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Relationship goals: matchmaking for premium video ad space

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Finding the perfect match can be hard

Quality video ad space in APAC is in high demand. Advertisers searching for high viewability, brand-safe content, reputable publishers and full placement transparency are looking for ways to achieve audience targeting at scale.

In response, many have tried to build more supply-side relationships to access the video ad supply they need. However, striking up relationships with multiple demand-side platforms (DSPs) to access all the publishers out there is hard work. For brands going down this multi-partner path, it means constant courting, dating and integrating.

It’s exhausting. Which is why, on the supply-side (SSPs), we’ve seen the emergence of a new skill set - the publisher-buyer matchmaker. These matchmaking services take the complexity out of securing supply and optimising spend. With continued growth in programmatic and private marketplaces, evolving audience targeting and global campaign optimisation, a partner that can play matchmaker has become crucial.

Supply path optimisation

There are a variety of factors driving advertisers to build direct relationships with the supply side.

Quality video ad space is limited and supply is duplicated among many demand partners. Once the ad buy is refined by target audiences and KPIs, the audience size available via those partnerships is reduced significantly.

An SSP can not only bring instant access to all the publishers available in market, but the insights can also be brought together into a single, holistic view. Access to this consolidated pool of insights can help brands optimise their supply path by providing the additional layers of information needed to activate private deals, or other advanced buying styles, as well as improve audience targeting.

From open to private to curated

Since programmatic platforms entered the video space a decade ago, the market has evolved from the open marketplace to a greater focus on private marketplaces - invite-only marketplaces where premium publishers offer inventory to a select group of advertisers.

Now a third breed has joined the programmatic family - curated marketplaces. These give buyers access to inventory from a range of publishers, hand-picked against certain criteria such as viewability, audience composition, content vertical or screen type.

In order for advertisers to take advantage of these buying styles and gain insights into price, demand, viewability and so on within these environments, a direct relationship with an SSP is required.

Activating advanced audience targeting

Creating smarter and more personalised advertising is the big challenge for advertisers. The task of bringing together disparate data sets, like a publisher’s first-party data, a brand’s customer data and third-party data sets, is no mean feat.

For example, an auto brand may want to target a list of customers who are nearing a lease termination date. The publisher selected to serve the ads will have first-party data that the advertiser doesn't have, like age and gender. By combining these datasets together, the campaign will be able to hit auto intenders of a certain age, making the targeting more powerful than if just one of the data sets was being deployed. Furthermore, curating inventory from one publisher in this fashion opens up the possibility to activate lookalike audience segments with other publishers. A publisher matchmaker can help buyers who want a niche audience discover similar inventory for them to target.

Optimising for global campaigns

Multinational brands face the additional challenge of executing global buying programs, a challenge that inevitably requires regional expertise. Part of the vetting process for a supply partner should include identifying the SSPs who offer local expertise and support in the brand’s key buying regions.

Tapping into the insights, skills and knowledge of supply partners is providing greater context, understanding and campaign success for video ad buyers. With programmatic becoming truly integrated into marketing plans, clever brands are flipping their thinking and connecting directly with supply partners to build a true 360-degree approach to media planning and campaign fulfillment. The supply-side matchmaker can forecast and curate the relationships needed, removing the complexity of relationship building in the modern ad world.

Matthew Steffenson is director demand facilitation, ANZ at SpotX

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