MediaMath Targets Supply Chain Transparency With SOURCE Framework

MediaMath launched on Wednesday a digital media-buying framework called SOURCE to give advertisers, publishers and every vendor in between visibility across the supply chain.

MediaMath has assembled a roster of partners for the initiative that span the ecosystem. They include Havas Media and its own advertising customers, SSPs Rubicon Project and Telaria, news publishers such as Business Insider, News Corp. and IBM’s Weather Company, and other vendors. Oracle Data Cloud fills the third-party verification role with Moat, and White Ops is used for pre-bid fraud detection.

“What we hear from every part of the supply chain is that it’s hard to get aligned on things like transparency, fraud and discrepancies in the current environment,” MediaMath CEO Joe Zawadzki said at the ANA Masters of Marketing conference, where SOURCE was unveiled.

The product has been in development for the past year. Now the company will begin a “hard 15-month run” as MediaMath and SOURCE partners educate and onboard other advertisers and publishers.

Gaining adoption will be a tall task. Even collecting some of the biggest names in digital media doesn’t add up to scaled audiences by the standards of the big walled gardens. And SOURCE is still earning test budgets.

But Zawadzki said MediaMath has committed to running 100% of its campaigns on a guaranteed, addressable supply chain, like SOURCE, by the end of 2020.

Media companies don’t need to commit much time or money to join SOURCE, but there is a technical implementation involved, said Jana Meron, Business Insider’s SVP of programmatic and data strategy.

The pilot campaigns with SOURCE go through a separate bidder to BI’s ad server, Meron said, and both sides of the exchange can see more data than with a typical campaign, since all the stakeholders have opted into the same transparency standards and metrics providers.

Business Insider sees all the bidders and bids for an impression, for instance, not just a winner and their price.

That data is a major boon to publishers. Aside from having more raw data on their CPMs and bid density, publishers want tighter connections with the buy side.

Meron said one of the most promising things about SOURCE is that if it were to become a major demand source, Business Insider’s ad team would have direct channels to advertisers and could identify new sales opportunities. The publisher could package deals to agencies that are getting outbid, since it would see which audiences they value most.

News Corp’s Chris Guenther, SVP and global head of programmatic, said it’s a chance for publishers and marketers to “start a proper feedback loop.”

One of the advantages for big online ad platforms (ahem … Google and Facebook) is that ad verification and audience re-engagement happens frictionlessly as part of the service, Guenther said. With a supply channel of narrowly defined partners, a buying framework like SOURCE does the same for the open web by collapsing the weeks or months needed to validate media and discrepancies.

Marketers also gain from the supply chain visibility, he said, since they’ll more clearly understand why they win or lose on bids and the DSP mechanics that decide which brand bids are sent to an exchange.

“Having that trusted connection allows publishers and marketers to understand what the other is looking for,” Zawadzki said. “Not just the inventory and winner, but back to a real understanding of who this marketer is looking for and why."

 

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