5 Pillars of a Successful Private Marketplace Strategy for Publishers
Private marketplaces (PMPs) are a hot topic among publishers and advertisers alike. First appearing in conversations and industry trade articles around 2011, PMP adoption ramped up a bit slower than the typical lightning speed of the digital space. However, the tremendous 1,236% growth that eMarketer reported for 2014, indicates that the tides have turned. This substantial increase, which has continued into 2015, is symptomatic of the many ways in which PMPs can drive more value for your overall business.
The general attraction of programmatic has already been recognized by advertisers, like Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, and Sprint, as indicated by the complete shift of budget to RTB. However, within the RTB space the demand for more “premium programmatic” inventory via PMPs has grown considerably over the last few years. Advertisers are looking for those publishers that are ahead of the programmatic curve, and not only offering PMPs but finding ways to use them to tackle challenging hurdles in the programmatic space. Advertisers are drawn to publishers offering deals for premium page placements, unique content sections, brand safe content, highly viewable ad units, as well as those that are able to utilize their own first-party data. Furthermore, with these appealing deals, advertisers are willing to pay CPMs that warrant access to this inventory.
An undeniable fact about the programmatic space is that it garners demand beyond your direct sales force. However, there is still a misguided mindset that only the low quality, perhaps “remnant,” inventory should be sold via RTB and anything else should be sold direct as a way to increase yield. Understandably, the logic behind this mindset is to preserve the scarcity and exclusivity of the inventory and to not devalue its worth in an open marketplace. However, as advertisers continue to get wiser in buying inventory programmatically, they are also getting more fastidious. They are more apt to avoid poor quality inventory altogether and focus efforts towards better inventory. Private marketplaces are a great way to access better quality inventory from an advertiser perspective – a demand that exists outside direct, guaranteed buying, and one that might only be available via a private marketplace buy.
For many, part of the fear of programmatic is both the unknown, as well as a perceived lack of control – fears also shared by many advertisers. However, one of the more obvious benefits of offering private marketplaces is the increased control you gain in the process of monetizing your inventory programmatically. Being that PMPs consist of a mutually agreed upon set of buying parameters between buyers and sellers, including elements like floor rates, flight dates, content, which advertisers are allowed access, etc., the reigns are in the publisher’s hands to control much of the process. With this increased control comes the ability to appropriately manage how you allocate inventory between various demand streams (direct, programmatic direct, PMPs, open marketplaces), how you price out your inventory, who you allow to purchase your inventory programmatically, and ultimately how best to optimize your yield.
Because private marketplaces offer more control, naturally they offer more insight. If approached strategically, useful insights can be uncovered from successful and not-so-successful private marketplaces. This includes insight into the advertisers who are purchasing your inventory programmatically, the type of inventory advertisers are purchasing, and the rates that advertisers will pay for high quality inventory. All of these facets can help shape your strategy in deciding what you need more of, less of, what you need to change, what advertisers really like about your inventory, and how you can get more for what you have to offer.
Efficiency is probably one of the most common benefits associated with the programmatic space, however, even with all of its acclaim, it’s still a grossly under-rated benefit. Efficiency is often associated with minimizing workflow pain points to create cost efficiencies. After the initial set up of a PMP and the occasional troubleshoot, PMPs are a way to allow approved buyers to manage their own campaigns, while buying your inventory. This frees up time among sales and operations to fully focus on those campaigns that require more attention and to focus efforts on more strategic opportunities.
All in all there are a lot of interrelated ways in which PMPs can do more for your inventory monetization strategy and overall business. Publishers should feel empowered by the new opportunities that PMPs afford them and excited to venture into this space.