Sovrn Holdings was founded in January 2014 and as such a lot has changed since then. This is an updated Sovrn review for publishers as of August 2017.
Sovrn: Providing insights, audience access and advertising solutions for publishers.
Formerly known as Federated Media and Lijit, Sovrn Holdings was founded in January 2014 after Federated Media Publisher’s sales section was bought by LLN Media. The new advertising arm of the company was launched under the name of Sovrn Holdings. Barely ten months after its launch Sovrn had such a great track record that Quantcast dubbed it as the 4th largest network in the advertising industry.
At present, Sovrn is a US based CPM ad network. As per their recent statistics, the ad network serves over 20,000 publishers across the globe. One of the most attractive features that draw publishers to Sovrn network is its analytics tool that tells publishers the amount of traffic flowing to their sites and how engaging each piece of content is. The ad network relies on such information along with the site’s main keywords to deliver their ad inventory. They uphold the simple concept of great content coupled with a decent amount of traffic always attracts more advertisers. A site with reliable US traffic always earns a good income from Sovrn advertisers. Sites with non-US traffic also do well although with a slight variation in eCPM rates.
Publishers can take advantage of the network’s advanced analytical tools to get a deeper insight of their audience and determine which areas need improvement to increase their conversion rates. The company even includes a few third party SEO tools for publishers that are not that useful.
Sovrn is also well known for having a diverse range of products and ad types. They have different options for different platforms including WordPress and Joomla. Publishers have access to different ad formats too including the following:
Another great advantage of working with Sovrn is the fact that publishers can easily set a desired eCPM rate for ads published on their sites. If the network does not have ads in your eCPM settings, you can use back up ads such as Google Adsense as passback ads. As a publisher, you benefit in both ways. You’ll either show Sovrn or your passback ads on your site at all times for 100% fill.
Many publishers are drawn to Sovrn because of its low minimum payout threshold of just $25. They pay on a NET 30 basis via the following options:
The company covers Paypal fees that would have otherwise charged the publishers. Publishers can always change their payment options any time they want. The network doesn’t require publishers to file tax information.
Acceptance to join the network depends on the type of content you publish on your site. Sovrn reviews each application keenly before approval. If your site contains objectionable or inappropriate content, your application will be rejected. They don’t have a minimum amount of traffic to join their program but you’ll need to ensure that your site contains high quality content that attracts quality traffic.
Overall rating: 2.5 out of 5
What we like most about Sovrn: They are header bid compatible.
What we liked least about Sovrn: The recent news about Sovrn laying staff off, pushing request CPM charges and not paying out for their affiliate program. It seems Sovrn has hit hard times and is making drastic moves to reach profitability at the expense of publishers.
Sovrn publishers use the Meridian Platform which enables them to see daily ad revenue stats. The platform provides publishers with a complete suite of tools that can be used to earn via display, video, and mobile ads on their sites. You get everything you need to enhance your performance in the Meridian platform from header bidding, VPAID and VAST video to OnScroll InView ads. It is a cross-platform for efficient content distribution.
Meridian is integrated with many major advertisers across the globe. It helps you access numerous advertisers and compare your site’s performance in real-time. It helps you analyze different advertisers from a single dashboard. The platform is designed to give you a clear view of your audience from the buyer’s point of view with useful insights from Quantcast and other sources of global traffic data.
The Sovrn mobile ad manager is also available for those who use a WordPress plugin called WP Touch. The plugin gives you the ability to create instant mobile sites. In Joomla it goes by the name JMobile.
Display Ad Unit Sizes Available at Sovrn: Mobile and desktop widgets as well as widgets for headers and sidebars.
There are also other types of widgets at Sovrn including the following:
Sovrn Reporting rating: 3.5 out of 5
Sovrn has a detailed dashboard that gives publishers an insight into their overall performance on a daily, weekly, or last 30 days basis. There are several options you can use to check earnings, CPM or fill rates. You even get to know which ad unit is performing well straight from the fairly intuitive dashboard.
The reporting section shows you graphical representations ad requests, impressions, and earnings for a period of 30 days. You also get demographic statistics such as gender, age, and income of your visitors. The dashboard further shows tag performance. These are useful metrics that you can use to understand which ads best suit your website. The reports are broken down into two categories; Domestic for US and International for the rest of the world. The organization of the interface is a bit odd. It takes many clicks to get to total ad revenue, ad impressions and CPM. The default US stats can be confused for total stats.
Sovrn Payment Rating: 2 out of 5
The payment options are plentiful, however, the payment reliability is the greatest concern. Publishers have complained of late payments and they are notorious for avoiding payments for their affiliate program. Recent news of significant layoffs, lack of profitability and concern from the employees lead to concern of future payments to publishers.
Account Help Rating: 2 out of 5
After the layoffs, support has taken a serious dip and shows no sign of improving.
With over 20,000 publishers in its fold, Sovrn has a large portfolio but most seem to be small sites via their standard waterfall ad tag setup. The network attracts thousands of publishers primarily because of its header bid solution which helps publishers improve performance of their campaigns. Their simple mantra is good content and reliable traffic attracts more advertisers. So it is important to have decent content in your site before you even plan on applying for an account. If you plan on implementing header bidding (All publishers with over 5 million page views should), Sovrn is an OK option if you cannot get approved by other header bid networks and you are willing to take the financial risk.
The ad network has a wide selection of ad types too. They provide a range of ad formats that you can implement on your WordPress or Joomla site. Display options for desktop and tablet platforms include standard IAB sizes such as 300×250, 160×600, 300×600, and the traditional 728×90. CPM rates for US can deliver as much as $2 while the floor rate is basically $0.50 but tend to get low fill rates. On header bidding, you tend to get low win rates and mediocre CPMs. Sovrn’s win rates tend to be higher for US traffic.
There are only two mobile ad sizes: 300×250 and 320×50. Mobile performance at Sovrn performs much worse than desktop performance. Their mobile CPM ranges between $0.3 and $1 with a floor price of $0.30. If you’d like to do a little testing to get to know the market better, it is recommended you target US or CA geos. On header bidding, you’ll get lower win rates and CPMs.
If you have a header bid setup or plan on it, Sovrn would be worth checking out once you exhaust the top 20 ad networks. They have decent analytics tools and an OK interface. A great thing about payment at Sovrn is their low $25 minimum payout threshold which is good for publishers learning the ropes in the ad industry. However, publishers should be wary about the recent issues Sovrn has been having with profitability and unreliable payments to publishers and affiliates.
Overall, Sovrn Holdings was a decent choice for publishers but it seems they’ve hit hard times. They’ve had to make large layoffs due to their lack of profitability. Publishers have complained about late payments and affiliate have complained about no payments even though they have sent many converted leads. Their employees have expressed some major concerns about the current status and future of the company.
We recommend to stay away from Sovrn to avoid non-payments in an industry that has seen a lot of consolidation and unpaid ad revenues due to ad networks not being able to make ends meet. Instead, we recommend for publishers to check out higher quality ad networks that have been thriving in the age of header bidding.