Yield Optimizer II: Mastering Match Rates
Our Yield Optimizer series offers quick and actionable tips to help publishers supercharge revenue and maximize yield. In part II, we're turning our attention to match rates.
The best results in digital advertising have always come from one thing: personalization.
But actually finding the right audience for each ad, quickly and accurately, remains an uphill battle for both sides of the programmatic supply chain. It's a process which, even in the face of the third-party cookie deprecation, is still reliant on cookies - and syncing these cookies to match users across different platforms. The more cookies which are matched, the more revenue a publisher can command.
What are match rates?
As intermediaries in the media trading landscape, SSPs and DSPs are heavily reliant on cookies to identify users across different sessions and websites.
But here's where they encounter another obstacle: cookies can only be read by the domain which created them – they are not recognised by third-party platforms or websites. This obviously limits the effectiveness of delivering ads tailored to the person viewing the webpage.
It's here that cookie matching comes in.
This technology allows DSPs and SSPs to ‘sync’ the users who are common to all trading partners, allowing advertisers to access user data from multiple domains and sources.
In short, cookie matching works by two different advertising platforms mapping each other’s unique user IDs, then sharing the information they've gathered about the same user, enabling them to deliver ads which are more relevant and personalized.
The match rate is the percentage of shared known users determined by cookie syncing.
The downstream decline
Match rates can average anything from 50% to 80% between each downstream partner in the media trading chain which links publishers to SSPs, SSPs to DSPs, and DSPs to brands. But each step taken away from the publisher potentially reduces the overall match rate – which has a knock-on effect on revenue.
Let's say a publisher has a 70% match rate with a connected SSP. In isolation, this seems reasonable – but if the SSP has only a 60% match rate with the DSP on the next step down the chain, the match rate drops to 42% (i.e. 60% of the SSP-to-publisher 70% match rate).
In this scenario, it can make sense for a DSP to save money on hardware costs by simply not listening to the 58% of unmatched traffic coming from the publisher and only bidding on the 42% of matched inventory. But unmatched users in one media trading chain could be matched through a different DSP-to-SSP connection and targeted via a different buying channel / supply path, so the publisher loses out on revenue.
Cookie syncing with all trading partners
For all partners to get even close to 100% user matching, cookie syncing needs to take place across the supply chain whenever it's needed.
At present, cookie syncing between the publisher and the SSP (i.e. The MediaGrid) is managed entirely by the publisher. But how frequently these syncing calls are made differs, so cookie syncing data can become out of date, leading to lower match rates between the advertiser, SSP, and publisher.
One potential solution to this problem, which also frees publishers from needing to manage sync calls themselves, is the SSP-initiated sync call. In this method, the SSP can trigger a cookie syncing call with the publisher at any time to ensure that the user data they've already matched with the DSP is also matched with the publisher.
The SSP-initiated sync call is a way to ensure the three-way sync between all trading partners is as up-to-date as possible, encouraging higher bids from DSPs for known users and unlocking higher incremental revenue for publishers.
Have a question about match rates, want to learn more about testing SSP-initiated sync calls, or just want to connect with The MediaGrid? Hit the big green button to say hello today.