Third-party ad exchanges are a great solution for earning revenue from unsold inventory and bulk inventory. For a top-tier publisher already running top-tier national and regional campaigns, there are gotchas that can be detrimental to existing sources of revenue and relationships, hence the need for creative quality-assurance when working with third-party ad exchanges.
The first concern in filling unsold inventory with exchange campaigns is the grade of the advertisers and their creatives. The sales force of premium publishers use the high production look and feel of their publication as a selling aid. As a consequence they ask agencies to provide ‘nice’ looking creatives consistent with the environment in order to continue engaging their audience. So they are concerned about seeing less than professionally produced creatives next to the high cost rich media creatives of their own accounts. Corollary to that is the thinking that low cost creatives come from non-top-tier brands more suited to non-top-tier publishers. This concern has to do with not knowing how much control their operations team will have over the type of exchange campaigns that will run on the publisher website and the quality of the exchanges accounts.
The second concern is how the publisher will be able to maintain the premium pricing for its inventory if existing accounts are able to run campaigns with them through exchanges at a bulk rate. The answer is in the question. Exchange campaigns are bulk campaigns meaning they will lack premium features available to in-house accounts such as optimization services that can frequency cap at the best CTR, custom targeting by zip/postal codes, campaign monitoring and recommendation and special sponsorship placements that can ‘own’ the content.
The third, and last concern, are potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest between in-house advertisers and competitors who come through third-party exchange channels. This is again a question of control over the types of or specific advertisers on exchanges that can be blocked from ever appearing on the publisher websites. A real life example may be to exclude travel related campaigns from appearing while a sales-person is developing a few travel related accounts. Or excluding an entire category, such as automobiles, should the publisher already have a relationship with one major automobile client, so that only they appear on the publisher websites.