AppNexus is poised to make some key announcements at its annual New York summit later today (November 4), with the independent ad tech giant expected to announce a new front with incumbent ad tech giant Google. Below The Drum speaks with Pat McCarthy, AppNexus’ SVP of corporate marketing about its latest positioning, and how it hopes to differntiate itself from Google.
The Drum: AppNexus has been billed as launching an 'aggressive' stance against Google this year, why has it chosen to adopt such an aggressive positioning this year compared to its previous positioning?
PMC: Momentum and scale. There are only a handful of end-to-end platforms that can compete with DoubleClick, and of that handful, we’re the open and aligned option. Over the past year and a half, AppNexus has made major investments in building out its Publisher Suite, a first-in-class video product, and major enhancements to its buy-side product, including a viewability marketplace and a programmable bidder. We’re now better-positioned than any other player in the ecosystem to pose a lasting challenge to DoubleClick. It’s long been AppNexus’ position that open platforms offer greater benefit to publishers and advertisers than walled gardens. You’ll see Brian and others making a strong opening argument to this effect tomorrow.
The Drum: So how does the AppNexus Publisher Suite (APS) against Google's DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP), and does AppNexus propose easing these migration pains to APS using DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP)?
PMC: DFP is a legacy ad server; while AppNexus Publisher Suite is a monetization engine for publishers. DFP offers “dynamic allocation” – the ability to compare DFP directly-sold campaigns to AdX. By contrast, AppNexus offers Open Dynamic Allocation, allowing publishers to see every buyer they work with in aggregate and powering a single, transparent auction that helps them optimize for maximum revenue. AppNexus Publisher Suite also integrates Yieldex analytics, one of the most powerful forecasting products in the market. So, you’ll hear Brian argue that any comparison is fundamentally impossible.
For publishers there are standard challenges of managing a new integration and training a sales force to work with a new platform, when all they’ve known for years is DFP. Those are challenges we’re ready to help clients meet. The goal is to help any publisher who feels limited by DFP to make the transition to AppNexus Publisher Suite.
Some clients, will choose to go all-in on full-stack from the start. Others are working with parts of our suite (for instance, remaining on DFP but using our forecasting) and will migrate fully over time. At the end of the day, publishers will make decisions that benefit their monetization over time. You’ll hear Brian and Tom Shields speak to this point in detail tomorrow.
The Drum: AppNexus is now highlighting its approach to viewability (i.e. viewability across the open internet), in contrast to that of Google's (which is only built into Google Display Network). What advantages does the AppNexus approach pose advantages over the Google method?
PMC: You’ve highlighted the major point of differentiation. Google’s approach to viewable buying is great if you want to advertise on their network inventory. If you want to advertise on a viewable basis anywhere else, you apparently can’t use DoubleClick.
They have a legitimate model. DoubleClick is owned by Google, and if it can help make Google-owned inventory more valuable, then it serves its parent company well. But AppNexus exists to help all publishers monetize their content and to help advertisers reach the right audience with the right message, everywhere possible – not just on Google inventory. That’s why we built the industry’s only open viewable marketplace.
Additionally, we offer viewable buying on a pre-bid basis, which is another important differentiator.
The Drum: Another key issue facing the industry is ad blocking. What role does AppNexus hope to play in the fight against it?
PMC: This goes to our better-internet mission. Consumers block ads for a variety of reasons, including latency, data usage, and aesthetic experience. Everything we do should make advertising more relevant and less intrusive to consumers. Our viewability marketplace, for instance, incentivizes publishers to improve page layout and reduce the number of impressions – that’s good for consumers and will remove a leading cause of ad blocking.
The Drum: it has recently been reported that Google is experimenting with using its DoubleClick to improve out-of-home (OOH) media buys. Does AppNexus intend to service advertisers likewise?
PMC: This is a topic that we’ve discussed internally and in some very preliminary conversations with one European out of home advertiser, but the discussion is still in its nascent phases.
The Drum will be reporting live from the AppNexus New York Summit later today (November 4).