Anna Hewitt
3 min read

SPO Playbook: Why Supply Path Optimization Matters

Note: This post originally appeared on the Rubicon Project website.

This is the second in a series of articles on Supply Path Optimization (SPO).

Part one: How to Achieve Better Buyer Outcomes with Supply Path Optimization.

Don’t Wait

Fortune favors marketers who embrace Supply Path Optimization. The sooner they adopt SPO, the sooner they’ll benefit from greater buying power – much the same way that other marketers are capitalizing on SPO.

SPO enables marketers to consolidate their budgets on the paths that maximize their buying power. In blending SPO into their supply strategy, buyers focus their spend on a few key exchanges that offer them transparent, low cost access to the inventory that matters most to their business.

The Industry Has Shifted. So Should You.

How did we get here – to the point where SPO became such an important and pressing need? 

Programmatic supply dynamics have shifted dramatically over the span of a few years. In the early days of programmatic, exchanges often had preferred or exclusive relationships with publishers. Buying through an exchange meant getting access to unique supply. So the smart supply strategy in those days was: a) add as many exchanges as possible; and b) setup campaigns to “select all” exchanges. 

Fast forward to today: header bidding has changed everything. It democratized access to inventory, but it also made the “select all” strategy obsolete. Now, most major exchanges offer a buyer access to essentially the same supply. Buyers who continue to select dozens of redundant exchanges aren’t adding unique inventory to their campaigns, they’re only increasing the complexity of their buying paths.

This is where SPO offers critical help – enabling buyers to optimize both their buying paths and supply partnerships. SPO allows them to zero in on the buying paths that are low cost, transparent, and high quality; to reduce resellers that only add extra cost and extra hops; and to fully leverage the tools, technology, and innovation of their key exchange partners. In other words, SPO helps you increase your buying power.

Buying Paths Matter

Buying paths matter – because some paths create vastly more buying power than others. 

Certain buying paths offer low exchange fees that create higher working media for buyers. Other paths do not. Certain exchange paths offer powerful buyer-specific tools and technologies that amplify working media even further. These capabilities might include sophisticated bid shading (that prevents buyers from overpaying) or algorithmic traffic shaping (that maximize campaign reach and delivery). Other paths do not. 

A select few exchange paths, like Rubicon Project, provide both: low fees and powerful buyer tools. The combination of the two give these exchange partners the potential to magnify a marketer’s working media and buying power to even higher levels. Embracing SPO and consolidating media spend onto these paths should help buyers achieve stronger advertiser performance and better business outcomes.

How To Approach SPO

The next natural question is: how do I make SPO real for my business? We recommend buyers break SPO down into bite-sized pieces and tackle it in phases. We’ll address that topic in the next installment of this series.

Rubicon Project is happy to help you get started with SPO. Please contact us to schedule a full review of The SPO Playbook and a deeper consultation on your SPO needs. And stay tuned for future articles covering the important topic of Supply Path Optimization.

Missed our last post?  Check out SPO Playbook:  How to Achieve Better Buyer Outcomes with Supply Path Optimization

Learn How to Tackle SPO in our final post of the series.