Operating an ad exchange, or (more importantly) participating in one, is much more complicated than anyone ever expected. The “build it and they will come” mentality certainly doesn’t work with real-time bidding (RTB) given the number of bidding technologies and selling forums that are in operation today.
Sitting at the intersection of buying and selling, I am constantly evaluating trends and looking for clues as to why buyers find inventory valuable. There are obvious things that buyers look for when buying programmatically: consistent daily volume, quality inventory (uncluttered, viewable), high cookie match rates, and most importantly, the right price. Buyers have an advantage, as they are in a position to set the rules by which they buy: bid price, white list, and their data (cookie). And…they hold the budget.
Something interesting is happening though. At my company, we operate a premium exchange that we are very proud of. It includes the highest quality inventory, priced right, and it performs very well for buyers. This changes the demand landscape and evens the playing field. Now publishers have a little more control. They have the capability to tier their inventory, to set pricing based on value, and to ensure the right buyers have preference and/or are blocked in bidding. These actions put the publisher in a position to drive yield, manage multiple sales channels, and increase overall value of the inventory.
Last week the ANA-4A’s Joint Policy Committee released a mandate for universal adoption of Ad-ID, the industry standard for identifying advertising assets across all media platforms. This is an exciting new development that will ensure every piece of creative trafficked across devices carries a set of meta data that defines the advertiser name, brand name, product name, creative title, and length. This data has historically been shared in an analog format that was rekeyed many times, causing creative errors. The method was never applied to online creative, as it was heavily TV/radio-focused. The acceptance of a new standard was initiated to help SAG-AFTRA in tracking talent royalties. But there is a larger benefit to online media if this new standard is adopted beyond TV.
By consistently applying the Ad-ID to all online creative, publishers can now confidently manage block lists, ensure that ad quality rules are respected, and have a higher level of confidence in what brands/products are associated with their inventory. Ultimately, there is additional targeting and inventory selection that can be created with this data in mind. I can see a world where not only is publisher information transparent to buyers, but where the buyers are reliably transparent to publishers. This would enable a host of resellers and channel demand partners to plug in and increase demand for publishers.
To learn more about the Ad-ID program check out http://www.ad-id.org.
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