The Washington Post drops slow ad tech partners

Dive Brief:

  • The Washington Post has started cutting ties with ad tech vendors who can't meet a standard load time, according to a report in Digiday, with the idea being that partners who don't meet that load time criterion are slowing its site down. 
  • The Washington Post declined to name the vendors it's cut and how many it's working with now, but Jarrod Dicker, the publisher's head of ad product and technology, told Digiday its reliance on vendors has decreased "significantly" over the past year. 
  • The Post is also relying less on third-parties in part because it has developed and launched a number of its own advertising products, though it will continue to work with outside partners as it looks to attract and retain advertisers at scale.

Dive Insight:

Poor or slow user experience is well known as a primary reason people adopt ad blocking technology or abandon publisher sites altogether, so The Post's culling of sluggish vendors make sense.

Another element getting more mindshare from publishers is the mobile experience, as more readers turn to devices like smartphones for their news, making a seamless, speedy presentation essential. Google is addressing the need for faster experiences on mobile with its AMP program and Facebook offers something similar in Instant Articles. 

Digiday’s reporting used Ghostery data on ad tags found on six major publishers' websites and found that The Post had the fewest at just over 20. The LA Times topped the list with more than 80 ad tags.

The Post's moves also come at a rocky time in terms of publishers' relations with ad tech vendors. U.K.-based The Guardian is currently suing independent ad tech player Rubicon Project, alleging it did not disclose buyer fees on its ad inventory, highlighting the lack of transparency in the space.

The Post has also been trying to innovate more with its proprietary advertising products and formats. In February, it announced a  highly personalized, multimedia-driven branded content ad unit called "Post Cards." 

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