The ABCs of Programmatic Continued (D-L)

ABCs ImageIn the latest installment of our ABCs of Programmatic series – where we try to help demystify programmatic by defining some of its most frequently used buzzwords – we cover the letters “D” through “L.” This takes us from DAAST to Latitude/Longitude (Lat/Long).

• DAAST (Digital Audio Ad Serving Template): A standard structure for delivering the details of an audio ad from an ad server to an audio player using an XML schema. Modeled directly after the widely adopted Video Ad Serving Template (VAST), this is the first formal approach to standardizing audio ad delivery and addresses ad execution scenarios and formats unique to audio like voice recognition, logo titles, and video. Source: IAB

• Data-Management Platform (DMP): Platforms that collect, manage, optimize, organize, segment, and share large amounts of data, making the data flexible and actionable to perform a range of services.

• Deal ID: A piece of code containing the agreed-upon terms (negotiated pricing, for example) between an advertiser and a publisher that allows the advertiser to access the publisher’s inventory. Deal IDs are instrumental in facilitating Private Marketplace deals, for example. Source: AdAge, PubMatic

• Demand-Side Platform (DSP): A company that handles automated media buying from advertisers across multiple sources using unified targeting, data, RTB optimization, and reporting. Generally, DSPs connect directly to supply-side platforms (SSPs) to enable publishers to package and sell inventory themselves. Source: IAB, PubMatic

• eCPM (Effective Cost Per Thousand): A form of measurement that allows advertisers to gauge the cost differences between a CPC and CPM campaign in order to determine which is more cost effective.

• First-Party Data: User information collected and stored by social media sites, website publishers, retailers, and others after the user visits a digital property. Source: AdAge, PubMatic

• Frequency Capping: The limit put on the number of times an impression is exposed to an advertisement message.

• Geotargeting: Showing ads to consumers based on their mobile device’s location, such as ZIP code information users submit when registering on a site or service or GPS coordinates collected by an application or site. Source: AdAge, PubMatic

• IAB Rising Stars Ad Units: An interactive digital ad format that entices consumers with high-quality tech. Source: IAB, PubMatic

• Impressions: Simply put, impressions are views of a given web page. The number of potential impressions is used to determine the cost of displaying an ad. Source: IAB, PubMatic

• I/O – Insertion Order: The contracted order form to buy advertising space between a buyer and a seller; a purchase order between an interactive advertising seller and a buyer (usually an advertiser or its agency). Source: IAB

• Latitude/Longitude (Lat/Long): A geographic coordinate system that, when used in the context of mobile advertising, refers to the location data that can be shared from a device to help identify characteristics of the user, environment or context. Lat/Long is a critical metric that helps make advertising content more valuable to the publisher, advertiser, and consumer.

So, Does Verizon/AOL Finally Affirm Publishers Need Tech To Survive?

By Kirk McDonald, President of PubMatic

This piece was originally posted on LinkedIn.


If there remained any lingering doubt about the critically important role that marketing/media technology will play in the future success of media companies, I’m hoping that news of the Verizon’s acquisition of AOL last week will put those thoughts to rest. The deal is noteworthy because the mobile telecom giant seems most interested in AOL’s media technology.

While I no longer have the day-to-day duties and challenges of a publisher, that mindset remains a part of my professional DNA. When I see an announcement like the Verizon-AOL deal, I find myself wondering how publishers will respond as the media landscape continues to be shaped by mega entities that blend media, technology and data.

As usual, a lot of us may be tempted to ask: how should we categorize the future Verizon-AOL? Is it a media company or a technology company? As the pundits suggests, I guess it should be added to whichever category we would assign Google and Facebook.

What should be clear at this point, how we categorize these companies is no longer worthy of a protracted debate. The unofficial consensus seems to be that these giants straddle both the media and technology worlds. In fact, they have become a frequent supplier of technology to publishers, while at same time acting as a media competitor to those same publishers.

eMarketer projects that Google, Facebook and Twitter will grab $11.68 billion of the U.S. digital display advertising market in 2015, representing about 43% of the entire non-search market. And it may not be long before it makes sense to add Verizon-AOL’s advertising revenue to that number. Even if these giant companies are not exactly “media companies,” they are competing for the same advertising revenue as publishers. So the debate as to whether they are media or technology companies is academic at this point.

