP) and identify opportunities for more transparency and innovation for their bidding processes.

With these benefits in mind, and based on PubMatic’s research, here’s a guide to SPO in four steps for buyers:

1. Internal Assessment

The first step is to undertake an internal audit to understand how things are working currently. This initial step will help you understand the answers to key questions such as: How many SSPs are you buying through? Where are the majority of impressions coming from? Are you buying specific inventory through specific SSPs? If so, why?

Tip: Be as specific as possible
The insights gained here are important as they will be the early identifiers of to your eventual SPO goals.

2. SSP Evaluation

Once the internal assessment is complete, it’s time to look at the SSPs you’re working with. Evaluating your SSP partners is an important step – it allows you to understand the differences between your supply partners, measure their willingness to share data and quantify any special or unique values that set them apart.

Tip: Measure equally
This will ensure you arrive at any unique selling points fairly.

3. SSP Consolidation

The data and insights gained by this stage can be used to inform your consolidation strategy. Consolidation is what will ensure greater efficiency as you will be greenlighting and only working with the SSPs that you have identified as having the potential to be long-term partners.

Tip: Relationships are key
As a buyer you want to be able to inform your DSP which SSPs you want to work with and the strength of your relationship will ensure greater collaboration here.

4. Ongoing Optimisation 

We work in a constantly evolving industry and therefore it is normal that your SPO strategy will also evolve. Learning as the process evolves is essential to ensure that your chosen SPO path continues to deliver against your goals. This is why it’s important to choose SSP partners that will work in partnership to meet your changing requirements.

Tip: Remain flexible
Continue to monitor your progress and also your performance against key metrics. While building and maintaining relationships with your chosen SSPs is likely first priority, don’t forget to consistently appraise your SPO over the long-term.

Find out more about SPO optimisation by downloading PubMatic’s report, ‘The State of Supply Path Optimisation: Progress and Impact in the UK’ here.

Written by

Emma Newman

Chief Revenue Officer, PubMatic

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