New data underscores the impact of match rates on SPO efforts

Supply path optimization exercises can be long, involved processes with dizzying amounts of data, but they always promise to improve advertisers’ performance. 

A recent series of studies — including this ‘State of Ad ROI’ report — have aimed at simplifying the SPO process to make it more actionable for ad buyers, and a recent experiment highlights a simple way for buyers to improve match rates, win rates and therefore increase reach against their target audience by almost 10 times. 

The steps that follow are two of the most impactful steps identified in this SPO series, ones that any ad buyer can take to reap the benefits of a larger supply-path initiative immediately.

First step: Optimize performance by exchange

One of the simplest ways advertisers can see immediate ROI benefits from SPO is by optimizing performance by exchange. As outlined in our recent step-by-step guide to exchange optimization, the approach provides a major opportunity for traders to find huge pockets of performance improvements that most DSPs surprisingly do not automatically conduct. 

For instance, that previous study highlighted instances of advertisers discovering 60% of their budget going towards exchanges with the lowest performance against their KPI. Traders that conducted a simple manual reallocation of budget towards the top-performing exchanges saw significant overall campaign performance improvement.

Second step: Carefully review supply directness

Another important step is to consider supply partners’ directness while being careful not to cut all indirect supply. 

As Chris Kane, founder of consultancy Jounce Media, explains, “Supply directness is important, but advertisers should be careful not to blindly cut all indirect supply because sometimes that is the only way to access certain sites or unique ad formats.”

Such was the case with the unique way Sharethrough enhances banner, video and native impressions to fit advertiser’s ads into publisher sites. A few DSPs, such as Google’s DV360, could only access Sharethrough’s supply indirectly, which hypothetically meant that the extra “hop” was negatively impacting metrics such as match rates and win rates. The reason? Each connection point — or hop — in the supply path is an opportunity for disconnects in user match rates. Those disconnects can slow down the ad call, which impacts win rates. 

Once the process was directly integrated into DV360, the team could then test that hypothesis by comparing match rates and win rates from the indirect integration versus the direct integration. The results were a significant increase in match and win rates.

Results: Match rates and win rates improved a combined 9.8x in direct versus indirect test

At the end of the experiment, match rates in the direct integration were 7-times higher than the indirect integration and win rates improved by more than 40% — increases that proved to be even more pronounced than expected. 

Those outcomes mean that advertisers buying native, video or banners on the Sharethrough exchange directly via DV360 could immediately see a combined 9.8x increase in scale against their audience. And so, while optimizing towards the top-performing exchanges should be the first step in SPO initiatives, considering the directness of both the supply and integration in the DSP can also go a long way to improve the scale of audience reach.

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