Mobile programmatic: The basics and benefits of private marketplaces
Capturing the attention of an industry, mobile programmatic trading has arguably been the darling of digital ad trading over the course of the last 12 months.
Analysts have regularly revised their forecasts; one such being eMarketer, eventually settling on $4.66bn as an estimated figure for 2014. Industry events started talking more and more about the minutia of realtime bidding (RTB), demand-side platforms (DSPs) and other assorted buzzwords associated with the world of programmatic. It became hard to check your inbox without finding a new report discussing the future of the market.
The question is, however, has the reality met th e expectation? Unequivocally, yes.
This continually evolving discipline has worked its way up the priority list for brands, with more advertisers increasingly viewing programmatic as the future of all digital trading. As mobile ad spend also continues to grow rapidly – set to be worth £2bn in the UK in 2014 – mobile programmatic will become a de facto practice for brands.
Whilst the benefits of reaching audiences in mobile at scale are clear, the next stage of development will see a combination of programmatic buying with the preferential treatment secured in a direct buy environment – a model for programmatic access known as Private Marketplaces (PMPs).
PMPs provide advertisers with access to inventory before it’s made available in an open exchange environment, and a seamless transaction that eliminates the need for direct buys with multiple publishers.
Effectively an invitation-only marketplace, sellers make their inventory and audiences available to select buyers. Programmatic buying is then used to control purchases, thereby removing the often time consuming processes of direct-buy environments. By automating and optimising the selling of their media space, sellers can use PMPs to offer their impressions to the highest bidder and accessthousands of new advertisers.
This often generates an additional revenue stream for publishers as some
advertisers have earmarked a portion of their budget to 'programmatic' which is not available for direct buy media plans.
As with the online world before it, PMPs in mobile programmatic are seen as a big step towards achieving scale for brand safe inventory in the automated channel.
For both the supply and demand sides of the industry, there are benefits to be had from PMPs for programmatic buying in a controlled environment.
For advertisers, the ability to get access to this inventory before it’s available in open auction means that they are likely to win more bids since there is less competition, and they can be confident that they know exactly where an ad is going to be shown. They are able to make more informed decisions to execute highly targeted ad buys ensuring alignment with their brand.
Whilst inventory does come at a premium, there is also greater predictability in costs, and advertisers often gain increased transparency and access to inventory that may not otherwise be available in an exchange environment.
Combined with the benefits of a real-time buying platform, advertisers can pre-define the audiences that they buy in PMPs. There is also the option to just plug straight into a PMP, aligning a brand with high-quality content in pre-defined packages. Alternatively, advertisers that use a dedicated resource to understand both the technology and the market can target inventory based on specific publishers or through custom site-lists.
PMPs also represent a good opportunity for publishers to test out the programmatic landscape. They can do this by arranging deals with specific buyers on their own terms, rather than opening their impressions for all to access.
Working together for transparency and best practice
Beyond the many acronyms and tech jargon, mobile programmatic represents a huge opportunity for brands to pay just for the consumers they want to reach, with the flexibility to quickly view performance and easily move budget to maximise interactions and conversions.
By working together, as technology and the industry evolve, we will reach a stage where programmatic will serve as a critical component of not just mobile advertising, but all digital advertising.
At Millennial Media, we’re delighted to contribute to this through our support of The Drum’s Digital Trading Awards for a second year, as well as through the Digital Trading Standards Group’s (DTSG) 'UK Good Practice Principles' of which we are a signatory.
In 2015 we will see the power of mobile programmatic further drive brand objectives using intelligent real-time branding, whilst the rapid development of the market will continue apace as it further captivates our industry and changes how we engage consumers.
Zac Pinkham, managing director EMEA, Millennial Media
Tel: +44 (0) 207 151 3320
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