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Finance is the new marketing: Why some ad tech companies are paying publishers early

Digiday 04 Aug 2020 04:01
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August 4, 2020 by Lara O'Reilly

Back in March as the coronavirus crisis was rapidly taking a grip around the world, I wrote that “finance is the new creative” as CFOs were forced to seek new liquidity avenues to prevent their businesses from facing a cash crunch. Now — for a handful of ad tech companies at least — finance has become the new marketing.

In a move that’s part customer service, part-flex, some ad tech companies have been offering to pay their publisher clients early. PubMatic, for example, paid all its publishers three days early for the entire second quarter. In July, fellow supply-side platform TripleLift also began paying its publishers three days early.

Lengthening payment terms and late payments have plagued the digital ad industry for years. Like so many other aspects of business, the coronavirus crisis accelerated an existing trend. Digiday research published in June found 62% of publishers were experiencing late payment problems.

As many marketers reined in their spending — at least in the earlier throes of the pandemic — publishers became highly scrutinous of their ad tech vendors. Again, nothing new here. “Sequential liability” has become a Voldemort-like utterance in the volatile ad market. It’s a risk that was hammered home by the high-profile bankruptcy of demand-side platform Sizmek, which left many publishers out of pocket. Nobody wants to be stuck holding the baby again. Cognizant of these concerns, SSPs including PubMatic, OpenX and Triplift recently and insurance plans to cover any potential DSP failures as the coronavirus crisis wore on.

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LewinePubMaticSizmekTripliftJeffrey Hirsch
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