This story is part of a series on publisher coalitions and co-ops around the world. Read our earlier pieces on Pangaea and the Association of Online Publishers in the UK, La Place Média in France, SouthernX in Africa, Project Agora in Greece and Romania, Apex in Australia and CPAX in Canada.
The problem with programmatic in Israel was that there weren’t many options. Google and Facebook dominate the market. Advertisers who wanted to deal with premium, local publishers could only buy direct.
Amit Ohayon, founder and head of business development for Israeli publisher coalition ILX, is solving that problem by bringing premium formats to programmatic within the invite-only ILX publisher exchange. Five months after launching, ILX employs four people, including Ohayon’s brother-in-law Yuval Perelman as CEO.
Ohayon, who’d been CEO of an Israeli performance marketing agency acquired by MediaCom, has experienced integrating direct and performance planners on the buy side.
Although the agency combined planning and strategy, buying reserved, premium inventory happened on the phone while those buying programmatically dealt with the opaque, uniform options offered by Google and Facebook.
Ohayon wanted ILX publishers to offer premium inventory exclusive to the co-op and unavailable in Google AdX, like homepage placements and large skyscraper banners.
ILX also limited the buyers and sellers to the cream of the crop. Nine of the top 10 Israeli publishers belong to the exchange, including Ynet, Mako, Globes, Haaretz and Sport5. Together, they reach 85% of the Israeli audience.
On the buy side, ILX assembled six of the biggest agencies in the country, including MediaCom, Publicis, Universal McCann and ZenithOptimedia.
“As a buyer, [exclusivity] was in my bones,” Ohayon said. “I knew exactly how buyers think and act.”
Inspired by La Place Média, the French co-op, Ohayaon initially envisioned a joint venture until he realized that the concept wouldn’t fly past Israel’s anti-trust regulations. Instead, ILX reveals its cut of the revenue flowing through the co-op.
ILX estimates that it’s captured 3% of digital revenue generated by local publishers. Ohayon says it’s not unusual to see CPMs in the $6-$9 range for display or $10-$20 range for video.
“We enabled a lot of buyers to create always-on branding campaigns, which is something they never did before,” Ohayon said. “We have the technological ability to create an always-on campaign with premium placements and inventory that doesn’t have to go to CPC or blind networks.”
Publishers tap into different budgets. “We’re bringing them new money,” Ohayon said. “This is programmatic money that came out of budgets for Google Display Network or Facebook.” Buyers who needed features like frequency capping to satisfy clients now can use ILX for those budgets.
ILX uses AppNexus as its exchange, in part because its open API allows further technology integrations. ILX offers in-read video via Teads, which places a video ad within the text of an article. Due to the shortage of video inventory, the units have been a huge success.
“They can optimize by completed views, a direct hit to YouTube’s TrueView,” Ohayon added.
In coming months, ILX will roll out two DMPs. One will use demographic data gathered via surveys. The other will create a central hub for audience management, look-alike modeling and behavioral data collection (like the kind offered by Krux), enabling audience segmentation.
It’s also adding two different mobile ad solutions. The first, FirstImpression.io, serves display banners only after certain cues, like a pause in a user’s scrolling behavior. Another, Adience, creates user profiles on mobile apps, something Ohayon has not seen outside of Facebook.
By the end of the year, ILX hopes to have 5% market share.
“Publishers have had the lower hand in terms of technology,” Ohayon said. “Once the [technology] threshold is lowered, you have publishers aggregated into one ecosystem that has the same infrastructure, architecture, shared data, unified buying process and UI. It’s changing the world of media as we know it now: ruled by international media giants that crush these publishers’ premium content advantage.”