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Ad Lightning’s Interview with Monetization Platform Setupad


July 1, 2021


Six months ago, we partnered with Setupad and replaced their legacy ad quality solution to improve their coverage against bad ads. Needs in the market had changed, and they were looking for a tool that stopped redirects and blocked unwanted content.

Our partnership has grown quickly, and we wanted to sit down with their head of ad operations, Alvils Karlštrems, to reflect on what we've accomplished together.


Q: What has surprised you the most about the digital advertising/publishing landscape in the past 6-12 months?

Alvils: At the start of the pandemic, our client reports showed some ad revenue drop because advertisers bought impressions for lower prices or didn't bid on ad inventories at all. We also saw that even though there was a pandemic, advertisers still spent most of their ad budgets during the holiday season (Black Friday, Christmas, Cyber Monday) and became quieter at the beginning of the year.

Even though last year was quite challenging for many advertisers and publishers, thanks to new ad formats in the industry with higher CPM prices, publishers managed to balance the losses, and some even increased their ad revenue.

Q: What ad quality problems did you experience before working with Ad Lightning?

Alvils: We have connected multiple header bidding partners, and each of them has different ways of filtering ads. Some advertisers find ways to squeeze through those filters. They might redirect to a new site, show low-quality ads, or change advertisement categories to similar ones just to not be blocked. It is not always easy to react before it happens, but Ad Lightning helps catch these bad players before we allow them on our websites, saving us time and resources.


Q: We’re always happy to help, but we are curious what specifically has made Ad Lightning the best option for these ad quality problems?

Alvils: In partnerships, you have to build trust, so you can rely on the partner's provided services and products you pay for and get the best possible outcome, and Ad Lightning has earned our trust. The implementation is easy, and the tools in the dashboard are easy to apply and utilize. Also, the Ad Lightning support team has been very helpful, fast, and knowledgeable every step of the way.

Ad Lightning does a great job blocking the bad scripts and viruses and showing what was initially supposed to be displayed, therefore making the user and publisher happy.We implemented Ad Lightning to our sites in October 2020. Since then, we have not received a single complaint on the sites where it is added. We save a lot of time for our customers by doing what we do best—increasing publishers' ad revenue by serving high-quality advertisements.

Q: Have your ad quality concerns changed over the past year?

Alvils: Our concerns haven’t changed regarding ad quality—we still value ad quality highly. People are spending their time on the Internet more than ever before, so it has become critical to protect the users by blocking bad ads. For Setupad, it's essential to ensure a safe user experience with our served ads. We achieved this by partnering with Ad Lightning and utilizing SSPs and Ad Exchanges strong filters to avoid bad advertisements.

Additionally, for our clients, Setupad Google Chrome Extension allows users to report bad ads. Our data show that these efforts have led to a drop in low-quality ads presented to our clients.

Q: The transition at the start of the pandemic was hard for everyone, but as we exit quarantine, what do you anticipate to be the most critical issue to solve in the next year?

Alvils: We have to cut bad advertisements off at the source: their creators. The more bad ads are blocked, the stronger the filters should get. Introducing more AI would have a tremendous impact on this process. AI can learn what has been blocked and apply those standards to new advertisers. Most importantly, we need SSPs to catch the bad ads before serving them to users; AI could greatly help with that.

Q: Do you have any predictions for the upcoming year? What are you looking forward to for your business?

Alvils: The programmatic industry is changing, so we spend a lot of time just staying up to date technology-wise. There will be many changes in the upcoming two years on how publishers manage their ad inventories. We are here to educate about the most up-to-date solutions and help publishers implement them.

Setupad is currently innovating on the server-side auction, and we believe that those server-side connections will be essential in upcoming years. As well as for analytics with valuable insights and suggestions on how to improve your website's "success formula." Setupad is on the path to slowly shift its business to a SaaS model that will allow publishers to serve ads faster by not compromising websites' loading speed.


It was illuminating to sit down with our partners at Setupad and discuss how they have handled the changes over the last year and a half. We are looking forward to continuing to provide them with the most up-to-date tools and insights for the best in bad ad protection. At Ad Lightning, we are eager to see how the next few years will play out in the online advertising ecosystem as we take control in the fight for ad quality.

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