Skip to main content

Best Practices: Ad Pod Configurations for Programmatic Auctions

Christa Stephens Beachfront
Christa Stephens, Director of Client Success at Beachfront (Image credit: Beachfront)

Although there is still much work to be done in improving the underlying ad infrastructure, programmatic is no longer a novelty in Connected TV (CTV). In fact, it has become one of the fastest-growing and most-debated areas of ad tech, with eMarketer projecting (opens in new tab) that nearly 75% of CTV video ad spend will be delivered programmatically in 2022. 

As with any expansion of technology, growing pains abound. For programmatic CTV, there is a lack of standardization across auction practices and protocols. There are several players involved in CTV, each vying to have the standards they built their tech on adopted by the masses. This has led to technical fragmentation and slowed the industry’s march to getting all ad operations stakeholders on the same page.

The Multi-Impression Opportunity 

One of the areas where supply-side platforms (SSPs) and publishers are missing the boat in CTV is with multi-impression opportunities. If you aren’t familiar, multi-impression opportunities allow publishers to send one request to buyers for all slots in an ad pod, and receive multiple impressions back in one response.

If you are an SSP or publisher, you can participate in a programmatic auction either for the entire ad pod or on a per-slot basis. When opportunities are sold by the ad pod, it opens the door for SSPs to leverage these multi-impression auctions. 

Basically, an ad request can be auctioned off in many different ways, and each SSP accepts requests differently. Some SSPs might say, “send us one request with multiple impression opportunities - we’ll fill the ad pod with as many bids as we can, and send all creatives back in a single response.” While some may simply say, “we can only bid on a slot by slot basis.”

So, implementing a standardized option for structuring ad requests and opportunities can be difficult when each SSP is bidding differently due to unique auction requirements. As an industry, we need to move towards a more unified way of executing these tasks. Granted, we’ve started to take steps in the right direction, there is still work to be done in getting all SSPs and publishers on the same page.

Eliminate Wasted Opportunities

Right now, many publishers are trying to figure out what auction mechanics to use and how to use them. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a scramble. We frequently see SSPs respond with the same creative back-to-back because their respective technology interprets each request as a different opportunity, resulting in lower use rates and wasted opportunities. 

Our recommendation is to always auction one request with multiple impression opportunities, that allow your demand partners to apply their own deduplication and creative blocking, while keeping queries per second (QPS) low. 

In a realistic sense, separate requests per slot all feed into the same opportunity anyway because it's all one ad pod. When publishers set up buyers for their ad pods, there’s value in prioritizing SSPs that can send through multiple impressions in one response instead of bidding on a slot-by-slot basis. This also benefits buyers, who want to make sure that the same creatives aren’t being played back-to-back, as it will lead to a poor viewer experience.  

As we continue moving toward a new industry standard, the logic used to build ad pods (such as revenue per second) will help to drive maximum revenue. Evaluating creatives by CPM and duration will also help ensure combinations that yield the most revenue are placed first. Combining this type of logic with the adoption of multi-impression requests and responses will propel us towards even better outcomes and greater efficiency.

We need to work through CTV’s growing pains collectively. Taking advantage of multiple impression opportunities is one easy step that moves us closer to a cleaner, more efficient ecosystem.

Beachfront is the convergent TV advertising platform that enables unified ad decisioning and monetization across Connected TV (CTV), set-top box video-on-demand (VOD), linear, and national addressable television. Leading media owners, programmers, and distributors leverage Beachfront’s TV-first tech stack to maximize revenue and improve operational efficiency, while delivering best-in-class ad experiences to their audiences.

Christa Stephens
Christa Stephens

Christa Stephens is the director of client success at Beachfront