The publishing community needs to take more direct action to respond to these giant market shifts. Every successful media company needs to find the independent marketing technology provider that will help them execute their business strategy and compete in this new environment.

During the last five years, publishing has changed to a degree that no one could have anticipated. Although the core fundamentals of the business – monetizing and managing the relationship between consumers, content and services – remain intact, the means have changed. Premium content is no longer the failsafe recipe for success that it was for publishers for decades. Instead, technology and data are upending the monetization strategies that publishers have relied on for so long.

Whether it’s data about consumers or data about how advertisers value inventory and audiences, successful publishers must transition to this new real-time world to remain competitive. That transition means retooling and rethinking the skillset of the publishing workforce. It also requires state-of-the-art technology solutions that are developed not only to enable publishers to compete today, but also designed to anticipate the seismic changes that occur with each passing quarter.

They need holistic inventory management platforms that offer real-time, and eventually predictive analytics. Publishers need marketing automation technology that will enable them to manage their sales, pricing and packaging, and go-to-market efforts strategically and at scale. This means automating the publisher’s marketing value chain. This includes everything from identifying a new buyer, qualifying that buyer, nurturing buyer relationships, executing a sale and identifying future opportunities to upsell and cross sell. Obviously, these are not new concepts to publishers. However, doing them successfully millions of times a week and in real-time is only possible when enabled by technology.

As publishers embrace this challenge, it’s imperative that they choose the right technology partner. Quietly, many publishers are becoming increasingly skeptical of the idea that the tech giants’ long-term business goals align with their success. At the same time the ad exchanges, more accurately described as branded marketplaces, are focused on creating liquid markets and are making clear investments to bolster their ability to drive to that end. These marketplaces are no more invested in a publisher’s success than the NASDAQ is invested in the success of a particular mutual fund that makes trades on its exchange.

There is simply no successful case study available that provides a blueprint of exactly how to reinvent a premium publishing company into a world-class media and technology operation. This effort in change management is a high wire act for most publishers. The marketplace’s quick and relentless shift to a world that demands software to execute strategy is making it a necessity.

So let’s quit looking for the answer to the wrong question, “Are Google and Facebook (and now Verizon-AOL) media companies or tech companies?” and start asking the right question, “How am I sourcing and using independent marketing technology to build a successful foundation for the media company of the future?”

Programmatic Analytics: We Should Expect More

By Anand Das, Co-Founder and CTO at PubMatic

Analytics Blog

If you’re in an unfamiliar neighborhood and craving Chinese food, you can pull out your smartphone and ask where the nearest good restaurant is, using plainspoken language. If you’re trying to get in shape, you can use a Fitbit and apps to track your activity, guide you in the right direction, and visualize your progress clearly.

If harnessing the vast amounts of data around us in our personal lives to gain valuable insights is so easy, why is often so difficult to replicate that experience at work? As consumers, we expect the technology in our lives to be simple, fluid and responsive. It’s time for us to expect the same from our business tools.

Programmatic has made advertising more precise, measurable and accountable than ever before. But the irony of the programmatic age is that we measure our results with tools from the previous decade – or even the previous century. Programmatic has become the new normal, but our reporting and analytics are stuck in the old normal. A lot of media planning is still done in Excel. Some non-programmatic media buys still are completed through fax machines.

Advertisers and publishers could use programmatic to be more adaptive and responsive – making real-time changes to strategy based on up-to-the-minute data and insights – but the tools to help manage and understand this data are not nearly as advanced as the platform itself.

