It’s Time to Move Beyond Supply Path Optimization
In a recent survey from Digiday and Pubmatic, more than 40% of buyers said they worried that SPO would negatively impact their KPIs and more than 30% said they feared losing access to unique inventory.
In our experience, these fears are not completely unfounded. Luckily, the industry is beginning to move beyond SPO and refocus the conversation on KPIs rather than just cost. We think of this focus on net value as quality-path optimization (QPO).
There are three key principles that consistently define this shift to QPO:
1. Start with a Foundation of Transparency and Trust
You can’t assess your inventory’s value if it’s not 100% clear where your spend is going. Make sure your exchange partners value transparency. Are they proactively and accurately supporting key industry initiatives such as sellers.json and the SupplyChain Object? Does the majority of their inventory have ads.txt implemented?
2. Prioritize Differentiation over Directness
While eliminating all resellers has become a quick fix solution for some buyers, this approach can also shut off access to exclusive and differentiated placements only available via those supply paths. Investing in an extra “hop” makes sense if the intermediary adds significant incremental value above and beyond working with publishers directly. This value may include access to improved targeting, unique ad formats, or even the ability to more efficiently filter inventory and surface high-value impressions.
3. Go for Scale
While differentiation matters, working with a myriad of intermediaries can still introduce operational headaches and limit transparency, even if those partners have a unique offering. Limit the mix to exchanges that offer differentiation and the ability to deliver those unique placements or data at scale. This can help strike a balance between complexity and missed opportunity.
Like many aspects of digital marketing, a blend of quantitative analysis and qualitative oversight can yield the best supply path results. Rather than adopting generic, broad-based policies around entities like resellers, start by trying to understand the incremental value and scale each partner can bring to the table.