The Relationships, Stupid! Why Do They Matter More Than Ever Before?

business-relations programmatic Yieldbird monetisation ad revenue

A few months ago I read that meaningful relationships in online advertising matter much more than ever before due to the programmatic shift. 

To be honest, it sounded like a very general sentence that can be used and reused in various business articles. Sure, networking matters. But why more than before? Well, that has a lot to do with the automation of advertising.

Relationships are invisible when everything’s fine but invaluable when something goes wrong

Few days later I spoke to a guy from one of the larger agencies. He buys inventory from one of our premium publishers. At Yieldbird, we were supporting this publisher with all of their programmatic activities: yield management, consultancy, troubleshooting, etc.

And our collaboration was still in its early days. So I made a call and met with this agency guy to review some active deals.

As it turns out, some of the deals were not working. At all. They got some traffic earlier on, but had since been dead for weeks. Only a few (10%) were working well. So we started talking and I then realized why relationships in digital advertising matter now so much more than ever before.

The reason is simple: if someone isn’t getting the results they want, there is always another premium publisher out there. Helping an agency buyer deliver a campaign is just expected. Some problems with AppNexus / DBM connection? Problems with the deal configuration? Under-delivery?

For advertisers, it’s not a problem –  there is always another PMP or open market they can use. And they can (and will) expect that they perform better because of the lack of technical issues.

The good old times are gone

If a DSP guy doesn’t know an SSP guy and a campaign under delivers, the DSP guy will simply switch inventory and forget his old PMP. To prevent it, relationships are required. Only when such a relationship is already established will one of the guys contact the other and work on fixing the problem.

In old fashion sales, things were looking slightly different because of commitment. Buyers were buying an agreed number of impressions per an agreed price, creating a commitment. If something was not working, both sides worked together to solve it.

And it was much harder for buyers to find alternative solutions.

So yes. If you are a publisher and do something more than open market, relationships matter much more than ever before. If a buyer gets to know a seller, they can just call, email, or skype each other to solve problems. It’s simply easier and cheaper than finding another solution. 

At the end of the day, it all comes down to money.

Marcin Ekiert is the co-founder and CEO of Yieldbird. Learn more about Marcin and his experience at


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This article was originally published on Nov 17, 2016.

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