We need powerful visualizations to help us identify patterns, trends and outliers in their data – enabling faster, more informed decision-making. We should be able to ask simple questions about complex real-time data, and get clear and actionable answers. In the programmatic world, we can tap into advances in consumer technology to create a more conversational approach to analytics and reporting. Instead of constructing a complex query, we should be able to ask the simple questions our bosses are asking us, such as “Who are my top five agency buyers?”

And much like investors in financial markets, we need benchmarking insights that provide a view into the wider market. Most investors couldn’t conceive of a world that didn’t include indexes like the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and the hundreds of others that they access to measure their progress and adjust their strategy. By contrast, in the real-time ad sales market there’s not been anything similar. Publishers and buyers remain largely in the dark when it comes to accessing insights into what’s happening in the wider market.

Programmatic is the epitome of “big data” – an unprecedented amount of detailed knowledge about the reach and effectiveness of media buys. And like all big data, its volume and complexity outpaces any human’s ability to process it. But smart technology can comb through all this data and produce the insights and guidance we need.

This combination of natural language processing, data analysis and benchmarking can add up to some significant advances in how we approach the programmatic world. If we can close the gap between data, insight and action, we can unlock programmatic’s full potential to optimize and supercharge the world of advertising.

Adapted from the PubMatic 2015 Programmatic Outlook Report.

Click here to learn how publishers can use PubMatic Analytics to optimize and grow revenue.


Three Things Publishers Should Demand from Programmatic Analytics

By Alaric Thomas, Director of Product Management, Big Data and Analytics at PubMatic
Analytics ImageTechnology accelerates everything it touches. Nowhere does that seem truer these days than in the ad sales market. In the time it took you to read the previous sentence, millions of digital advertising impressions were auctioned and served.

Yet, while everything in ad sales seems to be speeding up to real-time, one thing has noticeably lagged – reporting and analytics solutions for publishers. Many publishers feel like they are playing catch-up to the sophisticated analytics solutions that buyers use to make decisions. Publishers are also wasting time trying to find critical data within overly-complicated reports. Finally, publishers struggle to understand the value of their inventory and how they are performing against rival publishers.

Programmatic advertising is creating mountains of data everyday. Publishers that can harness that data into actionable insights will be able to drive better business outcomes. They will be more successful than rivals that aren’t able to convert all that data into value. With that in mind, I present three things every publisher should demand from their analytics solution.


This is a real-time market, and a real-time market demands real-time analytics. Real-time analytics allows publishers to identify and immediately react to market trends, as well as uncover new opportunities as they happen. Instead of getting frustrated as they become aware of opportunities too late to take action, publishers can instead take advantage of changes in the market in real-time resulting in increased revenue.

You wouldn’t manage your retirement portfolio by relying on a stockbroker who uses stale market information. Therefore, publishers shouldn’t rely on programmatic solutions that don’t provide up-to-the-minute data about the market that they transact in.

Simple to Use and Easy to Decipher

Analytics shouldn’t bury publishers in mounds of data, or complicated reports that are difficult to understand. Instead, publishers should expect an interface that is easy-to-use and provides functionality that makes it simple to find critical data. Ideally, this means having a natural language processing capability that empowers casual and power users to search for data by just typing in questions using every-day language. The analytics solution should also provide visualization features, such as graphs and heat maps that make it easy to identify trends and data outliers.

Competitive Actionable Insights

Until now, the real-time ad sales market has been a black box for information. One way to open up the black box is for publishers to demand competitive insights that give them a view into the wider market. This means getting access to competitive data that provides insights into how a publisher’s inventory is performing against its peers. This type of actionable competitive insight will result in optimizing pricing and packaging strategies allowing publishers to maximize their overall revenue. Publishers could then also increase revenue by identifying new potential advertisers that are advertising on competitive publisher properties.

At PubMatic we believe publishers need robust analytics in today’s data-driven programmatic marketplace. As the leader of the PubMatic’s Big Data and Analytics Product Management Team, I am proud to be part of a company that is revolutionizing analytics in the programmatic advertising industry. This includes launching the industry’s only analytics solution to provide real-time data, and the industry’s only competitive benchmarking solution which allows publishers to make smarter business decisions that increase revenue.

