By Ross Benes

Relying on ad tech vendors is a hard habit for publishers to quit.

Because vendors eat into publishers’ revenue and slow down their pages, pubs are eager to purge them to have more control over their own tech stacks. But even if a publisher has a strong internal tech team that is capable of building its own products to replace third parties, a lot of vendors stay embedded in publishers’ stacks because pubs don’t want to pay engineers to monitor and tweak these products, and they want somewhere to turn for a quick fix whenever there is a malfunction.

“Sometimes I need a neck to throttle when something breaks,” said a publisher head of product requesting anonymity, when asked why his company outsources some of its ad tech.

When deciding whether to build ad tech themselves, publishers make decisions based off their core competencies. A rep from a comScore top 100 pub with a strong video focus said it built products to replace video vendor Brightcove and native-ad vendor Sharethrough because native and video are major parts of this pub’s business model, and the investment would pay off in the long run since the publisher only expects video and native to grow. But the publisher declined to build its own ad server for display inventory.

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There are also ad tech vendors whose products benefit from economies of scale that wouldn’t be possible if a single pub were to go in alone. Purch has a tech team that built its own server-to-server product that it uses to sell all of its programmatic inventory server-side, which is rare among publishers. But it keeps around bad-ad detectors like Ad Lightning and Media Trust because those vendors offer sophisticated detection since they learn from the billions of impressions they analyze across multiple clients, said Purch CTO John Potter.

Read the full article here: https://digiday.com/media/publisher-vendor-habit/

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Ad tech had a mixed year.

Venture capital for ad tech slowed down, while mergers and acquisitions rose. And as fake news became one of the hottest topics in the media industry, it became more apparent than ever that some ad tech companies profited from proliferating fake news while others banked on preventing ads from reaching fake-news sites. But within the diverse industry of ad tech, several companies stood out, for better or for worse.

Here are the biggest winners and losers in ad tech this year.

Winners
Measurement and verification companies
The rise of fake news provided brand safety vendors with an opportunity for some good PR. As dubious content spread rapidly and Facebook continued having measurement errors, companies like Moat, Trust Metrics and Integral Ad Science became more in demand.

“Measurement and verification companies should be having no problem finding interested customers,” said Eric Franchi, co-founder of ad tech firm Undertone.

Purch
The tech network, which publishes Top Ten Reviews and Live Science, expanded its data science team in an effort to improve its commerce strategy. It has also been an early adopter of server-to-server connections, and developed a new reader-engagement score that is meant to replace the timeworn pageview.

“Purch is really one of the few media companies who are investing in proprietary ad tech, and they’re doing it right,” said Todd Garland, CEO of digital ad network BuySellAds.

Read more: http://digiday.com/platforms/ad-tech-winners-losers/

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