AppNexus readies buy-side push with ‘industry first’ programmable DSP launch

AppNexus plans a concerted push of its buy-side offering in 2018

AppNexus has unveiled a 'programmable' demand-side platform (DSP), an offering it claims is unique in the market, with the adtech outfit plotting “an aggressive buy-side” push in the next calendar year.

Dubbed the AppNexus Programmable Platform (APP), the DSP uses machine learning to help media traders more efficiently implement campaigns, a key offering as advertisers are increasingly required to use more, and more targeting variables.

AppNexus claims APP, currently in beta, offers media buyers people-based targeting plus cross-screen attribution capabilities with a deterministic customer ID, as well a buying model whereby it charges only for ad impressions deemed viewable.

It also provides built-in Supply Path Optimization capabilities, which charts the most efficient path to supply when traders are operating Open RTB — a key capability in an environment where header bidding has (inadvertently) led to landscape that ramps up DSPs’ operating costs.

Also included in the service is Automatic Bid Price Optimization to help buyers win auctions at the desired price in addition to using machine learning and human moderation to lessen the risk of click fraud and better ensure brand safety, topics that AppNexus chief executive officer Brian O’Kelley discussed recently with The Drum.

The launch is the culmination of a three-year R&D initiative involving over 200 employees – a push that will continue throughout 2018.

O’Kelley added: “Most demand side platforms today don’t fundamentally differ from the DSPs that were built during the first decade of programmatic, and that’s obviously a problem.

“The next generation of DSPs should leverage machine learning to more efficiently manage an ever-larger number of campaign variables, minimize manual intervention, and deliver superior optimization tied to marketer KPIs.”

Pim van Boekhold, head of programmatic buying, at WPP-entity Greenhouse Group, added: “Our initial test results demonstrate the power of the AppNexus Programmable Platform and its new machine learning algorithms.

“APP took our trader 73% less time and delivered 13% better performance versus a manually traded line item.”

As part of its preparation to push its buy-side wares, AppNexus tapped Microsoft’s former advertising boss Owen Sagness, appointing him to the role of VP of sales for its Advertising Technology Group in Europe, namely the planned reintroduction of its DSP.

Speaking of the most recent launch, O’Kelley, added: “Legacy SSPs have experienced rapid attenuation in recent months, and we expect DSPs to follow a similar path toward commoditization and obsolescence.

“We were determined to reinvent the DSP, and we built a new product from the ground up that transforms the role of the trader. There aren’t enough hours in the day to perform the same calibrations and interventions manually, and APP allows the professional trader to get closer to strategy.”

AppNexus, a company which has historically been more associated with the sell-side of the industry has increasingly been collaborating with the buy-side players in recent years, with O’Kelley openly voicing his view that adtech is shifting from “the programmatic age” to a “programmable one.”

This has also been demonstrated through its collaborations with buy-side outfits within the GroupM fold – whose parent WPP is an investory in the adtech company. For instance, Xaxis’ Co-Pilot initiative is geared towards improving the operational efficiency and campaign performance through automation, and advanced modeling to value impressions. More recently this was followed up with AppNexus’ collaboration with fellow GroupM entity Mindshare as well as Jivox to more effectively deliver relevant creative content to on behalf of its clients.

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Ronan Shields

I'm the digital editor at The Drum, and cover adtech and martech. Prefer news and analysis, over opinion pieces. Current fascination(s) are blockchain and media futures trading; also curious about transhumanism on a personal basis. NYC-based, but really London Irish.

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