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Expert Q&A: Navigating the Monetization Frontier

Despite the rapid growth of FAST and AVOD viewership, advertising dollars have not kept pace, leaving valuable ad inventory unfilled. Since it’s imperative for ad-supported channels to fill all ad spots for maximum yield, content publishers need new sources of differentiated demand to supplement their existing monetization strategies.

In this Expert Q&A with Ria Madrid, VP of Advertising Partnerships for Wurl, we get her thoughts on CTV advertising, strategies for how publishers can successfully monetize their ad-supported content, and how AdPool helps improve ad yield by bringing in differentiated demand.

Q1: Welcome, Ria! Tell us about your background in CTV advertising and your current role at Wurl.

RM: My introduction to the CTV space was when I joined the executive team at Xumo. They were trailblazers in the market offering a purely ad-supported streaming service with the look and feel of linear TV (complete with a channel guide). At the time, the concept of “FAST channels” was still very much in its infancy in terms of advertiser adoption, but beginning to ramp from a consumer standpoint.

The transition to Wurl, a leader in powering the core technology for FAST, was natural for me. My focus remained on building partnerships and maximizing ad revenue for both streamers and publishers. The difference was that I could now bring something truly unique and valuable to the table through AdPool demand.

Today, I have the chance to work directly with the technical masterminds at Wurl. Our goal is to solve industry pain points and maximize ad revenue across our network of more than 3,000 FAST channels.

Q2: In a world where many streamers and publishers interact with the same DSPs and SSPs, what unique advantage does AdPool offer to publishers?

RM: I love this question because it encapsulates why working at Wurl is so exciting! Our proprietary technology, coupled with our unique position within the streaming ecosystem and direct access to mobile marketing budgets, enables Wurl to deliver a differentiated revenue stream not available anywhere else. Wurl’s solutions complement – rather than compete with – our partners’ current monetization strategies and direct sales efforts.

Q3: How does AdPool’s strategy of filling ad spaces through direct deals benefit publishers compared to other market solutions?

RM: Streamers, publishers, and ad-supported CTV services are all faced with a good problem to have: Viewer consumption rates are at an all-time high. The challenge is that demand is still catching up with the rising popularity of FAST and AVOD. 

Streamers and publishers need to maximize fill rates without undercutting the value of their inventory through programmatic exchanges or other non-direct channels. Welcome to the delicate dance between ad yield and price integrity! 

That’s where AdPool comes in. Wurl’s advertising products help advertisers find their ideal audiences through real-time contextual- and performance-based targeting. Our client base is publisher-agnostic, which prevents direct sales conflicts, but also ensures that our AdPool clients have access to differentiated demand that is not otherwise available through programmatic exchanges. 

With AdPool, publishers can boost the earning potential of their ad space by ensuring every ad opportunity is matched with its ideal advertiser – all while keeping viewers engaged and tuned in.

Q4: Last year, AdPool became the official CTV supply for the AppLovin Network. Can you share the impact of this partnership on AdPool publishers?

RM: Absolutely. This is by far the best part about my job! AppLovin is one of the largest app-focused ad tech companies in the world. Their AI-powered user acquisition solution, AppDiscovery, represents $3.5B+ in annual ad spend and offers an ecosystem for publishers and advertisers to transact efficiently at scale. 

With AppLovin’s expansion into CTV through AdPool, our partners benefit from exclusive access to this special network. What sets this demand apart is not just its exclusivity, but also its automated targeting that is based on ROAS performance, rather than app lists or content brands. As AppDiscovery’s AI system learns, it’s able to successfully match the optimal inventory to each advertiser. The better the performance, the more directed demand.

Q5: Why does AdPool require publishers to include specific metadata in the bid stream?

RM: It’s important to note that AppLovin and Wurl adhere to strict privacy standards for all data. Marketers use our AI-driven advertising engine to precisely reach the most engaged audiences that drive the best performance, alleviating the need for manual, human optimization. 

Metadata is required for our AI engine to automate targeting based on performance. The better the metadata, the better our system can optimize toward the advertiser’s target ROAS. This, of course, encourages increased advertiser spend and ultimately, publisher revenue.

Q6: What other common challenges do your customers face as they look to diversify their revenue streams?

RM: One pressing issue is cash flow. Dependable cash flow is valued by streamers of all sizes, but it can be an extremely compelling value-add for smaller companies. Even larger broadcasting networks appreciate the peace of mind of predictable revenue streams. AdPool’s fast payment term (net 15 days) is competitive in the industry, and something that clients of all sizes appreciate, especially when our monetization engine starts increasing their returns!

The best approaches to monetizing content
  • Tap into exclusive demand to unlock new revenue streams
  • Leverage metadata to power increased demand
  • Maintain healthy cash flow with fast payment terms

Q7: As the CTV advertising world evolves, what’s next for AdPool?

RM: Partnership is the cornerstone of Wurl. Serving as the operational backbone for more than 3,000 FAST channels that reach across all streaming services, we offer a unique point of view that enables us to provide integrated product solutions for the CTV industry. Our consultative-style relationships with customers enable Wurl to stay ahead of market trends and continue to deliver cutting-edge monetization solutions.  

We plan to continue innovating in the FAST space – there are a few things lined up for 2024 that we’re excited to share soon!

Q8: Considering your industry expertise, why should FAST publishers consider adding AdPool to their monetization plan?

RM: It’s simple from my perspective. AdPool offers so much more than just a platform – it represents an integrated monetization partnership for FAST publishers to maximize ad yield. Our continuous drive to evolve, adapt, and deliver solutions that are aligned with the changing needs and aspirations of our partners is always paramount.

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