Programmatic isn’t a Synonym for Low CPMs

Are small publishers having difficulty keeping their CPMs stable with programmatic? According to Brian Fitzgerald of Evolve Media they are:

The overall marketplace has been putting pressure on brands to move into indirect programmatic channels at lower CPMs. Smaller sites have really been feeling the pinch. There’s a shrinking pool of people viewing ad inventory on PCs. Audiences are moving to mobile and publishers have to deal with less real estate for ad space. It’s only going to get worse. Now we have more issues of non-human traffic and non-viewable inventory.

We believe this doesn’t have to be the case. Because Evolve Media is rolling up small publishers, offering  them economies of scale, it’s in their interest to think that CPMs will be lower with programmatic.  Actually, things are much more nuanced, and changing every day as ads become more mobile and video ads become more common. Yes, brands are moving into programmatic. Yes, customers are moving to mobile, and the screens are indeed smaller. But that doesn’t mean advances like mobile video ads and high impact formats don’t take up the slack left by the abandonment by consumers of their PCs.

For one thing, people outside the industry are still confusing programmatic with real time bidding (RTB). They’re not the same. RTB is an auction, while programmatic is simply an automated work flow process. So there’s no real reason why programmatic itself would lower CPMs, unless your only use of programmatic is assigning your remnant inventory to RTB exchanges.

Our publishers, on the other hand, receive opportunities to offer  ZEDO’s high impact formats, display and video ads that are polite, unobtrusive, and engaging — but at the same time 99% viewable with measureably  higher CTRs. Our ZINC division sells premium brands and agencies campaigns that run on a premium publisher network that is growing daily.

For another, what Evolve calls “economies of scale” is really the ability to present a brand to a single market segment at scale — in this case either men’s or women’s lifestyles, since that’s what all their aggregated sites present. So it’s  a matter of better targeting. And that can be done with combinations of large and small publishers.

More precise targeting always produces higher CPMs for a publisher, which is why niche magazines and sites are not suffering the way many general publishers are. Local publishers are also faring better under programmatic, because in many cases brands want to pinpoint customer locations on mobile.

A combination of good targeting and engaging high impact formats can help a publisher of any size command the CPMs it wants.