If you’re interested in learning more about PubMatic Analytics you can view details here.

Four Key Findings About Mobile Media From Pew’s “State of The News Media 2015”

Each year the annual “State of The News Media” report published by The Pew Research Center provides a host of insights about the challenges and opportunities that US-based news publishers are facing. A big focus of this year’s report –released last week– is the stunning growth of mobile.

Here are some key findings:

  • The Mobile Majority is Here. The study finds that 39 of the top 50 news sites now see more mobile visits than desktop visits. This finding was especially true among so-called “digital native” sites like Upworthy, and Buzzfeed where mobile users far outstrip desktop users. However, the finding also held true for more traditional outlets. Indeed, 19 of the top 25 leading newspapers recorded at least 10% more mobile traffic than desktop traffic.
  • Mobile Advertising Spend Is Exploding. In 2014, mobile ad spending leapt 78% to $19 billion, and that red-hot growth rate actually cooled from 170% in 2013. Mobile now accounts for 37% of all digital spend, up from 25% in the previous year. 
  • Desktop Holds An Edge in Time Spent. For 40 of the top 50 news sites, users tend to spend more time on a site per visit when they arrive via desktop than when they come via a mobile device. This fact could be a critical part of keeping advertisers interested in desktop inventory as this extra time spent might possibly translate into increased viewability, which is a key concern for many advertisers.
  • Five Companies Have Grabbed Almost Two-Thirds of Mobile Display Spending. Technology companies have been more adept at monetizing the massive growth in mobile advertising spending. In 2014, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Pandora and Apple (iAd) earned 64% of mobile display revenue. Indeed, it wasn’t that long ago that both Wall Street and Silicon Valley were questioning whether Facebook would be able to monetize its growing mobile traffic. Those questions seemed to be put to rest as its mobile revenue has gone from zero to $3.6 billion since 2012. Now the real question is, “Can the publishing community find ways to begin to earn a bigger a slice of the mobile display pie?”

Publishers interested in learning more about maximizing revenue from their mobile inventory can download the whitepaper. Getting the Most Out of Mobile: 5 Ways to Maximize the Value of Premium Publisher Mobile Ad inventory.

Publishers can also check out the infographic below.

Get the Most Out of Mobile

The ABCs of Programmatic (Literally)


ABCs Image

The digital advertising industry is known for its plethora of buzzwords and acronyms. “Programmatic,” “RTB,” “PMP,” “DSP”… These terms are frequently tossed around in meetings and at industry events with increasing frequency. Here at PubMatic, we recognize that understanding these terms can mean the difference between completely grasping a rather straightforward concept or getting lost in haze of jargon.

To that end, we identified several dozen terms that we think are most important for digital media and advertising executives to know and understand. In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting a selection of these definitions for you to peruse at your leisure.

This week, we’re looking at everything from “ad networks” to “cross-device tracking.” Be sure to keep checking back for more useful definitions, as we continue our “ABCs of Programmatic” series.

