Inside KPEX: an eye on the future

KPEX’s former chief executive Duncan Arthur speaks quickly, his voice seemingly hurrying onto the next topic, sometimes even before being prompted by a question. There’s a sense that he’s constantly looking at what KPEX could become as the programmatic industry matures. 

“The next obvious move is for KPEX to build data-enhanced solutions,” says Arthur. “Buyers want to know they’re hitting the right audience at the right time with the right message. And by leveraging data from our publishers, and potentially beyond, we will be able to offer very precise targeting. Watch this space, we have something in the works already and we expect to begin trials over the next couple of months.”

He says KPEX is already planning to introduce new functionality that will enable any business—regardless of its size—to purchase inventory via the exchange.

“I think accessibility is important. We want as much liquidity in the market as possible, so the more the merrier. Right now you’ve got all the major agency groups geared up to represent the big brands—and that’s great, because they can switch on and start trading straight away—but programmatic is a great leveller and securing premium inventory is no longer just the preserve of the biggest media buyers in town. I mean you have a really buoyant SME market in New Zealand—and e-commerce companies too—who are used to just rolling up their sleeves and doing things for themselves. We want to encourage that. We want to be as easy to buy as possible. You don’t need million dollar ad budgets to work with us.”

This democratisation of ad buying has already been adopted by the likes of Google and Facebook, which allow businesses of any size to target potential customers with commercial messaging.  

“Google has done an amazing job over the years of setting up tools to do their keyword buying,” says Arthur. “It’s genius, and we want to make it the same at KPEX. So you come in, create your ad and trade with us.”

The Rubicon technology behind KPEX is already capable of facilitating this, and Arthur says this service has already been tested in the international markets and that it’s only a matter of time before it becomes available locally.

“As soon as we’re comfortable it’s robust, we will switch it on,” he says. “We’re already speaking to some really interesting potential buyers in this space.”

On the topic of inventory, Arthur looks a little further down the line and says he foresees KPEX being used to sell more than web inventory.

“It’s a bit mind-boggling, but you start to think about digital out-of-home, TV and even beyond.”

And this isn’t even much of stretch. The rapid growth of programmatic has already seen companies like TubeMogul extend their services into the Australian outdoor market, and there’s no reason why KPEX couldn’t do the same on this side of the ditch.

Also, TVNZ sales director Jeremy O’Brien, one of the KPEX founding partners, is a proponent of changing the way TV is sold.

“I don’t know if TV will go programmatic, but I think the way we trade TV should look a whole lot more like online is currently,” O’Brien told NZ Marketing last September. “Cost per thousand impressions is a big opportunity for us, because what it means is that we can have a really transparent conversation around the relative cost effectiveness of television when compared to other media. At the moment, that gets diluted, because people have to work out how to compare their cost per target audience to cost per thousand impressions. And it just makes it murky and hard to make comparisons.”

And with traditional channels increasingly competing in the online space, the demand for accurate measurement and efficient selling of ads grows every quarter, creating a big opportunity for a local exchange like KPEX, which could, potentially, serve as a single pot for inventory across virtually all available channels.

  • This story is part of a content partnership with KPEX.
  • Read more on KPEX here

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