Likely, the first question out of publishers mouths following this morning’s announcement from SAS was "Who?" But the short story is, a giant in business analytics and workflow management has entered the ad delivery field, through a strategic acquisition. And it has already signed some big-ticket customers for its SAS Intelligent Advertising for Publishers delivery solution.
SAS is a leader in business analytics software and services which since 1976 has done what new ad platforms try to do—forecasting, data mining and visualization, and real-time reporting. But their customer base has been largely the corporate world. Its more than 55,000 installations include Dow Chemical, AstraZeneca and T-Mobile USA.
In just February, SAS acquired aiMatch, a Raleigh, NC-based online ad technology provider. It too provided data mining and visualization and real-time reporting, but for online ad products, plus the ability to manage ad inventory.
However competitive the ad delivery field, SAS saw a gap. It described the need for publishers as being that “Current methods for managing and selling ad inventory aren't keeping pace. Publishers have been juggling multiple tools to manage targeting, market research, inventory analysis, workflow, sales performance and more.” The company describes SAS Intelligent Advertising for Publishers as the “antidote to this piecemeal approach.”
Already, the company has signed Live365.com and Photobucket for the service.
Janet Ryan, Head of Sales at Live365.com, (the internet radio network) undertook a rigorous selection process before choosing the SAS solution to replace legacy ad servers. "Standard ad servers no longer supply what's required to profit from selling advertising," said Ryan. "SAS goes beyond the industry standard, enabling us to optimize revenue from advertisers."
Photobucket, the website for storing, editing and sharing photos and videos, uses SAS Intelligent Advertising for Publishers to manage interactions with advertisers, sales performance and yield. "Having business intelligence, sales performance management, forecasting and delivery insights together in one easy-to-use system has significantly improved our ability to manage and maximize the value of our inventory," said Darren Kelly, Chief Revenue Officer at Photobucket.
SAS Intelligent Advertising for Publishers includes the Exchange Manager module that helps publishers understand which inventory is the most valuable to exchanges, and how to allocate it intelligently so no revenue is sacrificed. With Exchange Manager publishers can set floor prices on categories of inventory and accept bids for premium inventory only when certain floors are met. The ability to set floors and cascade different overall price-points for inventory allows publishers to control pricing and yield. SAS Intelligent Advertising for Publishers provides an in-depth understanding of which products and audiences generate the most revenue through different sales channels, and an overall picture of directly negotiated sales yield and partner channel sales yield. This data provides rich insights into how best to package future inventory.
Other modules in SAS Intelligent Advertising for Publishers include:
- Data Management – Integrating third-party providers and common ad-delivery engines often creates data leakage and technical problems. SAS Intelligent Advertising for Publishers avoids issues by storing sales and delivery data in one place, accessed through a single interface. Ad servers log ad request data on every impression, store user behavior sessions across all properties, and log data correlation to create accurate forecasts. SAS Intelligent Advertising for Publishers also incorporates historical data for better insight into businesses and audiences.
- Simulation-Based Forecasting – SAS Intelligent Advertising for Publishers links forecasting and fulfillment, providing decision and delivery systems an accurate availability picture that includes all product packaging and delivery rules. Publishers know both what they have to sell and that they can actually fulfill it.
- Ad Server with Optimization – Only insights that can be acted upon translate into revenue. SAS' flexible and scalable decision engine prioritizes and optimizes competing business models to assign delivery rules that best match customers' needs. Advanced delivery options empower companies to act immediately on decisions.
- Reporting – Dashboards help publishers monitor sales performance and rate-card adherence. Detailed views identify revenue trends by product, salesperson and advertiser.
- Data Visualization – SAS Intelligent Advertising for Publishers delivers intelligence on campaign delivery, inventory availability or placement, historical performance or products with simple and elegant imagery. SAS data visualization tools help individuals see and comprehend data in an illustrative, easy-to-understand way.