  • Agency Trading Desk (ATD): A centralized, service-based organization that serves as a managed service layer, typically between a demand-side platform (DSP) or other audience buying technologies, and an agency. ATDs use data to help advertisers effectively purchase audience-based advertising at scale across digital media. Source: AdExchanger, PubMatic
  • Audience: In the context of programmatic advertising — For Publishers: This describes the characteristics of consumers of the content or service that is being provided. For Advertisers: This describes the target of an advertising campaign or a marketing effort.
  • Automated Guaranteed (AG): The automation of traditional digital direct sales, often of publishers’ reserved inventory. In Automated Guaranteed deals, the RFP and campaign trafficking processes are automated, inventory and pricing are guaranteed, deals are negotiated directly between sellers and buyers and facilitated by a technology platform. Direct integration with publishers’ ad servers allow for real-time availability of impressions and direct line item insertion for trafficking.
  • Automated Performance (AP): This is workflow automation, similar to Automated Guaranteed, but for these deals campaign performance is guaranteed, rather than impressions. The two main performance metrics for these deals are cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-install (CPI).
  • Branded Marketplace: A marketplace between buyers and sellers of media assets that leverages the knowledge from buying and selling dynamics in order to arbitrage and accelerate the liquidity of the market; also known as “exchanges” or “ad exchanges”.
  • Brand Control: The goal of publishers and advertisers that want to make sure their brands maintain their integrity. Brand protection tools automate the process of preventing objectionable content from appearing on publishers’ sites and ensure that branded advertisements don’t appear alongside objectionable content.
  • Cookie: A small piece of data, or identifier, attached to a person’s Internet browser to track online behavior and sites visited. Source: AdAge, PubMatic
  • Cookie-Sync: The mechanism by which a SSP cookie ID can be matched to a DSP cookie ID. The purpose is usually intended to improve the audience match rate between buyers and sellers and improve the measurement of campaign effectiveness.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): A variation of the CPM pricing methodology where the cost incurred by advertisers is tied to an action, or for every ‘click’ placed on an ad that redirects the user to a given website or customized landing page. Source: IAB, PubMatic
  • Cost Per Install (CPI): A popular mobile advertising pricing model used by app developers that requires developers to pay only when a user downloads their advertised app; also known as cost-per-acquisition. Source: AppFlood, PubMatic
  • Cross-Device Tracking: Describes the many ways platforms and publishers try to identify consumers across smartphones, tablets, desktop computers and other connected devices.

What is Programmatic Direct? What do you need to know about it? An Expert Q&A

A Conversation with Adrian Pang, PubMatic’s Senior Director of Product

There is a lot of recent discussion in the digital advertising space around the topic of “Programmatic Direct.” Throughout his career, Adrian Pang has led innovation in developing programmatic solutions. He is currently the product team lead developing PubMatic’s Programmatic Direct solution, which was released on Monday of last week.

Adrian Pang, Senior Director Product

Here’s a Q&A interview with Adrian in which brings some clarity to the confusion surrounding Programmatic Direct.

Q) There’s a lot of buzz around the term “Programmatic Direct” in the marketplace, but also a lot of confusion about what it really is. Can you define “Programmatic Direct” in the simplest possible way?

AP: Programmatic Direct is a term used to describe transaction workflows for direct sold media. Through programmatic direct, both buyers and sellers can leverage programmatic technology to create more seamless and automated transactions for both parties. This includes Automated Guaranteed deals as well as Private Marketplace (PMP) transactions, which are direct deals that give publishers the ability to designate certain inventory for a select buyer or group of buyers that utilizes Real-Time Bidding (RTB) technology..

If you think about the way that digital advertising inventory has traditionally been bought and sold, it often involves a buyer picking up a telephone to call a publisher – or even several publishers – to determine what packages are available at what prices. In recent years, this has changed to some degree, somewhat driven by the rapid adoption of RTB, which allows buyers and sellers to transact in a “real-time” auction environment. The success of the open market auction has provided a lot of learning that has now informed ways to improve the non-auction based direct buys, and auction based buys in which the buyer and seller are aware of each other.

Through Programmatic Direct, buyers can now use a digital interface to interact with a publisher and to discover and purchase inventory, standard packages, sponsorships, custom buys or other offers a publisher wants to make available.


Q) Is Programmatic Direct really going to improve media buying and selling? If so, how?

AP: Programmatic Direct should reduce the friction that exists within media transactions in a number of ways. First, it will provide buyers with vastly improved discoverability – in other words, the ability to know what a publisher offers and find other inventory availability. Buyers will be able to quickly and easily search, discover and transact on inventory through an interface, reducing the need to call their publishers for tactical information.

Another enormous benefit of Programmatic Direct is that it will automate the ad trafficking process. After an offer is accepted or placed inside of the interface, the buy will populate in your ad server of choice. This is significant as it reduces a lot of the possibility for human error, as the technical work that goes into setting-up a digital advertising campaign within an ad server will be done seamlessly. This is immediately a more efficient and effective way to source and place a campaign.


