At IX Open, Index Exchange’s first-ever executive conference, publishers and buyers delved into the full suite of programmatic options at their disposal. From PMPs to s2s, all available choices for partners to increase yield were examined, as well as how best to leverage them.
The Great Wrapper Shakeup
Drew Bradstock, SVP of Product at Index Exchange, discussed in his presentation the incredible options that sellers, buyers and ad tech providers have and how they can combat unwarranted ad tech costs within this ecosystem. Last year, every publisher integrated with every exchange, but publishers found little change in yield for their substantial efforts. As such, a wrapper should not necessarily be about adding every new partner, but easily accessing true incremental demand.
For buyers, undisclosed fees should be a major concern, because not every DSP is subject to them and those that do not pay buy side fees have a huge competitive advantage in terms of working media. Bradstock emphasized that now is the inflection point where buyers can demand a better way to buy, and suggested buyers demand their media spend is not reduced by unknown fees.
Alex Gardner, SVP of Platform Solutions at Index Exchange, also joined Rich Caccappolo at MailOnline for a discussion on the future of the wrapper and the changes that must occur within trading companies to achieve greater efficiency. Header Bidding allowed DailyMail to create a more holistic approach to programmatic, but the private marketplace remains a key focus. Though Alex and Rich agreed: The private market needs safe, viewable inventory to function as intended.
“The scale and quality of this event were comparable to the publishers and buyers in attendance. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to candidly discuss the challenges, successes and visions for the future with some of the largest media companies in the world.” — Max Caukin, Senior Client Services Manager, Index Exchange
A PMP Success Story
Private marketplaces have been the subject of much debate this year, so special care was made at IX Open to examine the nuances of their benefits for both publishers and buyers. In a discussion led by Index VP of Business Development Will Doherty, Greta Lawn of Hearst and Emily Costello of Accuen discussed how they’ve collaborated to find success with PMP deals. They noted that a good PMP deal is more about efficiency over the open market, rather than spend, and that it’s essential to step back and audit programmatic deals to make sure they are adding value.
How PMPs should be prioritized was also addressed in the discussion. Views on ad server priority in the context of PMPs are changing, publishers and buyers questioned if priority has value without forecasting whether or not it will scale. The size of spend should and does impact priority, and the panel asserted that, in the future, all levels of priority will be on the table.
During a more intimate break-out session at IX Open, the full benefits and drawbacks of PMPs for buyers and publishers were considered. What works: budgeted deals, understanding performance goals, and knowing what the buyer wants before a deal is set up. What doesn’t work: predicting scale, troubleshooting, pricing, and knowing when to do a deal vs. the open market. The sense from the fruitful discussion was that deals are in a transitional state, and communication between buyers and sellers is key to making sure deals are achieving their potential.
“My absolute favorite moment at IX Open was listening to our publishers share knowledge with each other and give insight with our buyers. What a great feeling to know that Index was the force to create all these connections!” — Cidney Falk, Director, Strategic Alliances, Index Exchange
S2s Deep Dive
Indexers, publishers and buyers also paid special consideration to s2s in the IX Open breakout sessions. Tom Levesque, Product Management Director at Index Exchange, moderated discussions on the tradeoffs and best practices for s2s adoption, mediation and deals.
Despite server-to-server’s promise to improve user experience through faster loading times, publishers should not rush into s2s, but instead test and analyze the results of their integrations to truly know what they’re getting into.
Unless publishers can get their ad server to lift line item limitations, s2s mediation is absolutely necessary for publishers to work with more than 3-5 partners. The only issue is that mediation may come at the cost of granular reporting. The breakout session demonstrated that with server side integrations come complex opportunities and drawbacks. One thing was near unanimous: Participants on all sides who can’t keep up with the tech infrastructure are going to fade away.
Our Future Is Video
Jourdain Casale, VP of Strategy at Index Exchange, stole the show with a mascot-packed presentation outlining the road ahead for programmatic video. From YouTube to Twitch, convergence is shaping the marketplace for programmatic video, but Casale emphasized that it’s on publishers to solve its supply problem. Most publishers are sold out on premium programmatic video, but this may be a sign that they are undervaluing their inventory.
In the video breakout session, publishers and buyers spoke candidly about programmatic video’s place in a header world. Outstream and in-banner video were seen as the culprits devaluing the open market for programmatic video. Though these video formats create more inventory, publishers must set expectations with buyers and challenge them on why they value that ad format. Deeper communication and relationships between publishers and buyers are key to ensuring success in this promising and promising media format, a consistent sentiment in breakouts across all IX Open.