"Marketer's Note" is a regular column informing marketers about the rapidly evolving, digital marketing technology ecosystem. This week it is written by Lizzie Komar, Associate Analyst, AdExchanger Research.
Over the past few weeks there’s been a good deal of news coverage on the growing trend of independent publishers banding together to form programmatic media selling coalitions. The reason is simple: Publisher revenues have suffered due to more advertisers buying inventory in open exchange (read: RTB) environments. To reduce commoditization and increase ad revenue, publishers need to effectively market their premium inventory to advertisers. These coalitions function as private exchanges for premium inventory and offer greater scale through fewer partnerships for the advertiser.
These coalitions seem to be meeting their initial purposes – La Place Media, a coalition of five of France’s biggest media players, saw programmatic revenues increase 70% between its first and second year in operation. However, in order to convince more marketers of the benefits of buying this way, they need to offer more than just inventory. They need to get smart about packaging their user data and present unique targeting opportunities to marketers that don’t exist elsewhere.
This comes at an opportune time. Media sellers want to increase their programmatic revenue overall, but really have their eye on realizing the value of their mobile inventory: In a recent AdExchanger Research report on mobile advertising, we found the majority of publishers expect to increase their mobile revenue anywhere from 11-60% in the next year. That could be easier said than done, as platform companies like Facebook gobble the lion's share of mobile ad spend. The right coalition could offer marketers premium mobile inventory at a scale that rivals the tech titans.
As more marketers pursue direct-to-publisher opportunities as a means to secure more transparency, control and premium inventory in their buys, these coalition-based private exchanges will be increasingly attractive to companies on the sell side. And if publishers really want to maximize the opportunity, they’ll package together premium mobile inventory as part of the deal.
When that happens, marketers will get the proof points they need to continue investment and innovation to their mobile advertising programs. It’s not an option yet, but there are more tweaks to the coalitions’ offerings I expect to see in the next few months that will give marketers both access to more premium inventory and rounded out audience profiles that enable opportunities for cross-device targeting.