As in most professions, an economic downturn can have profound effects on an interactive media buyer. Advertising budget cuts can slow the flow of inbound work, but also increase the pressure on buyers to negotiate affordable rates. Cuts can also come in the form of layoffs, requiring the remaining media strategists to take on additional work and in some cases, additional roles that might not be as familiar to them.
One solution that always seems appealing at times like these is to automate. A plethora of planning, buying, and campaign management software and services promise to save agencies cash by offloading some of the burden. These tools have value, but can’t replace the personal relationships that lead to unique and memorable placements, sponsorships, and customized campaigns.
What if you had access to a product that could both simplify the planning and buying process and foster relationships with campaign partners? This is what Traffiq hopes to do with its recently launched direct-to-publisher marketplace.
At first glance, Traffiq might appear similar to an ad network. Agencies can use it to seek out ad placements without having to approach each publisher individually, thus avoiding a drain on resources and accommodating tight campaign timelines. Rather than reselling inventory, however, Traffiq puts media buyers in direct contact with publishers, and allows them to negotiate their own purchases.
New opportunities abound for all, culminating in a centralized platform that offers billing, reporting, and free ad serving for its users. Buyers can use it as a planning tool to connect with well-known publishers and identify and familiarize themselves with untried sites, while publishers can get their foot in the door with agencies they don’t yet work with.
“We believe the marketplace model with the media platform around it is the future of media buying,” says Scott Portugal, SVP of Traffiq. He adds that his company is transparent on both sides (advertiser participants and publisher sites and page placements) and offers the scale of an ad network along with brand placement and price control. “You could work with 50 to 100 different publishers in a single media buy, and Traffiq integrates with major third-party ad servers.” Traffiq currently has about 1,700 publisher relationships in place, and is working with some 400 agencies — 900 registered buying entities in all, if you include direct buyers who work outside of the agency model.
The experience of using Traffiq is reminiscent of a traditional media transaction, except that it boasts more bells and whistles. In essence, an agency sends a publisher a request for proposal (RFP) through the platform, and if a publisher responds, they negotiate a deal. Everything happens within Traffiq’s management tools, however, from the rate discussions to the acceptance or rejection of the offer.
A media buyer can publicly relay her RFP to Traffiq’s community of sites and wait for appropriate inventory options to roll in, target a handful of individual publishers directly, or proactively search available inventory using Traffiq’s “attribute matching engine.” Through one or some combination of these options, Portugal says media buyers can “dynamically build their media plan,” maintaining a meticulous record of the process every step of the way.
Agencies can use a single login and setup multiple clients and campaigns, making Traffiq easy to employ across multiple departments (should cutbacks mean your strategists suddenly find themselves responsible for making your buys). Another plus is that agencies only pay for the media that they buy; there is no monthly subscription fee or retainer to contend with — which also means there are no exclusive, long-term contracts, so agencies can run a test campaign to see for themselves whether Traffiq gets them the quality traffic they seek.
The commitment-free flexibility and semi-automated convenience of Traffiq is sure to appeal to smaller agencies in particular — those that are always on the lookout for ways to stretch the breadth of their limited resources. The current economic climate might work in the company’s favor, though, as larger, more established agencies find themselves doing the same. Either way, Traffiq will continue to amass partners and will be ready and waiting for you the day you find yourself wishing your job was just a little bit easier.
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