It’s no news that programmatic has been experiencing tremendous growth over the last years. Much of this growth can be attributed to more premium players, as well as more premium inventory, entering the realm of programmatic. Yet, with these premium players, came new requirements that have changed the programmatic landscape.
Out-of-the-box thinking is often the driver that differentiates premium publishers from the pack, and therefore it is no surprise that they often require an exchange to adopt a similar mentality. Premium publishers cannot abide by a simple plug-and-play approach and require white-glove service, with teams that can come together to tackle the unique challenges every platform presents. Be it customization to suit their proprietary systems, to the look and feel of their mobile environment, or the metrics used to measure success on their inventory – these publishers require a more customizable approach from an exchange than long-tail app developers have in the past.
The benefits of programmatic are clear for all to see, with real-time bidding serving ads to users far and wide. However, for premium publishers, it is about more than just high eCPMs. Programmatic direct deals are designed to facilitate the programmatic delivery of ads closed via a direct relationship. It may be a dedicated campaign that’s tailor made for a publisher by an advertiser or agency, or a private marketplace with hand-picked advertisers who best suit the publisher’s environment. All direct dealings can now be done programmatically. This brings the power of data and programmatic to direct deals, so the publisher has both control and technology on their side and can enjoy the best of both worlds.
High impact ad units
Publishers seeking to preserve their user experience, while maximizing their monetization, has lead to the birth of high impact ad units. For example, native units that adapt to the look and feel of a property or rich media units that provide a more engaging experience for the user. Lastly, there’s video. Whether vertical or horizontal, video is still the ad unit that’s turning heads, making storytelling a possibility for advertisers and driving engagement among audiences.
With the rise of digital advertising, more and more advertisers are finding that things are not always as they seem. As campaigns and measurement have evolved, and ads are more targeted and thought-out, advertisers and agencies alike require more transparency. It’s no secret that the ad tech value chain is long and complex, with each of the different players taking its cut. Now advertisers are wanting – often demanding – to learn more about where exactly their money is spent. Not only do they wish to ensure that there is no ‘corruption’, but also they aim to gain further insights from their spend to improve future strategies. Recent investigations such as the ANA report from June 2016, have placed a spotlight on the lack of transparency that advertisers experience, leading to a push in the industry to change the status quo.
The amount of data that can be collected and processed nowadays makes for much better targeting. Advertisers, agencies and demand side platforms are becoming bullish on addressability and want to buy only relevant audiences. Wishing to make the most of their dollar, these players are demanding that their ads be served using much more sophisticated techniques. For example, making use of data parameters attached to an ad request to target specific users that are relevant to a campaign. Cross-device campaigns are also on the rise with advertisers conveying their messaging across the various platforms users interact with in order to ensure consistent engagement with the target audience.
Initially, platforms provided their own measurement metrics (and many still do). However, with increasing pressure from advertisers, exchanges began using third-party vendors to ensure the data measured is objective and impartial. The walled gardens (such as Facebook) were reluctant to incorporate third-parties for measurement, claiming that their own measurements are accurate and sufficient. After a great deal of debate and advocacy on behalf of the advertisers and agencies, the walled gardens opened the gates for third-party measurement vendors. In a way, this levels the playing field and provides advertisers with metrics that they can trust. However, this adds yet another layer to the already complex landscape that is digital advertising.