There are many challenges that a publisher must face when looking to make revenue through their website’s inventory, be it through programmatic campaigns, direct campaigns, or a mixed use of both. Publishers need to be able to implement, operate and manage a wide set of technologies to stay on top of their monetisation performance, and one of these key techs is the well known Google Ad Manager, often referred to by its “GAM” acronym.
In this article, we’ll go over the 4 main challenges faced by publishers implementing GAM. We’ll also approach how Ad Management platforms and their wide set of features can counter some of these challenges, providing publishers with the additional time and the technical freedom to take their programmatic activity back into their own hands.
So keep reading to become more knowledgeable on GAM, but also to learn how you could make your monetisation easier, more transparent, and more performant.
In terms of technical complexity, implementing Ad Management platforms is remarkably simple. Publishers just add a bit of code to their website's header, then easily manage the entire GAM integration in the platform's no-code interface. This streamlined process mirrors adding bidders to header bidding. Additionally, handling inventory formats and backups is effortlessly done through the Ad Management platform's dedicated interface.
In terms of inventory quality and user experience, Ad Management platforms offer an array of tools to assist publishers in optimizing this aspect of their monetization. Viewability metrics, integrated directly into these platforms, ensure that publishers sell their inventory under optimal conditions, leading to increased profits. Additionally, other metrics are commonly included to assess revenue in relation to traffic or engagement, and get a better picture of your monetisation performance.
Maximising revenue in a scalable way is another skill that publishers don’t always have, whether it’s due to lack of expert personnel or lack of sufficient tools. In order to bridge this tech gap with more programmatically mature publishers, Ad Management platforms include a wide range of no-code optimisation tools spanning from Ad Refresh to dynamic floor pricing, from Lazy Loading to extensive A/B testing, and much more! However in the case of GAM, not all of these tools are available but, more importantly, they also need to be re-implemented for every new site, as opposed to Ad Management tools that allow the duplication of an ad stack and all its components from a website to another in just a few clicks.
Also, while GAM does allow publishers to A/B test their ad stacks’ performance across an extensive amount of dimensions, these dimensions are still outnumbered by those offered through the extensive A/B testing capabilities of Ad Management platforms. For example, these platforms can test the performance of two ad stacks with different Prebid configurations, ID solutions, or Ad Refresh parameters on top of the usual dimensions (user context, differentiated website sections, floor prices, etc), something that publishers cannot do with GAM. So by providing a tool to experiment the ad stack’s performance across a larger set of dimensions but also the possibility of scalable multi-stack management, these platforms are a game-changer for major publishers managing several websites for whom efficiency and time-to-action are crucial.
Finally, Ad Management platforms also appear as the solution ready to make publishers friends with data once again. Whether it’s data discrepancy or compliance with evolving regulations, this “data” topic of the programmatic industry is poised to face consequent changes with the announced disappearance of cookies and the evolution of regulations such as GDPR or CCPA. On one hand, GAM’s analytics are self-centered, meaning they don’t provide a complete picture of your ad stack’s performance unless paired with other tools such as Google Analytics (which, by the way, requires additional action on the publisher’s side to be used in a GDPR-compliant manner). Also, GAM’s analytics features don’t include revenue generated through other channels such as Prebid or Amazon TAM, meaning AdOps teams have to spread the task of monitoring revenue across different tools rather than a single centralised platform.
Ad Management platforms on the other hand offer extensive analytics into the entirety of the ad stack, with dashboards regrouping data across all monetisation channels and combining it with traffic, engagement and viewability metrics. This detailed and granular approach to analytics helps publishers strategically leverage monetisation analytics and improve their programmatic revenue through data-backed decisions. Compliance and data security are also not an issue, with Ad Management platforms making sure that their built-in integrations are compliant with current regulations, while still offering some type of counter the disappearance of third-party cookies in the form of contextual targeting or the built-in integrations of ID modules.
Of all the previously mentioned points, only a handful can also be managed by header bidding managed wrappers, which is one of the reasons why they are now becoming obsolete. Covering every single base when it comes to their monetisation strategy would usually leave publishers with a complex and fragmented advertising stack, but the recent advance of Ad Management platforms has left publishers not only able to do more than managed wrappers, but also able to do it all from one single platform.
However, the real turning point is that these platforms allow them to do so without necessarily having the dedicated skills internally or spending more time to develop their expertise: the Ad Management platform provides this expertise through tried-and-tested processes, a no-code approach to its interface but also extensive support by programmatic experts.
In today’s increasingly complex Adtech industry, reducing the number of tools without giving up part of their control over their advertising stack seems to be one of the major objectives for publishers in 2024. If you’d like to learn more about how these platforms could assist you in your programmatic projects, feel free to reach out to us and one of our programmatic experts will get back to you!