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What Publishers Need to Know About Google's Multiple Customer Management Program

August 30, 2021

The ad tech industry continually evolves as new technologies are introduced, and publisher and advertiser expectations change. One of the latest changes is by Google. The search giant announced that it’s phasing out Scaled Partner Management (SPM) and introducing a new system to replace it, Multiple Customer Management (MCM).

What does this switch mean for publishers and advertisers who use Google Ad Exchange and the SPM system? Read on to find the answers. In this article, we’ll go over:

  • Scaled Partner Management.
  • Multiple Customer Management.
  • The different authorization levels within MCM.
  • Why MCM is replacing SPM.
  • How to make the switch between the platforms.

Before explaining the transition, it’s essential to understand why Google has decided to introduce MCM and why SPM is no longer the best option for publishers.

What is Scaled Partner Management (SPM)?

While Google Ad Exchange is highly popular amongst publishers, not everyone can access the program on their own. To qualify for AdX, you need to have a Google Ad Manager account and over 5 million page views every month – goals that aren’t easy to meet for newer and small to midsize sites. As an answer to the problem, Google created the Scaled Partner Management program or SPM.

The SPM program allows publishers, known as child publishers, to access Exchange through larger partners, known as parent publishers. That allowed these smaller sites to monetize their ad space through an already established account, often using their management services to optimize their ads while gaining more advertisers. Unfortunately, child publishers can’t see how their inventory is being managed or what portion of the revenue they receive.

As of July 2021, the SPM program has been gradually depreciated and replaced with the new Multiple Customer Management system, or MCM.

What is the Multiple Customer Management (MCM) Platform?

In many ways, Multiple Customer Management is similar to Scaled Partner Management. However, there are several key differences between the two. Like SPM, MCM allows smaller child publishers to work with larger third-party partners, allowing them to access and manage your ad inventory.

For example, if you’re the child publisher, you can give an approved partner like Rev·Amp permission to manage your ad space and monetize it through AdX.

Notably:

  • The parent publisher must be an approved MCM Google Partner who has fulfilled strict qualifying criteria. That makes the process more trustworthy as you’ll be working with reputable third parties while fighting against invalid traffic, click spam, and other similar problems.
  • Parent publishers can also help you gain access to other avenues of revenue through MCM, including open bidding auctions, preferred deals, and programmatic direct.
  • The child publisher can dictate the authorization level and access the parent publisher has to their account. These authorization levels are Manage Inventory and Manage Account.

It’s this last change that publishers should pay particular attention to.

What is Manage Account?

The Manage Account authorization level means that, as the child publisher, you’re giving your partner access to your account and all the related ad inventory. It becomes their responsibility to monetize all the websites under your account.

Here are the key points of which to take note:

  • Your Multiple Customer Management partner will gain full access to your AdX account.
  • You will still be able to use your own Google Ad Manager tags.
  • You and the parent publisher will agree on a revenue share ranging from 0% - 100%. That percentage will be applied to all the properties in your account.
  • Google will automatically send the correct payments to you and your partner based on your initial agreement.
  • You can only work with a single MCM partner.

Essentially, you’ll be working with a single approved partner, and they will manage, optimize, and sell the ad inventory for all the properties or sites linked to your Ad Manager account. However, you’ll still be able to see exactly what your partner does with your inventory.

What is Manage Inventory?

The Manage Inventory authorization level limits the access parent publishers have to your account. It’s a slightly more complex way of managing your ad inventory since you’ll be the one delegating what your MCM partners can access and monetize.

A few key things to note:

  • You need to delegate a portion of your Exchange ad inventory to a parent publisher. They’ll have access only to that portion, but you won’t be able to see or manage the settings they apply.
  • You can work with up to 15 MCM parent publishers.
  • Google will pay revenue to the parent publisher. They will then pay you.
  • The partners won’t be able to access your account at all.
  • You need to use the Google Ad Manager tags provided by your parent publishers.

There are certain benefits to both of these authorization levels, but you need to evaluate your options to choose one that fits your needs.

Why is Google Replacing SPM with MCM?

There are a few reasons why Google’s decided to depreciate SPM and replace it with the newer Multiple Customer Management system:

  • It creates a new, more effective, transparent environment for both child and parent publishers.
  • It’s easier to add new features to the MCM.
  • MCM gives publishers the ability to manage different levels of permissions and ad management features.

MCM provides significantly more features while also giving child publishers more control over their ad inventory. The goal is to create a better partnership between publishers and their larger partners, creating an open and efficient environment.

Making the Switch from SPM to MCM

Making the switch from SPM to MCM is an excellent idea for small to midsize publishers. However, you’ll need to consider your options based on your current situation.

If you’re already working with an SPM parent publisher, find out if they’re planning to make the move to MCM or if they’ve already begun to do so. If that’s the case, moving over to MCM is very simple. Once the partner has moved onto the new model, they can send you an invitation. All you need to do is accept it. It’s a good idea to do so as soon as possible since Google’s timeline indicates that the SPM will be phased out entirely by September 2021.

If you’re working with a monetization partner, ensure that they are approved to receive an MCM account. Not all SPM users will automatically transition to MCM since Google will evaluate all partners’ performance before approving their move.

If you don’t have a partner yet, the same applies. Look for one who is approved as an MCM partner.

Conclusion

Scaled Partner Management has been a valuable tool for publishers and advertisers. However, the new features and additional benefits that come with Multiple Customer Management are undeniable. The new system promotes trustworthy partners and best practices while providing transparency throughout the advertising chain. Whether you’re currently working with a parent publisher or looking for a new monetization partner, ensure that you choose to work with one that’s approved for MCM.

is a Strategic Partnership Manager at Softonic. As Strategic Partnership Manager, Maria is responsible for identifying strategic publishers and help them optimize their site for maximum yield as well as being on the constant lookout for opportunities to improve monetization capabilities.
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