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It was during the 2015 IAB Ad Operations Summit that Jonathan Bellack, Director of Product Management DoubleClick, first introduced the new feature called DoubleClick for Publishers First Look. It was still in the testing phase then – but now, almost a year later, many different publishers across the globe have implemented First Look and are reaping the benefits.

Yet some others are still hesitant. Because what is First Look exactly? What are the risks? And is it really worth it? If you’re asking yourself these questions, then this article is for you. Putting our publishers’ most frequently asked questions in a row, we’re hoping to answer some of yours as well.

What is DFP First Look?

Through DFP First Look, publishers can give (selected) Ad Exchange buyers access to inventory that is actually reserved for DFP guaranteed line items. Of course, in return for the opportunity to purchase these impressions over the premium DFP campaigns, a higher price needs to be paid.

How easy is it to set up?

Very easy. Make sure you allow for Dynamic Allocation within the Admin settings of your DFP account, and set your First Look pricing rules up in AdX (under ‘Rules’).

So how guaranteed are DFP ‘guaranteed’ campaigns really?

This is up to you. You can choose to in- or exclude your Sponsorship line items from participating in First Look. Also, by setting a high floor price, only the bids that meet this minimum will be successful. This means that if you set your floor price correctly, your fill rate through First Look will stay low and your guaranteed campaigns will still deliver.

So is it really worth it?

Despite the low fill rate that you’ll get through First Look (if set up correctly), the overall revenue increase can be quite significant due to the high CPM. A low fill rate is usually not optimal as it indicates a high number of blanks, however in this case any impressions that are not filled by First Look buyers will be filled by DFP premium campaigns. Nothing gained, nothing lost. If the impression is filled through First Look, the high CPM makes up for the ‘loss’ of impression for the DFP premium campaign.

Any disadvantages? How does this affect the latency, limitations, control and protection? What about the risk?

As long as the setup is done correctly, there are no downsides, just the benefit of increased revenue. Importantly, DFP First Look “creates zero-added latency, …works across all channels and formats”, and “since First Look is part of the DoubleClick AdExchange”, the publisher does not “lose any of the controls and protections … like creative review, category blocking, or malware protection.”

The risk, in other words, is entirely up to you as the publisher. If your Sponsorship campaigns need to remain ‘guaranteed’ and continue to take all available impressions, then you can simply tick the box to “exclude First Look from 100% sponsorships”.

If you wants to make sure that the performance of their premium DFP campaigns will not be jeopardised, the First Look floor price can be set really high and lowered at a later stage, when it becomes clear when the optimal floor price has been achieved.

And how does it work in practice?

For example, Publisher X has a few Standard and Sponsorship campaigns booked in their DFP account. The highest CPM for the Standard campaigns is set at $2 and he’d be happy to give up these impressions to AdX buyers if they’d be willing to pay three times as much. The Sponsorship campaign, on the other hand, is a very important deal with an advertiser who wants exclusive access to their homepage.

Publisher X now sets up his First Look pricing rules (a) to exclude the homepage ad unit to ensure no impressions are taken from the Sponsorship campaign and (b) with a floor price of $6 so that only buyers that bid more than this will be able to buy the impression over the Standard DFP campaigns.

In addition, the publisher can also tick the box in DFP to “exclude First Look from 100% sponsorships” to make sure any other Sponsorship campaigns that will be booked in the future, will also not be able to compete with First Look. Through the DFP and AdX Query Tools, the publisher can check on the performance of First Look and make adjustments to the rules if needed.

How do I determine the First Look floor price?

Start with a CPM that is at least 10% higher than the average CPM of your premium campaigns in DFP. You can then monitor the results and adjust if necessary.

How do I determine the ‘ultimate’ fill rate?

The DFP First Look coverage depends on how many guaranteed campaigns are booked in DFP. If there are only a few premium campaigns then it won’t be important to look at the coverage. If there are a lot of premium campaigns then there about 1% coverage is normal.

What can I expect in terms of the increase in revenue?

Your actual uplift depends on your First Look setup in AdX as well as on the number of Standard and Sponsorship campaigns in DFP as this is what DFP First Look will compete with. Nonetheless to give you an indication: the publishers in Google’s extensive six-month Beta testing phase saw an average of 10% lift in revenue. At DQ&A we’ve implemented this for several publishers who made as much as 20 to 40% more revenue by enabling the feature.

So this is the revenue growth that you can look forward to, and are potentially losing out on if you have not yet implemented DFP First Look.

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