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AppNexus leads adtech consortium to enable ‘people -based marketing’ rivaling Facebook and Google’s duopoly


By Ronan Shields, Digital Editor

May 4, 2017 | 5 min read

An adtech consortium including AppNexus, LiveRamp and MediaMath has today (May 4) been launched, which claims it will help advertisers better target users across screens using programmatic media buying technologies, a move that is likely to rival the digital duopoly of Facebook and Google.

AdTech consortium

The collective effort is a move to counter Facebook and Google's dominance of online ad spend / Pixaby

AppNexus, LiveRamp and MediaMath, along with Index Exchange, LiveIntent, plus Rocket Fuel, have all agreed to create a standard framework that will enable people-based media buying for advertisers looking to utilize programmatic technologies, similar to the deterministic targeting promised by the two-biggest digital media owners Facebook and Google.

The development is significant as it means that advertisers attempting to target audiences using programmatic media buying technologies outside of the ‘walled gardens’ of Facebook and Google will be able to do so using a standard identifier, thus increasing the efficiency of all media investment using these technologies.

Such a move will likely prove media planners and buyers divesting their online media spend away from ‘the duopoly’ of Google and Facebook (both on whom account for 20% of all media spend), thus increasing competition in the digital media market.

The current bidding process in programmatic channels relies on proprietary identifiers such as cookies – often referred to as ‘deterministic targeting’ – and thus often cannot translate consumer identity across buyers and sellers, or across devices, which is why Facebook and Google account for the majority of online spend, as their logged-in user data can better provide such targeting.

Adding identity resolution to programmatic advertising helps marketers to deliver more relevant content and enhance the consumer experience, and this consortium promises to enable precision advertising comparable to that of Google and Facebook, and does so in a privacy-conscious manner.

Brian O’Kelley, CEO of AppNexus, said: “Today, 48% of all digital advertising dollars accrue to just two companies – Facebook and Google. “That dynamic has placed considerable strain on the open internet companies that generate great journalism, film, music, social networking, and information.”

Travis May, president and general manager of LiveRamp, added: “There’s huge demand for leveraging a deterministic, omnichannel identifier in the bidstream, as marketers want to improve their interactions with consumers by linking data from customer files and offline channels – such as in-store purchases – to media exposure in programmatic channels. The creation of this consortium will accelerate the delivery of this value to marketers and their partners in the digital media ecosystem.”

MediaMath president Michael Lamb, added: “The opportunity to establish the strong and consistent data protection policies that consumers deserve. Upgrading this foundational piece of the infrastructure puts us on solid footing, as programmatic grows to encompass all of digital.”

The unprecedented cooperation means participants will have access to an identity framework built from pairing an encrypted version of people-based identifiers across devices. Upon the terms of the agreement, each consortium member has agreed to adhere to an agreement with respect to privacy and security, including compliance with digital advertising industry self-regulatory code and applicable laws.

This includes the ability to use adtech to target ads on: mobile; addressable TV; Internet of Things (IoT); Out-of-home (OOH); email, and emerging channels for targeted programmatic advertising.

Until now, the lack of a common, omni-channel, people-based identifier has created significant challenges for marketers, including the inability to coordinate campaigns across platforms, a lack of interoperability with the mobile web, and siloing across channels.

David Gosen, general manager, platform solutions and SVP, international at Rocket Fuel, said: “This collaboration of businesses operating in the digital advertising space will contribute to more transparency and efficiency, which is great news for the internet and our industry. Vitally, it also creates greater relevance for the end consumer. At Rocket Fuel, we believe the future is about people, not devices, so partnering with others in the digital ecosystem to deliver this more widely is a positive move for all involved.”

Andrew Casale, president and chief executive of Index Exchange, said the move would bring greater transparency to the industry. He added: “Creating an open, people-based identifier across industry leaders is a major opportunity - this changes the programmatic landscape for the better, as it exposes unified methods of people-based buying to the open web.”

Commenting on the consensus, LiveIntent founder and chief executive Matt Keiser, also spoke of the benefit to the sell-side of the industry: “For publishing brands, the consortium provides access to new identity-informed demand, increasing the value of their inventory. Marketers want access to their target audiences where they are spending time, irrespective of browser or device.

"Inventory sellers need to be able to provide identity resolution to buyers for targeting, measurement, and attribution. This consortium delivers what people-based marketing needs: success at the intersection of marketing and advertising.”

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