MediaMath will generally start with a broad deal that runs all of its advertisers across a publisher’s entire inventory. Then it homes in on the advertisers finding value and the best-performing pockets of inventory. MediaMath and Intermarkets create deals that build on those insights while maintaining the cost per action the buyer needs to hit for the advertisers.
“We’re open about what we want to achieve,” Cox said. MediaMath shares CPAs it needs to hit, and finds out if the corresponding CPMs will work with the publisher.
Because both sides are transparent, it’s easier to set up deals where buyers pay less one month and more the next. “We have deals with Intermarkets that are transparent relationships in order to help work through the seasonality and fluctuations in available supply,” Cox said.
But being a programmatic seller also requires developing technical setups for buyers to leverage.
Intermarkets works with multiple header bidding partners – including OpenX, Amazon, Sonobi, Criteo, Rubicon and Index Exchange – to provide better access to its inventory programmatically. Via header bidding, it’s easier for buyers to uncover their target audiences because these partners see all of the inventory.
“It’s how you can help the advertiser find the audience in an unclear environment with greater clarity, better predictability and placements,” Requidan said. “That’s why we have our stack set up the way we do, and the buyers benefit greatly.”
Having an ad stack with header bidding options not only serves programmatic buyers, it commands a premium. “Buyers have been public about how they would commit premium price points for more direct-like integration,” Requidan said.
MediaMath confirmed the importance of priority. “We do audits of every publisher to know every priority and daisy chain, if they have header tag and what priority it traffics at,” Cox said. Where MediaMath chooses to enter the market impacts the price it pays.
Bids received through the header still have to compete with direct-sold impressions, but differences between programmatic CPMs and direct CPMs are no longer as drastic at Intermarkets.
“If you’re talking about the same price points with premium programmatic as direct, you have to make sure the quality is there,” Snow said. That means allowing buyers access to more inventory so they can pick up what’s most valuable to them and leave the rest.
Because both programmatic and direct campaigns require cultivating relationships and meaningful revenue, publishers who organize direct and programmatic sales teams separately are making a mistake, Requidan said.
“There needs to be a shift in mindset for a lot of legacy publishers to reprogram themselves and move away from their own internal conflicts and thoughts of cannibalization and siloed groups,” he said.
The proof is in the revenue.
“We’re able to achieve double-digit, high single-digit CPMs,” Requidan said. “We’re focused on being able to automate premium direct opportunities with premium buyers, and that is what enables the direct-like pricing.”