Supply-Demand dynamics are changing; we live in a new world. The last 2-3 years have ushered structural changes in how inventory is bought and sold – through programmatic channels, with enhanced audience targeting and clearer metrics to gauge campaign performance. Against this backdrop, more and more inventory is being purchased on behalf of brand advertisers through agency trading desks. In practical terms, this means buys are increasingly driven by data-based audience targeting, as opposed to focusing on publisher site lists as a proxy for segmentation alone.
Why is this important? The shift toward audience targeting breaks down traditional channel- or format-centric silos in how supply partners have traditionally represented inventory. Ideally, all campaign strategy should focus on target audience and campaign goals – eliminating the compartmentalization of budgets and buys, according to device and format.
The advent and maturation of programmatic trading brings with it the potential to solve for much of the inefficiency that exists today in the supply-demand relationship – ultimately providing more transparency and assurance of ROI to the brand advertiser. Programmatic marketplaces are, in a sense, the eye in the sky – seeing the user on both supply and demand sides. Based on this vantage, these marketplaces have the potential to provide a number of major benefits:
- Cross screen user and segment targeting at scale – the marketplaces of the future will track users and user clusters across devices, with clear metrics around performance and optimization;
- End-to-end integrated advertising – these campaigns will spans all formats in support of a brand’s goals, be they awareness-generating or performance-based. A representative arsenal would include desktop and mobile video, rich media, display and native units – spanning both IAB and custom formats; and
- Brand safety – marketplaces are by definition network effect models, providing increased utility to buyers and sellers alike as scale increases. It would appear these concentrated nodes of commerce within the value chain offer the natural place to take a stand on suspicious traffic or underperforming inventory, and eliminate it pre-campaign in order to drive higher quality supply and deliver enhanced value to the advertiser.
Based on the above, we expect the dialogue with advertisers to become more streamlined and efficient. By outlining target audience attributes, campaign success metrics and spend, a robust supply partner with programmatic bench strength should be able to target the right audiences, at the right time, across any device, using integrated formats to achieve the advertiser’s goals, with complete transparency around brand safety and campaign effectiveness.
This approach would end the fragmentation of budgets that occurs today, where agencies are left to Frankenstein disparate campaign metrics into a consolidated view for their brand. Our simpler, more accountable, brave new world.