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Earlier this year, online weather desination Accuweather had problems that many publishers struggle with. The company had a lot of inventory across a lot of ad networks. The task of optimizing sales was weighing the company down.
What did they do? They started working with network optimizer AdMeld and saw a 70% increase in remnant eCPM rates.
According to comScore, in August Accuweather had 9 million viewers to its website, with between 150-200 million page views from around the globe. Due to the immediacy of weather inqueries, the company does very well in mobile. Accuweather.com get 5 million uniques a month on the mobile web making them one of the 15 most popular mobile sites in the U.S.
But weather is also a different beast than many online resources. Instead of one user who visits 500 times in a month, a typical Accuweather viewer may only return five or six times a month. Because of that, the company often positions its inventory according to the weather in different locales.
Accuweather maintains a number of indexes to show if conditions will be good or bad outside and can feed that information to advertisers. Brands can target for migraines and aches and pains seasonally or on specific days of the week.
These features were useful in sending unsold inventory to ad networks, but keeping track of ad network activity became a drain on the company's staff. The company works with a robust roster of ad networks. All the daisy-chaining and negotiating with the networks for maximum yield was starting to strain sales staff.
According to Robert Henry, Accuweather's general manager:
"Our trafficking department was spending a lot of time working with ad networks. We're not the largest weather site out there, so we had a lot of inventory and we weren't filling it with direct sales. We needed to supplement our revenue and some of the ad networks were really time intensive."
Henry says Accuweather's sales team did a good job processing network activity internally. The company was working with an average of 12 ad networks. The biggest drain was on the productivity of Accuweather employees. They were spending time working with ad networks when they could have been spending time selling premium ad space and working with clients.
Last summer, the company started looking for someone to manage their network inventory for them. Henry looked at a few optimization services, including Rubicon Project and Pubmatic. In the end, he found AdMeld's salesforce to be most responsive. Also, he liked their understanding of the publisher side of the business:
"They understood that we are trying to maximize our direct sales. We are trying to supplement our revenue and optimize our site."
He's also a fan of FireMeld, a new web extension from AdMeld that overlays information about ads directly into publishers' browsers and lets them see what network ads are coming from, what sort of CPMs they're getting and whether it's creating a channel conflict. Some of those details are here:
Henry found that feature to be most effective. It helped him see why ads were or weren't working, and take immediate action.
According to Accuweather, it wasn't about ad impressions so much as the rates each click returned them. Since partnering with AdMeld, those rates have increased significantly, and are still growing. The company is now seeing revenue increases on remnant inventory from between 30 and 300% across its web pages. Says Henry:
"Some publishers you can talk to are having experiences in the nickles and dimes doing this on their own. We were getting higher CPMS than that already. But to get this increase, it has been a big benefit."