The perception of RTB has evolved. At first, it was mainly considered an opportunity to monetize remnant inventory with programmatic buying. Now it’s seen as a great chance for publishers to increase revenues by best allocating their entire inventory to the most rewarding demand sources, without compromising their engagements with direct advertisers.

The “holistic yield” approach has become trendy, but it’s still massively misunderstood and underrated.

What is holistic yield management and why does it drive significantly more revenue?

The answer to this question is clearly explained in our new video, “Smart AdServer presents the holistic yield”.

This video features an ad op, Bart, who tests two platforms to sort out which one provides the most effective approach to generate revenue. The first is a traditional SSP plugged onto his ad server, and the second is a fully-integrated ad serving + RTB platform.

Why does a fully integrated platform allow for a better sale of inventory to the right audience? Why does it improve monetization?

Yield management in advertising is a traditional approach aimed at maximizing publishers’ overall revenue by finding the best possible supply allocation (inventory) to traditional demand sources (performance and direct campaigns).

Before the notion of holistic yield management was developed, yield was optimized per segment, meaning programmatic and direct sales were optimized separately.

The Greek word “Holos” in Greek means “whole”, “entire” or “global”, and for our purposes, holistic means the simultaneous review of all demand sources – performance networks, direct buyers and programmatic – as a whole to assess which provides the best opportunity for each impression.


Like airline companies’ booking systems, which aim to maximize both flight occupancy rates and average ticket prices according to demand distribution, holistic yield management aims to maximize both overall fill rates and eCPM, and, therefore, overall revenue.

Several criteria are taken into account to determine which is the best demand source for each impression, so it’s not all about the highest price offered (eCPM or bid). The holistic approach also considers forecast inventory (if the system chooses to serve an RTB impression now, will the publisher be able to deliver his booked campaigns in full and on time?) and targeting criteria for niche audience-triggered impressions.

Why doesn’t your current SSP enable you to holistically manage your yield?

A publisher needs a single, fully integrated tech platform be able to holistically manage yield with a complete vision of the available inventory.

The RTB platform provides only a partial perspective, as does the ad server. Without integration, each platform functions with blinders. As sophisticated as these telescopes may be, they are still telescopes, with a narrow field of vision.

People are often mistaken. It’s commonly understood that an RTB platform by default enables publishers to make part of their inventory available to real-time demand, and let several real-time advertisers compete.


What’s less understood is that an RTB platform doesn’t have the default flexibility to choose the best demand source to be served on a per impression basis. Such a platform can’t make a decision according to selected criteria between guaranteed, programmatic and performance/ad network channels.

Actually, with an SSP platform, the demand sources are set sequentially and by priority level. No matter what happens, demand sources are systematically called, one after another, in the same preselected order, for a sequence of impressions. The platform would often deliver a full sequence of impressions to the same demand source. This is what Bart realizes in the first part of the video.


Does the holistic approach drive significantly more publisher revenue?


Your current SSP sequential ad server is selling you short of significant revenue.

What if your platform could take advantage of full integration within the ad serving engine, putting to use its global vision of inventory?

What if it could better allocate and provide an improved global fill rate after having taken into account the forecast? It would no longer miss opportunities and it would deliver more RTB impressions without compromising premium deals with direct advertisers.

Publishers often realize too late that their programmatic fill rate could have been better. When there is no buyer interested in bidding above their floor price, they lose programmatic impressions. If they had a more flexible platform, it would be able to attribute these impressions to more secure, guaranteed channels, resulting in better monetization.


We’ve confirmed this through tests, such as the one Bart made in our video, which resulted in a 230% increase in programmatic revenue and +30% in global revenue. Take a look at a similar test that was done in  a fictional scenario by Adopsinsider:



These fictional scenarios have also been proven by experience: Antevenio’s eCPM rose 20% using Smart AdServer RTB+ after having switched from an SSP platform.