Billing and data management among top challenges for digital publishers

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A survey has found a number of key challenges for digital publishers, including billing, data management, communication and fraud. Some of these have been exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis, with delayed payments in particular causing issues.

The takeaways:
  • Of the 300 executives surveyed, nearly half have struggled with billing management and delayed payments, according to DoubleVerify, who conducted the research in September.
  • Communication and synchronization between external clients and internal teams has been cited as one of the greatest challenges with delivering ad campaigns.
  • Data management is also a key operational and revenue hurdle for publishers. 73% said that they spend “too much time manually processing inventory performance and revenue data”.
The Covid effect

As well as many advertisers pausing or reducing campaign spend with publishers, billing has grown to become an issue. DoubleVerify’s survey found that 47% of digital publishers say they lack the resources to support the billing and reconciliation process across their customers.

This in turn has caused payment times to increase, at a time that revenue and cash flow is already under severe pressure.

Data processing pain

80% of respondents said that their organization spent excessive time on data collection and processing. This in turn is limiting their ability to optimize inventory performance and revenue.

  • Much of the pain in data collection is in pulling data from scattered locations – DSPs, SSPs and exchanges – and then having to organize the data internally. 
  • Although data can be a valuable asset to publishers, the time spent on collecting it and making it ‘actionable’ needs to be carefully balanced. Otherwise it becomes very resource-intensive.
  • These issues are likely to disproportionately affect smaller and mid-sized publishers. Larger publishers will have their own tools to streamline this process.

Data pipelines have also been highlighted as an issue. Advertisers often use different solutions to evaluate media performance and quality. This makes it difficult for publishers to investigate discrepancies and streamline their own workflows.

  • A number of digital publishers said that being able to proactively identify and troubleshoot impression-level fraud issues was a top concern.
  • Ad fraud affects both publishers and advertisers, and will cost an estimated $34 billion this year.

A bright spot: Although there are challenges with delivering ad campaigns, the majority of respondents (67%) rated their organization’s campaign delivery process positively. This includes the overall management, as well as developing, running and measuring campaigns.

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