Introducing MAX Direct Sold

Doug Borghese
Jun 29, 2022

In the world of mobile ad mediation, programmatic advertising has become an industry standard, on track to earn an estimated $141.96 billion in total digital ad spend by 2023. However, sometimes a more customized approach to selling your ad space is necessary. For instance, publishers might find a time where they’ll need more control over the ads shown to drive stronger outcomes on their impressions. This is where MAX’s new support for Direct Sold comes into play.

Direct Sold allows publishers to create, execute, and report on highly targeted ad campaigns with custom prices and specific goals for those ad runs.

Here are the three most effective ways to drive value with Direct Sold.

#1: Direct-to-advertiser campaigns

More established publishers might want to negotiate the sale of ad space directly with an advertiser. In these direct-to-advertiser deals, inventory is typically sold at a premium price (higher than average CPM). With that premium pricing comes an expectation on behalf of the advertiser: publishers agree to serve the advertiser’s ads to a specific audience with a guaranteed impression goal.

Direct Sold runs in tandem with other networks in the unified auction, which means the highest bid takes priority, be that from any bidder in the auction through CPM or a specific paying partner. However, for an extra layer of control, publishers also have the ability to prioritize their direct-to-advertiser campaigns, to ensure timely delivery of campaign goals.

With MAX Direct Sold, advertisers can more precisely target their most high-value users not only through traditional attribution data (location, gender, device, etc.), but also more advanced targeting capabilities like interest or user-based attributes through keyword targeting, resulting in a greater willingness to pay for ad space. This is further bolstered by being able to launch ads in every possible format — banner, interstitial, rewarded, native, or otherwise — to find the best ads to reach targeted users.

MAX also provides customization for when the skip/close button appears (minimum required time played/viewed), and IAB OMSDK for viewability support, so that your advertisers can rest assured their ads are viewed by real people, for a minimum amount of time, and drive desired performance.

Additionally, implementing and managing direct-sold campaigns is simple with campaign and creative cloning, along with self-serve management on the MAX dashboard. Publishers can run campaigns confidently on their apps for their advertising partners with advanced targeting, reporting, and viewability support.

#2: Promotional/cross-promotional campaigns

Since increasing ad revenue is dependent on acquiring and retaining users, mobile publishers also tend to be advertisers. 

Promotional campaigns, in which publishers advertise on their own inventory; and cross- promotional campaigns, in which studios advertise across their app catalog — provide an opportunity for publishers to run marketing campaigns using their own creative and tracking, at virtually no cost. Since these campaigns are run on their own titles, mobile businesses are in the unique position to leverage their app data to refine targeting. For example, by identifying characteristics related to their highest value users, they can tailor their targeting to drive a higher return through IAPs and other in-app actions.

Important to note: While doing this is effectively “free” for publishers, it does present an opportunity cost, as these ads could replace the ads of paying bidders. Be sure to keep this in mind when making the decision to run promotional/cross-promotional campaigns.

#3: Backfill campaigns

When optimizing ad inventory, every impression counts. Sometimes, however, a portion of ad inventory remains unsold for a variety of reasons (ex: demand fell short, CPM goals weren’t reached, etc.). In these cases, backfill campaigns allow publishers to use unsold ad inventory for their own promotional or cross-promotional content without concern for the lost opportunity cost.

Direct Sold on MAX

Now that we understand the kinds of campaigns that can be created to drive value with Direct Sold, here’s an even better view of how it all fits “under the hood” on MAX:

  • Reporting
    • Direct Sold Reporting: 
      • Monitor budget, delivery of impressions, clicks, and more for the dates you select
      • Compare campaign results across your mediation stack
      • Filter results by ad creative, application, etc. and reorder or remove columns according to which metrics you want to view
    • Direct Sold Reporting API: Pass Direct Sold data to your BI tools
  • Viewability 
    • OM SDK: Allow advertisers to validate the viewability of each impression
  • Flexible Creative Options
    • Creative tags support
    • Hosted creative image and video files
    • Customize delay duration for skip and close buttons for fullscreen creatives 
  • Campaign Setup and Management
    • Campaign delivery: Define CPM floor, day parting, dates, budgets, and budget pacing 
    • Capping and frequency settings: 
      • Implement session or time-based capping, or a frequency cap by country
      • Pace campaigns according to the desired start and end date 
    • Extensive targeting options: country, language, device type, connection speed and type [e.g. unknown, mobile, or wifi], carrier, gender, device ID, GDPR, age, and keyword

Ready to use Direct Sold to drive value for your mobile app business? Head over to MAX and sign up today.

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