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How curation is helping data providers

April 26, 2022

Media buyers are facing an increasingly chaotic programmatic value chain that makes it difficult to optimize their campaigns. The end of cookies and new regulations surrounding consent and data privacy are all good for consumers but complicate things even further.

To combat the complexity of the current media landscape, audience data providers have stepped up to offer media buyers large-scale targeting solutions and the flexibility needed to carry out their campaigns successfully. These efforts give data providers a deeper understanding of their users and behavior, paving the way for curation to take center stage.

The current state of affairs

To put it simply, third-party data providers allow advertisers to activate data segments within their DSPs and SSPs by connecting to the publishers’ and advertisers’ technology stacks. Traditionally, they have developed their businesses by integrating with DSPs and, more recently, by integrating directly with SSPs (assuming they have not developed their own marketplace, which comes with a hefty price tag).

This model poses limits for third-party data providers. To begin, their audience data is in competition with other data. Even if they promote their offers from the get-go, their influence on the activation of data segments during a buyer’s campaign setup remains limited. Similarly, self-service access to this data can result in a loss of control for third-party data providers when it comes to how the data is used and for what purpose.

The end of third-party cookies impacts the entire digital advertising ecosystem, including audience data providers. These providers have typically matched data segments with ad tech platforms to deliver the desired reach. Alternative ID solutions are being developed, but it’s increasingly clear that not all of them will be supported by buy-side technologies, further complicating the issue.

How curation can help

Curation to the rescue! Curation platforms have emerged to combine targeting data such as audience data, sector expertise, and contextual signals with media offers. Curation solutions allow actors in the value chain - data providers in particular - to pre-package their data assets within custom marketplaces and benefit from the massive reach available on SSPs.

These marketplaces are often referred to as curated marketplaces. Within them, auction packages are created. Performance KPIs - such as visibility and completion rates - can be added for additional value.

What does this actually mean for the industry? Curation offers a huge opportunity for third-party data providers to prepackage, promote, and sell data-enriched packages directly to buyers. Buyers simply need to activate these packages as a classic deal within their DSP or their buyer’s DSP. In addition to this simplicity, curation offers multiple benefits, especially in the post-cookie world. As mentioned earlier, DSP partners (especially walled gardens) will not necessarily support alternative IDs, which makes curation a great alternative. And, data activation at the SSP level offers advantages like more accurate inventory forecasting.

Curation simplifies the media buyer’s journey with a combination of direct access to the most relevant audiences and SSP targeting capabilities. With curation, this happens without requiring data providers to invest in buying platforms and allows advertisers and agencies to keep their usual workflows and DSPs to activate campaigns. At its core, curation offers third-party data providers the opportunity to control and capitalize on their audience expertise, not to mention the added benefit of monitoring the effectiveness of their data on any given campaign through real-time reporting.

Beyond third-party audience data providers, we can expect to see the adoption of curation among other tech providers like contextual data and alternative identity solutions. Traditional publishers looking to monetize their existing data (also known as audience extension) have already joined the fold.

Curation enables data owners to expand their value proposition and promote their expertise directly to buyers. In an industry that is rapidly changing, it looks like curation is a solution that is here to stay.


Data providers