What should I expect?

This is one of the most common questions I hear from publishers large and small who are constantly evaluating new opportunities, technologies and partnerships. They want to know what the potential upside is of implementing that new ad unit or adding that new tool into their arsenal. From an ad operations and yield management standpoint, they want to know how much of a CPM lift can be expected by launching a solution like prebid.js for header bidding, or by activating Google’s Exchange Bidding and pulling additional demand into DFP. From a sales perspective, they want to know what kind of edge they will have, if any, by enhancing their measurement capabilities via 3rd party data sources like credit card processors or review sites. Product people want to know how much time spent, pageviews per session or other key performance metrics might improve by implementing 3rd party optimization tools.

Despite each vendor promising seamless, hassle-free implementation, these initiatives still require internal resources and effort that could otherwise have been spent on something else. Thus the underlying factors behind go/no-go decisions include the effort required, disruptions to internal roadmaps, and perhaps most importantly, the potential upside or impact. Oftentimes, because the impact is vague or unknown, the default decision is to simply punt to a later date. I have done this countless times myself and almost always realized later that it would have been better to either schedule the implementation immediately or give the project (and the vendor) a firm no. We spend far too much time dealing with inbound cold calls and follow ups and providing honest reasons why something does not make sense or cannot be done would eliminate a lot of this noise.

Many times, unless the opportunity is completely nascent, other people in the decision-maker or business-stakeholder position will have experience with the product, vendor or technology you are considering. Reaching out to get feedback - assuming you trust it will be unbiased - is one of the best ways to evaluate whether something is worth pursuing. You get an idea of the effort required to get up and running, ballpark performance metrics and what the post-launch experience is like: customer service, ongoing enhancements, etc. If you can’t identify friends and colleagues who have experience with something, there are firms like ours that specialize in helping publishers evaluate new opportunities leveraging deep experience across a wide range of verticals, technologies and platforms.

In the absence of someone to speak to about new opportunities and initiatives, the best thing to do is consider the roadmap you already have in front of you and determine if the potential upside is significant enough to interrupt that schedule. Part of being a leader and business stakeholder means making decisions with incomplete information. The companies that consistently innovate are not afraid to take risks. Equally as important if not more so, they are also willing to admit when something isn’t working and quickly pivot as needed.