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Google and Rubicon Project ink deal to bolster PMP demand via DBM


By Ronan Shields | Digital Editor

October 23, 2017 | 5 min read

Google and Rubicon Project have penned a deal that will let advertisers access private marketplace (PMP) inventory available on the adtech outfit’s platform using DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM).


Google is the first major platform to integrate the new Rubicon Project Orders API

The deal was made possible after Google was the first major platform to integrate the new Rubicon Project Orders API, which now means advertisers can transact PMP deals without specifically having to log-in to the adtech outfit’s user interface (U/I). Instead, they can now access this inventory from within the DBM console.

In theory, this results in greater convenience for advertisers, agencies, and trading desks, as it reduces the number of technology platforms they have to use, as well as providing them with more premium media inventory.

Tom Kershaw, Rubicon Project, chief technology officer, said the launch of the new technology interface heralded the end of an era where media buyers would have to use “dozens of U/I’s to do business.”

He added: “Our publisher partners also benefit from this capability, as their inventory will be more easily accessible by new sources of demand.”

Roshan Khan, Google, senior product manager, also said the tie-up would further its goal of connecting media buyers to unique inventory.

Kershaw later went on to point out that the integration represented the first tie-up between DBM and a third-party ad exchange that will make PMP inventory available.

“Bid Manager brings unique demand and will provide a dramatic increase in the total number of buyers who are able to discover and purchase a seller’s inventory – this means greater opportunity for new relationships, quality deals and significant revenue potential,” he added.

The rise of the PMP

Monetizing through PMPs is where publishers invite their high value buyers to bid on specifically packaged premium inventory before making it available to wider demand – should they fail to sell in such a manner.

Rubicon has long been a champion of the PMP model, with the company shelling out approximately $30m for iSocket and ShinyAds in late 2014 to help facilitate publishers managing their inventory in such a manner.

Speaking previously about the model with The Drum, its then general manger, international, Jay Stevens, said: “The smart publishers are using PMP’s as a means of further monetizing their direct sales business. Plus using PMPs to monetize video inventory, you’re going to get higher CPMs.”

Crossing the Rubicon?

The DBM integration is a milestone in Rubicon’s turnaround strategy, with the company’s leadership previously voicing their ambition to ease some of the operational headaches of both the buy- and sell-side of the industry during their latest earnings call, in a bid to win favor with investors.

After a turbulent start to the year, the publicly-listed adtech outfit launched its turnaround strategy beginning by the naming of a new leadership team, plus the $38.5m purchase of nToggle.

Discussing the company’s latest acquisition with investors, Rubicon Project, chief executive, Michael Barrett, said: “Our acquisition of nToggle has greatly helped our ability to increase win rates.”

This purchase was seen as a bid to help publishers facilitate the increase in inventory requests resulting as a byproduct of the emergence of header bidding – something its former leadership were blindsided by.

Speaking previously with The Drum, Barrett acknowledged Rubicon had lost pace with the popularity of header bidding, and explained how the company aimed to help turn this around.

He shared his theory that as header bidding matures, there’ll be “a selection process” whereby buy-side outfits realize they don’t have to plug in to 15 different buys of inventory.

“And then [buyers] just pick the top guys they want. And I think we’ve always had really strong relationships with that side. Bid duplication and the move to server-side header bidding is crushing them [DSPs] from a cost perspective,” he added.

“Having access to more supply, where they could see the same person in a different environment for a cheaper price, was previously a USP for them. But value proposition is going to diminish over time, as you’ll be able to plug into a handful and still see everyone.”

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