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HomeAdvertisingWhen Header Bidding Acquired Too Complicated, Freecycle Discovered Simplicity In Managed Companies

When Header Bidding Acquired Too Complicated, Freecycle Discovered Simplicity In Managed Companies

What occurs when your fundamental monetization associate begins flagging your content material as spam?

Simply ask Freecycle.

The Freecycle Community is a web-based neighborhood that helps folks donate still-usable gadgets to maintain refuse out of landfills. Customers publish listings of the issues they wish to give away, which makes Freecycle a writer of kinds.

Though Freecycle is a nonprofit, it depends on promoting for between 30% and 50% of its annual working finances, and its complete advert enterprise is programmatic, mentioned Deron Beal, Freecycle’s founder and govt director.

The corporate solely has one full-time engineer on workers who handles backend internet growth in addition to overseeing the positioning’s digital advert enterprise.

Freecycle launched in 2003 as a listing of native Listserv teams, and its web site now attracts 10 to fifteen million web page views monthly.

Beginning in 2009, Google AdSense grew to become Freecycle’s main associate for monetizing its visitors, and for years its AdSense income was “greater than sufficient to maintain [us] going,” Beal mentioned. The AdSense service additionally basically ran itself, he added, which freed the corporate’s lone engineer to concentrate on operating the web site.

However round 2016, AdSense started flagging Freecycle for spam and fraud violations at a better charge than ever earlier than, Beal mentioned.

Freecycle permits nameless customers to publish listings at no cost stuff, that are then promoted through emails that may generally get caught up in spam filters. Beal theorizes {that a} coverage change round 2016 made AdSense’s spam filters extra delicate to Freecycle’s operations, though Freecycle was by no means capable of totally decide why its website was being singled out.

Every time Freecycle was flagged as a possible spammer, AdSense would utterly demonetize the positioning.


It grew to become clear that relying so closely on a single monetization associate was an issue.

In 2017, Freecycle turned to header bidding, which was comparatively new available on the market on the time, to scale back its reliance on AdSense.

Nevertheless, the corporate’s one-person engineering workforce had hassle managing the header-bidding system and the fixed stream of Prebid updates on high of internet growth duties, Beal mentioned. This activity generally is a problem for a lot of smaller, impartial publishers.

By early 2021, because of difficulties monetizing through AdSense and header bidding, Freecycle’s advert income had dropped by about 70% in comparison with its historic averages, in keeping with Beal.

Freecycle had partnered with a handful of tech distributors because it carried out header bidding, however finally determined that turning its advert enterprise round would require handing over administration of the header-bidding system to one in all these vendor companions, Beal mentioned.

Managed service

In August 2021, Freecycle in the end determined handy over the reins to PubWise, an end-to-end programmatic optimization platform for publishers.

Beforehand, PubWise had been offering Freecycle with header-bidding analytics and entry to Google AdX by way of the Google A number of Buyer Administration (MCM) Program, mentioned PubWise Founder and CTO Stephen Johnston.

Now, PubWise manages Freecycle’s complete programmatic advert enterprise, together with header bidding and AdX. Since handing management to PubWise, Freecycle’s advert income is up 300%, its CPMs are up 59% and its fill charges are up 23%, Johnston mentioned. PubWise’s minimize is 20% of Freecycle’s header-bidding income and 10% of its AdX income.

PubWise bundles the Prebid configuration right into a centralized platform akin to Google Advert Supervisor, giving publishers a well-recognized window into marketing campaign efficiency, Johnston mentioned. PubWise additionally affords machine-learning-based demand path optimization, and the corporate’s consultants work with Freecycle and its demand-side companions to zero in on profitable advert placements and campaigns, he mentioned.

For Freecycle, the best-performing adverts are typically within the house enchancment, house and backyard and journey verticals. “The viewers is clearly aware of reuse and lowering landfill quantity, and they’re extra broadly typically engaged on a mission at house or round the home,” Johnston mentioned.

With programmatic income again on observe, Freecycle has tasked PubWise with rising its direct gross sales enterprise. Johnston and Beal declined to share the present income cut up between direct gross sales and open-web programmatic.

PubWise can also be accountable for insulating Freecycle’s advert enterprise from the sign loss issues plaguing digital promoting. For instance, Freecycle has been testing ID options together with ID5, The Commerce Desk’s Unified ID 2.0 and Prebid’s SharedID, in addition to contextual focusing on options just like the IAB Tech Lab’s Vendor-Outlined Audiences.

“Freecycle could be very aware of consumer expertise, so we’re targeted on enriching the context accessible to advertisers [rather] than loading on extra in-page tech,” Johnston mentioned.

With the accountability for operating the advert enterprise off its plate, Freecycle has been focusing extra consideration on launching a devoted cellular app, which has been an organization aim for a while, Beal mentioned.

Freecycle plans to duplicate its web site advert expertise within the app, he mentioned, which is able to create a completely new income stream for the nonprofit.



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