1. Don’t just see yourself as a supplier of inventory. Publishers have so much more to offer than that. Publishers have reader relationships, and publishers have advertiser relationships. This means publishers are in the perfect position to benefit from programmatic advertising – more so than anything else to come along so far.

  2. Programmatic advertising is a battle for market share. This is not just within display advertising, but a fight for all digital marketing budgets. Publishers can take a piece of that, even from the big boys.

  3. Data is everything, and audience is data. As a publisher, you are in a position to speak to your readers on your terms and engage with them the way you need to.

    You need to make sure your data is better than everyone else’s.

  4. Your editorial plan should feed audience directly into your data segments. If you are not writing content that you can monetise, you don’t have a plan. It’s time to get real with yourself – the recent adage “Math Men not Mad Men” is so true, seriously. You can’t afford any more fluffy content; your content must speak to the right reader for the right advertisers.

  5. Remember, you are targeting real people (hopefully). You need to place the ads wherever they may be. You’ve probably been discussing reader engagement, user experience, dwell time, pages per visit, repeat visitors, and pages per visitor for years on your own sites.

    Don’t be so arrogant to think you secure the readers’ undivided attention to your brand, which you love. They really don’t care about you and will take what they need. The reader won’t be where you want them when your advertiser wants them there. You’ll have to target them elsewhere, meaning you must have genuinely good data.

  6. You are going to need to use RTB via a DSP to deliver the advertising. You’ll need a plan that allows you to target your inventory first before anything else. You’ll need to understand your yield, and you will have to get your sales team to see value in your digital proposition. Under-pricing it won’t help at all.

  7. Understand why you want to get involved in the first place. You might have a fully paid audience, you might get very satisfying yields from programmatic inventory hitting your sites, or your digital advertiser retention might be perfect because the results you give them are already competitive.

    Whatever the situation is, if you have read this far, you are thinking about it. So work out why you want to get involved – rather than do it because everyone else is, which they are, of course.

  8. You need to get your pricing and margin right. You are about to spend your hard-earned sale and customer budget with other organisations, so make sure you get your ducks in a row. You want to keep getting their budget, you want to get it more frequently, and you want to get more of it. Have a plan and know your business.

  9. Yes, you need a tech stack. Yes, you need to test and trial. Get someone within your organisation to look at it and report back to you; there is plenty of information out there and people willing to talk to you. If you’re an INMA member like I am, there’s help all around. Use it.

  10. Process, process, process. Make sure when you do this you have tested, failed, succeeded, and tested again. Your sales force will not thank you if you make it hard for them or don’t deliver. What systems do you need to integrate, why do you need to do what you need to do, and how are you going to do it?

  11. Results sit at the very centre of this. Feeding back results to your customer before, during, and after a campaign is the only sure-fire way to build a sustainable revenue stream.

    Providing results gives you permission to have a conversation about what happened and what you would do next. Without these genuine (good and bad) reports of activity, you will fail before you start.