LADbible Group expects latest shifts in the programmatic market to benefit publishers

Sometimes that money comes after the publisher’s impressions are sold through Google’s Open Bidding unified auction, sometimes it’s made directly through ad-tech vendors like OpenX and Sharethrough. Then there are those moments where impressions are sold through a reseller like Improve Digital, which essentially acts like LADbible Group’s agent to find buyers sourced directly from another ad tech vendor or through resell agreements become.

“Our spend on the private marketplace is still relatively small compared to the open market, despite the industry seeing the opposite,” said Roy Beeharry, head of programmatic at LADbible Group.

You can find all of this in the publisher’s ads.txt file, which contains information about its programmatic partners. There are currently 23 partners who help sell impressions.

Sure, this all serves a purpose: It allows a publisher like LADbible Group to sell more ads at a lower cost. But it’s not necessarily sustainable given the state of the open market. For proof, consider the development of curated marketplaces.

“The curated marketplace offers perfect synergy between publishers (sellers), advertisers (buyers), and third-party service providers (SSPs),” said Beeharry. “This is usually done through deals rather than the open market. Curated deals give buyers and advertisers access to premium curated offerings with enhanced brand safety, audiences, contextual environments, and focused device types.”

If such moves catch on, it could potentially mean more upside for publishers.

“The entire supply chain benefits from this new wave of innovation as sellers and buyers gain greater control over which supply pathways they are comfortable working towards,” said Beeharry. “As The Wire’s Marlo said so eloquently and without remorse, ‘The price of the brick is going up,’ but in fairness that’s great news for the entire programmatic ecosystem.”

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At least that’s the theory. Reality might not confirm this. Not least because much of this shift towards curated marketplaces is being driven by media agencies. Whenever this happens in ad tech, it usually means they have to line up behind the agencies, otherwise there’s no ad money. This industry is nothing but cyclical.

“We’ve always believed that a lot of this technology, if used properly, will help us grow and not disintermediate us,” WPP CEO Mark Read said on the company’s conference call last week. In terms of ad tech, it looks like the estimates I’ve seen suggest the so-called ad tech tax is going down, which is what you’d expect as the market gets bigger and more efficient.

However, the final cycle will be slow to close. After all, most advertisers continue to do the bulk of their programmatic advertising this way, bidding against any number of other advertisers in online ad inventory auctions.


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