And Rubicon understands the US companies may still be late adopters. “Direct orders may happen faster for international campaigns,” said Rubicon Marketplace SVP Ryan Polley. In Europe, where IOs are lower, the cost of sale is relatively high, so publishers there will likely lead the charge.
Larger US publishers, however, see opportunity in the long tail of direct deal automation.
“A salesperson would not want to spend time with a smaller, $5,000 to $10,000 buy. But if you do five of those, it’s [$50,000],” said Chris Pirrone, general manager at USA Today Sports Media Group. The company has also created packaging in the seller market discovery tool to “smooth out transacting,” like a March Madness package that allows advertisers to quickly buy against content related to an event and timed to an event.
Along with USA Today Sports, News Corp will be among the publishers leading the charge in direct order automation, with other Rubicon partners weighing or signing contracts for the guaranteed orders product during the event.
In other Rubicon news – or non-news, as it were – the company was opaque about adding mobile and video to its display-based business.
It claims to have solutions –“serving video is not a feat,” Tappin said – but it transacts little because of low supply and low inventory quality. Rubicon does not seem concerned with adoption of its mobile or video products either, or that competitors will gain an irreversible lead.
“We’ve seen the same kind of movie before, where you start with 30 companies and end up with three. There are a lot of smaller companies that don’t survive long term as pure players,” said Greg Raifman, president of Rubicon Project.