October 23, 2023

Halloween is scary, SPO shouldn’t be

As Halloween approaches, the ad world's spooky quest is supply path optimization (SPO), but it doesn’t have to be scary. Whether your goal is efficient ad buying, combating ad fraud, or reducing your carbon footprint, we got the treats (not tricks) to help you take control of your campaigns to achieve your goals.

Nicole Kilaita

Director, Head of Supply AdTech Strategy

As Halloween creeps closer, a tinge of nostalgia fills the air. Remember when our biggest childhood fear was missing the perfect route to maximize our Halloween candy haul? Fast forward to adulthood in the advertising realm, and we've got a new frightening puzzle to tackle: finding the perfect supply route to maximize our advertising goals. 

The key to solving this challenge? Supply Path Optimization, or SPO, and there’s nothing quite as scary as unraveling the web of programmatic and choosing which auctions to participate in and which to dispel. Not to fear, here at Yahoo, we’ll share our expertise so you have the knowledge and tools to trade the SPO scaries for SPO success this season and beyond. 

It’s SPO-oky Season

SPO is rapidly gaining momentum; according to Advertiser Perceptions, nearly 58% of advertisers are currently using or are planning on adopting SPO.¹ If you haven't yet devised your SPO strategy, now is the perfect time to start. At Yahoo, we believe the best approach is to first identify your goal, then focus on the right tools and strategies that will align with that goal. While you might have various objectives in mind, we've identified three common goals that frequently surface among our clients:

  • Limit tech tax
  • Secure brand-suitable content
  • Minimize carbon footprint 

Do these resonate with you? Check out the tips and treats (not tricks) below to learn how you can take control and achieve these goals to reach your omnichannel audiences more efficiently. 

Transparency isn’t just for Ghosts

Shorten your supply paths to limit tech tax. Less ad tech participants drives more advertising dollars towards working media. Transparency paired with actionable insights is the key to purchasing trusted ad supply more efficiently and at scale.  

  1. Planning and forecasting tools help you shape your campaign strategy. To better achieve your KPIs when applying the methods below, start with Omniscope, our Yahoo DSP planning tool. Witches aren’t the only ones with a crystal ball. Predict your campaign’s future when targeting direct supply paths. You’ll have complete supply path transparency across exchanges, targeting, metrics, and more!
  2. A staggering $100 billion is projected to be lost to ad fraud globally this year.² No need to be spooked! Yahoo DSP employs a series of measures to combat ad fraud. Starting with TalonPro, our always-on machine learning-powered ad fraud prevention solution. As a second layer of protection, Yahoo DSP only bids on authorized supply. No domain-spoofing allowed here! Moreover, advertisers can choose to target ads.txt “direct” supply, meaning publishers who have direct relationships with adtech sellers. 
  3. Truly efficient media buying avoids unnecessary steps in the supply chain that take fees without adding value. Going direct-to-publisher means more of your advertising spend goes directly toward working media. Yahoo Backstage does this for you via direct access to a transparent and trusted group of premium and value-additive publishers.   

Unmasking MFAs

Brand suitability should align with your brand's persona and objectives, and while it's unique for each brand, there are universal pitfalls to avoid. For instance, Made-for-Advertising (MFA) websites, specifically designed to prioritize ad revenue, often prioritize ad placements over content quality; this can pose risks to your brand and result in wasted spend. The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) recently released a study which revealed that these websites account for 21% of the studied impressions and 15% of the ad spend.³

  1. To ensure you secure the most brand-suitable ad placements, we highly recommend leveraging Yahoo Backstage. It has earned the distinction of being the largest MFA-free supply source on the open web, as recognized by Jounce Media.
  2. For DSP targeting, contextual vendors provide the option to block segments associated with made-for-advertising pages across campaigns. 
  3. For those who seek additional scale but remain cautious, consider MFA-free exchange deals.

Goblins, Ghouls, and Going Green
Carbon emissions are generated at every transaction between two ad tech partners (referred to as a 'hop') within our complex programmatic ecosystem. It’s been estimated that digital advertising accounts for 10% of the internet’s total emissions, making it a significant contributor.⁴ A frightening fact! If you’re a sustainability focused advertiser, we recommend:

  1. Not to be redundant, but target direct paths! Going direct reduces the number of hops and thereby emits less carbon. 
  2. MFA sites emit 26% more carbon than premium sites.⁵ Blocking these sites can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
  3. Consider green media buys. Activate a carbon neutral private marketplace (PMP) through select exchanges. Additionally, with partners such as Good-Loop and Scope3, Yahoo enables buyers to engage in environmentally-friendly media buying.

Want to dig deeper or have a different goal?

The Yahoo team is here to help! Reach out to your Yahoo account team today and let us help you brew up a spellbinding SPO strategy to meet your business goals.

¹ “SPO Growth on the Rise: What Does This Mean for The Advertising Industry?” Advertiser Perceptions, Sep. 2023

² “Estimated cost of digital ad fraud worldwide from 2018 to 2023.” Statista, 2023

³ "ANA Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study — First Look," ANA, Jun. 2023  

⁴ “Environmental impact assessment of online advertising.” Pärssinen, M., Kotila, M., Cuevas, R., Phansalkar, A., & Manner, J. 2018

⁵ “The Hidden Cost of Digital Advertising.” Ebiquity and Scope3, Nov. 2022


About Nicole Kilaita

Nicole Kilaita serves as the Director of Supply AdTech Strategy. With over seven years of experience in programmatic advertising, she boasts deep knowledge in the supply domain, encompassing both DSP and SSP. Dedicated to understanding customer needs and market trends, Nicole has been instrumental in shaping and implementing Yahoo Advertising’s differentiated supply platform strategies.

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