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You probably think of Publisher’s Clearing House (PCH) as a mail-order sweepstakes company that surprised winners with big, over-sized checks. However, PCH has evolved its traditional magazine and merchandise direct marketing business to include several “play and win” properties such as pchlotto.com, pchgames.com and pchsearchandwin.com.

Delivering over 300 million ad impressions per month across these sites, PCH tested multiple strategies for monetizing remnant inventory before turning to DoubleClick Ad Exchange (AdX) in early 2010. Today, AdX’s share of revenue has grown 5X and it now monetizes up to 70% of all remnant inventory. We caught up with Denise Leggio, Director of Ad Operations at PCH, to learn more about what worked for them with AdX.

Won over by strong controls
“With a brand like ours, ad quality is just as important as the RPM. But Ad Exchange is easy to use and allows us a broad range of controls, like blocking competitive or undesirable ads from bidding. It lets us maximize revenue without giving up control of the ads or compromising our brand,” says Denise.

Higher yields with Dynamic Allocation
“One of the biggest benefits of Ad Exchange is Dynamic Allocation with DFP. Ad Exchange will only serve if it can beat the highest-paying ad at that exact time, ensuring optimal revenue.” For PCH, Dynamic Allocation has also informed pricing decisions on direct inventory.

Multiple tools and levers for deeper insights and higher revenue
From reporting features at the individual ad unit level, to the Minimum CPM Recommendation tool to set the minimum auction price, AdX has provided Denise’s team many tools to optimize revenue. “The optimization options have been extremely valuable for our online business. The tools, reports and data provided give us insight into our inventory and buyer habits,” she says. “With those insights, we’re able to make changes extremely quickly.”

Operational efficiencies allow deeper focus on direct sales
The time savings from being on AdX has allowed Denise and her team to better support PCH’s direct sales team, testing and building creative packages involving rich media, takeover ads and site skins. “The operations team can now be a strategic partner on that end, instead of just being on the back end doing yield optimization and trafficking.”

“You have to work with a solution that you trust, and I think that’s why we like Ad Exchange,” Denise says. “For PCH, Ad Exchange is the solution of choice because of its robust technology, insights, control, and ability to offer the highest yield and inventory fill in a highly competitive market.”

Read the full case study here.

This blog post was part of “PubTalk”, a series of conversations with publishers.

As part of today’s release of the Google AdMob SDK, DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) and AdMob now fully support the IAB’s Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definitions (MRAID) standard for advertising in mobile applications.

MRAID is an initiative from the IAB to define a common API for mobile rich media advertisements, in order to help the mobile marketplace reach new levels of consistency, efficiency and effectiveness. Adopting a common standard for rich media in applications will make building rich media ads simpler and enable advertisers to reach a wider audience with a single creative.

For publishers who use DFP to deliver ads to mobile applications, the new Google AdMob SDK gives your advertisers the flexibility to provide creatives that work seamlessly across any application, regardless of the device, platform, or ad technology involved. Using an MRAID-compliant SDK also enables publishers to:
  • Work with a greater range of vendors to produce rich media campaigns 
  • Reduce integration and maintenance costs by removing vendor-specific SDKs 
  • Develop differentiated ad formats against a stable, vendor-neutral platform 
  • Attract large scale advertisers building high value, high reach campaigns 
  • Use HTML5 creatives across mobile web and mobile apps
We look forward to actively participating in the future development of MRAID. We believe it will have a significant impact on the mobile advertising industry by lowering costs, increasing scale and providing the foundation for a mature mobile display ecosystem.

Like many New Yorkers, I can’t imagine life in this city without the subway - it’s essential to how the city operates, creates millions in economic value, and even features great mariachi bands. But the subway wasn’t always this efficient. In the early 1900s, there were multiple subway systems, with different size train cars, running on different track configurations - even one propelled by air! Today, after the unification of these subway systems, everything works seamlessly together.

So what does the subway system have to do with video advertising? Well, the two dominant video advertising guidelines -- VAST and VPAID -- are like the unified transportation system for video advertising. VAST and VPAID define a common language that unifies the diversity of the video advertising industry: Flash and HTML video players, ad networks and exchanges, mobile devices and connected TVs, 30 second spots and interactive overlays.

