Private Marketplaces – Where Brand Spend Is Shifting

Post on February 27, 2018 by Eric Mischel

Eric Mischel VP, Product Management, Business Apps

Private Marketplace (PMP) momentum continues to grow.

Here at PubMatic we are seeing a significant increase in both publishers and advertisers coming together to execute PMPs and PMP-Guaranteed deals. According to our most recent Q4 2017 Quarterly Mobile Index, PMP volumes grew 15 percent year-over-year for desktop, 50 percent for mobile web, and 85 percent for mobile apps in 2017.

The original values that PMP deals provide still ring true:

  • Publishers have control over who buys their inventory and at what minimum price
  • Marketers have visibility into and control over which publisher sites their company’s ads will appear on before the ad goes live
  • Both sides benefit from the increased focus and investment that companies like PubMatic have brought to increase trust, quality and pre-purchase viewability scoring

As programmatic trading becomes more prevalent, we are seeing a significant increase in the amount of brand advertising spend going from traditional insertion orders (IOs) to PMPs. And further within the sphere of PMP, growth is coming from 1:1 PMP-Guaranteed deals that give marketers the ability to set up a single PMP across multiple publisher sites, allowing them to reach their desired audience more efficiently than ever before.

Why is this shift happening now? As the industry has expanded its focus, additional factors are now part of almost every conversation and quite frankly—the new normal:

Wrappers & Headers

Due to the proliferation of wrapper/header bidding technology, like PubMatic’s OpenWrap, buyers are not as concerned as they once were about the priority level of their PMP deal within a publisher’s ad server. Since solutions like OpenWrap pass the winning bid of the wrapper auction directly into the publisher’s ad server, optimization is now being performed across direct and indirect channels based on price and pacing.

Ad impressions purchased from a non-direct channel no longer need to be relegated to the bottom of a waterfall to compete. PMPs compete on a level playing field but with the added benefit of both parties knowing more about each other.

Publishers will feel more confident in using a PMP strategy as a way to build a stronger relationship with the marketer. This will result in the publisher making higher valued inventory available to known marketers; providing the publisher with a level of ad quality that won’t negatively impact their consumer’s experience and ultimately lead to a more established buyer-seller relationship.

Fraud, Quality and Viewability

There are many overlapping and interrelated points that get brought into the conversation when publishers and marketers discuss programmatic buying. Thankfully the industry has been making strides to improving trust, quality and viewability while fighting fraud.

Solutions like ads.txt are providing a higher degree of confidence to marketers about the inventory they are going to bid on, regardless of whether the channel is open market or PMP. To date, 68 percent of PubMatic’s USA Top 1,000 sites have adopted ads.txt. PubMatic has heavily increased both focus and investment in our inventory quality suite.

PubMatic provides publishers the ability to create PMP deals based on a historic viewability score of their ad slot. This viewability scoring is provided by an independent MRC-accredited third-party vendor and presents a win for both the publisher and the buyer.

Buyers no longer need to wait to find out after the fact that a primary KPI, such as viewability, was not being met. Now, if a buyer shares their desired viewability metric with PubMatic’s Ad Solutions and Publisher Account teams, we can work with our publishers directly to create a custom PMP deal that meets their criteria.

How To Effectively Scale Private Marketplace (PMP) Deals

In the past, the walled gardens of Google and Facebook have provided the easiest path to get the scale and targeting marketers crave. However, what if buyers could get a PMP Deal ID that gives them both the scale they need with the audience and targeting they want in three simple steps?

PubMatic is building that functionality now! We’re calling it “Targeted PMPs.” We understand buyers have many options when considering where to transact PMPs. At PubMatic, we want to make this process as easy, fast and error-free as possible.

By putting control in the hands of both buyers and our own internal customer success teams, we want to make the PMP Deal ID set-up quick while still providing the controls publishers need around price floors, whitelists and blocklists. Buyers no longer have to go through the process of setting up a separate PMP Deal with each individual publisher just to get to aggregate the reach they need.

Below are some best practices for publishers and buyers to consider when looking to scale their PMP business.

For publishers, start by looking at which advertisers are spending the most on open market as well as direct IOs today.

  • These should be the brands you should expand your PMP and PMP-Guaranteed relationships with
  • Be aware that some agencies may have not yet unified their direct and indirect buying teams
  • Develop a strategy for what you want to offer buyers who are choosing to work with you and want to bring more of their budgets to you

For buyers, start by discussing the objectives you’re trying to reach.

  • Decide what’s the most important to you and what you can give a little on
    • Is viewability the most important metric or is it targeting a specific audience list?
  • What is the context you would like your brand to be associated with or not?
  • Remember, it takes two to tango—be good partners and understand what each side needs to be successful

What About Guarantees?

We have also seen many buyers ask for access to prime publisher inventory. They want the inventory to be highly viewable and fraud-free. They only want to purchase the matching impressions for their desired audience. This is especially true of higher CPM-valued media, like video.

Publishers, on the other hand, generally only want to offer access to their prime inventory and audience matching when there is a spend commitment. There is obviously a need for guarantees in the PMP arena. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” This is the perfect reason for both sides to utilize the functionality of PMP-Guaranteed.

Based on the successful PMP-Guaranteed deals we’ve helped with at PubMatic, here are some lessons learned that each side should be thinking about:

  1. Discuss the terms:
  • Are there standard terms and conditions that one side already has that they want the other party to agree to? If so, share them upfront as sometimes legal reviews can take time.
  • Share what brands the buyer will be running with the publisher so the publisher can determine whether they believe this is a good match for their audience and make any adjustments to whitelists or blocklists accordingly.
  • What is the total or minimum number of impressions that will be purchased and at what CPM?
  • Who will be responsible for pacing? We suggest the publisher. The publisher has the ability to not send bid requests if a line item is pacing properly or has met its daily goal.
  • Assuming the publisher does what is asked from the buyer, is there a minimum budget the publisher needs to accept this deal?
  • Assuming the publisher does what is asked from the buyer, is there a maximum budget the advertiser is willing to spend to reach these goals?
  • If the impression goal is not within 10 percent of the final delivery goal, who is responsible and for what? We suggest the buyer offer to pay for only what was served. Contrastingly, we suggest a publisher offer a make-good for any portion they didn’t fill assuming that the DSP/ATD buyer responded frequently and properly.
  • Notify each other of changes: If the buyer makes any changes to their budget, KPIs, target audience, or goals they should notify the publisher immediately. If there is something impacting the pacing or fill, the publisher should reach out to the buyer to let them know in advance and begin discussing options. This gives each side the opportunity to take action prior to the campaign ending.
  1. Discuss the targeting:
  • We suggest targeting be set in the publisher ad server along with the line item priority being set below sponsorships but still above standard PMP and open market line items.
  • What type of audience targeting is desired (audience, contextual, viewability, brand safety) and supported? This allows the publisher to offer better suited inventory to meet the buyer’s KPIs.
    • When will the deal start and end?
    • Are their specific daily impression caps?
  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate
  • PMP-Guarantees should be thought of as being in a healthy long-term relationship. It is important to share expectations and what each party wants. If something isn’t working properly, it is better to air it earlier rather than waiting until the issue becomes more challenging to fix.
  • Remember to take the time, upfront, to understand the terms and targeting as the rewards can be large.

We are doing everything we can to make this communication and partnership easier for both parties. Let us know how we can join with you to facilitate PMP and PMP-Guaranteed deals so all parties benefit.