MediaBank announced a trading desk offering that will let agencies automate real-time media customized the way they like it. The company plans to sign up one new agency a month for the next year, partnering with them to further develop the product according to their needs.
The platform allows customization of algorithms, workflow integration and other functions, via systems integration projects that typically last for a year, according to John Bauschard, president, marketplaces.
"It starts with the suite of software tools but every individual agency will use that in a different manner," Bauschard says. "Part of this comes down to understanding exactly what the agency's needs are."
For example, a direct-response agency with a strong ROI focus could use MediaBank technology to set up, optimize and report on campaigns in a very different way from an agency that works on large branding campaigns and needs to measure things like brand lift.
While MediaBank works with the largest agencies and holding companies, including Starcom MediaVest, the trading desk software also is geared for smaller players, according to Bauschard.
For a tiny agency that doesn't need much customization, he says, "You can be up and running quickly with a best-of-breed solution." Among small agencies, the sweet spot is specialized agencies with between 10 and 200 employees that are tech-focused.
Bauschard would not discuss pricing, but said the tool suite is priced similarly to other DSP solutions in the market.
Large agencies are likely to be a tough sell, since the bigger media networks already operate trading desks powered by demand side platforms such as Turn, Invite Media, and DataXu. While agencies operating their own trading desks have been criticized for conflict of interest, Bauschard says that's not his battle.
"The primary relationship is between the agency and the advertiser, and we support the agency," he says. "We never get involved between our agencies and their customers. We believe that this business requires a lot of interpersonal interactions, and you'll never automate that."
MediaBank has two divisions: The agency systems division provides software for very large agencies, while the Marketplaces side allows direct transactions via its MBuy division. The new platform is based on technology from AdBuyer, a search and digital display platform acquired by MediaBank last April with the goal of enabling agencies to buy and manage digital and offline media from within the same application.
MediaBank agreed to merge with Donovan Data Systems in September. Pending approval by the Department of Justice, the company plans to work under the moniker of MediaOcean.
Tim Ogilvie, former CEO of AdBuyer and now SVP of product for MediaBank, says the company is considering adding the ability for publishers to create private exchanges.
"The relationships that an advertiser has with various media agencies may be very different," Ogilvie says. "Maybe they want to mediate that through technology, but they don't necessarily want to make that available to the world at large."
He also looks forward to consolidating the brand and tech under the MediaOcean name. Ogilvie says, "MediaOcean provides a clean opportunity to say we have two product stacks and that's it."
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
March 19, 2014