A Publisher's Dilemma

I've never felt as close to the plight of the publisher than I have these past two weeks. The only exception being that instead of dealing with one site, I am dealing with hundreds. As many of you know, we recently switched ad servers. There were over 6,000 ad tags to think of, new reporting structures and capabilities, different publisher content management systems - it was an orchestration to be sure and one that, even after very careful planning and long hours, at times dropped a note or two. The new ad server allows our publishers to truly segment their websites and understand better the behavior of the visitors to their sites. This information is key to extracting more value from a publisher's advertising inventory. But it does mean that publishers have to place different ad tags on different sections of their site and even different spots. We've seen huge differences in ad performance just between top and bottom positions. After being up to my ears in ad tags, I am intimately aware of how difficult it can be to implement this type of segmenting, especially if you don't have a full-time web master, but it will pay you dividends to take the time now to do it. As the advertising market gets tighter in this uncertain economy, finding new ways to extract value from your inventory will become more important. Consorte can help you do that if together we've planned for it from the beginning.

A harried week became even more stressful after one particular call from an advertiser. Consorte had won the business through the advertiser's agency and then the advertiser decided to reach out to us directly. Only, to my horror, to try and negotiate down the price of an ad buy. While I understand that an advertiser wants to achieve its goal at the best price, this particular advertiser was pushing the limits. To the point that when I asked what cpm he was thinking about, he replied $0.10 and I roared with laughter. What networks do is a delicate dance - how to match advertisers with the right publishers while balancing the value publishers see. It's close to impossible to make everyone happy all of the time. But we try. And that's why I laughed at the absurdity of this advertiser. Publishers have choice and I consider part of my job to provide them with more choice. The difficult thing is that as the advertising market gets tougher and budgets get pulled or tightened, it's going to narrow the choices. How do publishers navigate this? Frankly, by focusing even more on what they do best - driving traffic through premium content generation. Advertisers will always pay for quality content. Unsure of the quality of what you're producing? Take a look at your site's publisher report card on the Consorte Publisher Portal. Which you're already doing, right?

It's not easy being a publisher. And definitely not a publisher in a fast-changing, tough market. I had two tough weeks - I'm a rookie, comparatively, I realize. But if experience breeds empathy, I have nothing but empathy for our publishers. And lest you worry, we're working hard for you.