At Google, we’ve been longtime supporters of video advertising standards. We’re happy to announce our support for the latest set of guidelines announced at the IAB’s Digital Video Marketplace Event today. This means that we’ll be implementing VAST 3.0, VPAID 2.0 and VMAP 1.0 across our video advertising products. Together, these three guidelines strengthen the video advertising infrastructure already adopted by most participants in the video ecosystem. The Video Suite also adds support for skippable ads, podding, in-ads privacy notices and ad sequencing, while offering greater clarity around compliance and mobile scenarios.

What benefits can you expect from VAST 3.0, VPAID 2.0 and VMAP 1.0? 

  • If you’re a publisher, interoperability will improve and you’ll be able to accept a wider set of video ad formats with less technical work. The new error codes will also help with troubleshooting of third party served ads.
  • If you’re an advertiser, the Video Suite allows you to create more engaging brand stories that reach a wider audience across all devices. You’ll be able to take greater advantage of skippable ads, which offer new pricing models focused on performance.
  • If you’re a vendor, the technical details of these specs really matter, and we’ve provided much more clarity around the compliance requirements for video players and ad servers.

So much has changed in the online video space in just ten years, that we thought we’d take a trip down memory line with this infographic:

Click through for the full infographic

As an industry, we’ve started to take VAST and VPAID for granted, much like New Yorkers and their subway system. That’s a good thing, because it means they’ve become an essential part of powering our economy.

Spring is here and so are a couple of new features in DFP! For a complete list, please visit the DFP or DFP Small Business Help Centers.

Available in DFP and DFP Small Business:

  • Integrated Change History: To help you keep a closer eye on your ad operations, we’ve integrated our change history feature into the orders page in addition to its home in the Admin tab. The change history can help you quickly identify and review all changes made to your orders and line items, including: what has changed (e.g., line item), what change occurred (e.g., from "Paused" to "Ready"), who made the change, and the date and time the change was made.
  • Creative Preview Links: “What will my creative look like on your site?” You've told us that this is one of the most common requests that you hear from advertisers. With our creative preview tool, you’ve been able to create an internal test page for QA purposes, and send screenshots to advertisers to see how their ad would appear, but advertisers could not interact with their creative on your site unitl it went live. We’ve changed that with the release of external creative preview links. You can now send your advertisers a link to a test page that displays their creative on your site so they can easily preview and interact with their creative on your site before it’s live.
  • Bulk Creative Upload: We’ve designed DFP so there are less steps, clicks, and screens throughout the trafficking process to help you save time when trafficking your campaigns. In efforts to help you streamline your workflows even further, we’ve introduced the ability to bulk upload multiple creatives. With this tool, you can easily drag and drop multiple image, Flash, or text creatives from your desktop directly into your line item with a single gesture rather than uploading multiple individual creatives, helping you save time and minimizing clicks.

Available in DFP:

  • DFP Optimization: Publishers can now supercharge ad performance with DFP Optimization - an advanced optimization system that supercharges ad performance to help publishers increase the value of their premium inventory, and boost yield for non-premium inventory. DFP Optimization leverages Google’s infrastructure and processing capabilities to automatically deliver the best ad, to the best user, at the best time. Read more.
  • First-party audience segmentation: Publishers are increasingly taking control of their audience data as one of the key assets of their digital businesses. To help you manage and control this data, we’ve introduced the ability to define and manage audience segments directly in DFP to help you increase the value of their inventory while gaining insights on how different audience segments engage with your content. Read more.

Available in DFP Mobile:

  • Click-To-[Action] Creative: As mobile advertising becomes a greater emphasis for your advertisers, it’s important to recognize that their campaign objectives may differ from their web-based campaigns. On mobile, advertisers may define success as driving downloads of a mobile application, calling a telephone number, or opening a map versus visiting a website. To provide your advertisers with uniquely mobile experiences, we’ve released a new mobile creative type that enables you to specify an action (ie. download) as the destination. This new creative type will help you differentiate your mobile offering and provide your advertisers with the latest mobile formats and functionality.

Available in DFP Video:
  • VPAID Linear SWF Creatives: Creative agencies are building more VPAID compliant video ads than ever before. DFP Video now supports the VPAID standard as defined by the IAB, allowing you to accept more video ad campaigns without needing extra technical development. VPAID introduces a common language between ad servers and video players for handling interactive video ads for Flash and HTML5 environments.