Buying of ad inventory has traditionally been an esoteric art typified by Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and a continuous stream of back and forth communications. This approach created various touch points that collectively sapped the resources of media companies and slowed down the entire process.
However, the emergence of programmatic buying has over the last few years expedited the process by centralising communications through innovative software solutions.
One of the companies that has successfully provided such services across the Australasian market over the last few years is Adslot, but the company’s business director Stacey Perillo believes that programmatic buying in the digital space has not been quite as effective as it could’ve been.
In the past, Adslot has kept its technological tools separate, meaning that the media agencies and publishers were not in a position to engage with each other. This has however been changed with the integration of its Symphony tool (for agencies) and Adslot suite (for publishers).
“By integrating the two, we bring buyers and sellers together to create a marketplace that scales both within market and across markets,” says Perillo.
She also says that there was a need to change the way in which online ad space was sold.
“Until now, Programmatic buying has referred to buying media inventory through the [real time bidding] RTB/exchange pipes,” she says. “This has been good for publishers and agencies alike as it has enabled them to better monetise distressed inventory however the technology does not really meet the needs of the premium market for two reasons. Firstly, Publishers are very nervous about what it will do for pricing. RTB is not fondly referred to as ‘race to the bottom’ for nothing. And secondly, the workflow associated with the Deal ID mechanism, which is used to trade premium inventory, is clunky and inefficient.”
She says that reliance on real time bidding thus far has made the process risky for the buyer on account of there being little guarantee of the exact price that an ad placement might be worth.
“In contrast to the RTB based solutions, Adslot’s technology plugs straight into the publisher’s ad server exposing their inventory and availability in real time directly to the buyer. As such, the buyer acquires inventory for a known price, for a known placement and for a specific point in time. The inventory purchased is therefore guaranteed. In this way, it mirrors the [request for proposal] RFP process but automates it to make it much more efficient. None of this is possible with the RTB technology as it currently stands.
Adslot recently put its system into practice for the first time in a trade made between Trade Me and Neo@Ogilvy. In a release, Adslot referred to this trade as the world's first ‘Automated Guaranteed’ transaction for forward buying.
What this means is that Neo@Ogilvy was able to purchase Trade Me’s premium ad inventory at a locked price, with a view to use it in the future at a specific date and time.
In addition to this, Perillo also says that the process is more streamlined, meaning that media buyers will be able to spend fewer resources on securing space.
“It is estimated that the cost of transaction in the RFP process in digital is approximately 30 percent—for both the buy and sell side,” she says. “The reason for this is because the process is highly manual and highly iterative. This number stands in stark contrast to TV for example which, in mature markets at least, is typically traded using custom-built technology platforms that reduce the cost of transaction to approximately five percent. It is therefore widely recognised by buyers and sellers alike in the digital space that the cost of transaction is too high and that it is restricting growth.”
Given that the processes are slightly different from those employed before, Perillo says that education is integral to the success of Adslot’s new offering. And for this reason, the company has dedicated resources to training and support to ensure that the process isn’t too taxing when first adopted.
In spite of the initial resistance that people generally have to change, Perillo says that many companies have already signed up to use the system.
“This is already demonstrated by the growing demand for Symphony and tools like it on the buy side (we have pan-APAC deals in place with both GroupM and Omnicom Group). And the evidence clearly demonstrates similar appetite for adoption on the sell side. In a very short space of time, we have already signed 800 publishers globally to the Adslot technology platform.”