Media buying automation is in vogue these days. Agencies are dedicating larger and larger portions of budget to what many are calling "on-demand" media. The types of advertising being bought and sold now spans display, video, mobile, and even rich media.
This creates interesting opportunities and challenges for publishers. For those publishers with large amounts of unsold inventory, it's obvious that this creates a very efficient way for them to sell and move their product. However, the buyers have gotten a taste of the automated Kool-Aid and now they want more. The buyer wants transparency, discrete inventory packages, and only the highest quality inventory.
This demand is causing publishers and aggregators to list and relist inventory in order to extract maximum value and fill from the various exchange platforms and to maximize the connections to buyers.
Interestingly, a new challenge is presenting itself: publisher inventory that is managed by a yield optimizer can get obfuscated and actually trigger an advertiser to appear, inadvertently, alongside inappropriate content. This creates real issues for brands that believe they are buying within an approved set of sites and find that their ad has mysteriously shown up somewhere else.
This is not a new issue per se, but because of the wide array of server connections, redirects, and audience-based targeting, the offending sites and vendors have become harder and harder to track down and deal with.
I am not being an alarmist or suggesting that every campaign is at risk when leveraging programmatically sourced inventory. Quite the contrary. I am asking that people be patient, think carefully about who they choose to partner with, and consider the source before jumping to conclusions. Not every publisher is malicious, and most want what's best for the client. So let's join together to work through these issues, put processes in place that keep us improving, and don't get lost in space.
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Larry Allen is SVP, Global Platform Sales for Xaxis. He has responsibility for overseeing solutions for publishers including Xaxis for Publishers, Xaxis Exchange, and Xaxis Marketplace globally.
Larry has extensive experience in digital media, marketing, and business strategy unmatched by most standards. Prior to joining 24/7 Media (which merged with Xaxis in 2014), he held senior management positions at cutting-edge digital media companies such as AOL, Viewpoint, Unicast, Yieldex, Real Media, and TACODA.
Larry also ran his own consulting business where he advised many major media companies such as The New York Times, Meredith, 33Across, and Business Insider. He is a frequent contributor to a number of trade publications, blogs, and industry conferences.
A graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Business Management, Larry is based in Xaxis' headquarters in New York City.
Follow him on Twitter at @lawrenceallen2.
March 19, 2014