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The Goals

  • Maximize ad revenue at scale across a global publisher network
  • Maintain a premium user experience

The Approach

  • Implement Exchange Bidding, a feature within DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP)

The Results

  • Exchange bidding is the number two revenue source after DoubleClick Ad Exchange (AdX)
  • 17% increase in AdX revenue
  • 41% higher CPMs for Exchange Bidding inventory compared to non-Exchange Bidding inventory

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Published April 2018

VICE Media’s core business is content. Whether they’re reporting on news, politics, relationships, or entertainment, they pride themselves on capturing their audience’s hearts and minds with original journalism that offers a unique perspective. 

In addition to their flagship VICE.com website, the company manages ad monetization for the VICE Digital Network: 500+ websites with a combined reach of 200 million monthly unique visitors. A large publisher network comes with both opportunities and challenges. Small positive changes in monetization can greatly increase VICE’s bottom line, however rolling out changes across a large network of diverse websites can be difficult to scale.

Optimizing for innovation at scale

A longtime DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) partner, VICE’s programmatic team first learned about Exchange Bidding when it launched in open beta

Alex Payne, Vice President of Ad Platforms at VICE Media, described the testing and implementation process as “straightforward and streamlined." 

Exchange Bidding allowed us to vastly expand the volume of inventory that we could monetize programmatically. It was much easier than onboarding partners individually within AdX or adding code to the page for header bidding.

Alex Payne, Vice President of Ad Platforms at VICE Media

Exchange Bidding also kept VICE Digital Network sites running fast. Payne shared, “Anytime we’re able to go to the product team with a solution that’s server-side, beneficial to load time, and that also minimizes code on page, it’s always seen in a positive light.” 

A final hurdle for VICE to overcome was reporting. In the past, adding new advertising partners increased operational complexity and required reliance on paid solutions that charged for incremental reporting sources. 

Exchange Bidding is included in DFP’s unified reporting interface that gives VICE access to publisher results and robust reports. Payne explains, “Different transaction types and clients can have different revenue shares. DFP’s consistent reporting is very helpful, revenue-wise."

Results beyond expectation 

Since implementing Exchange Bidding across both VICE.com and the VICE Digital Network, VICE Media has seen impressive results. CPMs for Exchange Bidding inventory are 41% higher than those for non-Exchange Bidding inventory. AdX revenue is up by 17% as well. 

Exchange Bidding is now consistently our number two programmatic revenue source after AdX. The consistent revenue and the ease with which we can make our publisher network available are both very appealing.

Looking toward the future

VICE sees a strong future for Exchange Bidding, and the company intends to try out a number of new strategies, including using the feature to monetize their ever-growing video content library. 

They also plan to increase their number of exchange partners and move new partners out of header bidding in favor of Exchange Bidding. Payne noted, “We look at Exchange Bidding as both additional revenue source and as a way to compete more dynamically. I'm looking into having the feature set up as comprehensively as possible with partners and leading platforms where we’d want to continue to have access to their demand.”

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