Q) The way you’re describing Programmatic Direct makes it sound a bit like technology is going to replace publishers’ sales and operations teams. Should they be worried? 

AP: No, not at all. Think of this as real-time offers from a publisher. Sales and operations teams will remain critically important in this process, but much of the tactical workflow will be automated so they can spend their time being more strategic. With an independent, unified SSP, sales and operations teams now have an intelligent platform to tap into that will help drive better performance for customers and more revenue.


Q) As someone leading a team that’s developing a Programmatic Direct solution, what has been your approach to addressing this challenge?

AP: There has been so much hype and over promising in the area of Programmatic Direct that we felt it was important to get all the parts right for both our publishers and buyers. We put important products in market over the past 18 months anticipating the market maturation to this moment. Real-time analytics and a holistic one platform approach seem like critical prerequisites for an effective Programmatic Direct strategy. We’re honestly surprised that others have claimed to provide workflow solutions to publishers without the fundamental building block of real-time reporting and analytics that allow a publisher to create intelligent real-time offers. That’s why our approach has been to build our Programmatic Direct solution from the ground up. I think of it this way: if you wanted to build the best flying car, you wouldn’t buy a car, or two in some cases, and then try to make it fly. Instead, you’d rethink the idea of what makes a great car and what makes a great plane in order to redefine the concept. Then you’d build that.


Q) I keep hearing talk of Private Marketplaces and Automated Guaranteed, are they both components of Programmatic Direct?

AP: Yes, they are both part of Programmatic Direct. We believe the best approach is a unified approach to Private Marketplace and Automated Guaranteed, so our platform provides publishers with a single way to define their inventory, price and package it—all the while monetizing across different channels. And for buyers, they have many options for working with us on Programmatic Direct. They can access publisher inventory through tools they already use—such as Mediaocean, Kantar Media, and Adslot—or integrate on our APIs or they can access our media buyer portal. The key point is they don’t need multiple point solutions. Instead, we enable the transaction capability for Private Marketplace, Automated Guaranteed and Real Time Bidding all through one platform.


Q) According to last week’s announcement, PubMatic’s Programmatic Direct solution appears to incorporate a number of additional features. Can you explain that a bit?

AP: Of course. As I mentioned, PubMatic Programmatic Direct includes our Private Marketplace solution as well as Automated Guaranteed, which is workflow automation for direct buying and selling, but it also encompasses several other new and updated features. In addition to the Unified API for Private Marketplace and Automated Guaranteed, which we announced a few weeks ago, this new announcement is focused on the release of our dedicated buyer portal and new audience matching tools.


Q) What exactly are the audience matching tools you mentioned?

AP: So inside of this major product release, we have so many very special nuggets and our new audience matching feature is one of the brightest. Currently, programmatic buyers still face many challenges when it comes to buying audience-targeted impressions in an overly fragmented inventory supply. Buyers are not able to access as much of their desired audience-targeted inventory across the various sales channels they have to manage. With audience matching, buyers will share their own audience data and PubMatic will provide a report that identifies the publishers with the highest audience overlap. This is why we called the feature “audience matching”. Based on this information, when a buyer identifies a specific publisher they want to work with, PubMatic will facilitate the connection of the pipes between the publisher and the buyer in setting up a Private Marketplace or Automated Guaranteed deal. This approach supports the value of the analog relationships by making the technical connections seamless.

So with audience matching, the door is open to create new or strengthen existing Programmatic Direct relationships between publishers and buyers based on finding overlap between a buyer’s desired audience segments and a publisher’s inventory.


Time For A Time Out

Any parent knows that terrifying moment when the three year old stands up and yells out the F-bomb. It’s entertaining, but pay it too much attention and you’ll just end up encouraging the kid.

That’s the case with the latest outburst from our friend Brian O’Kelley, who suggested in his recent interview, that everyone in the advertising ecosystem has it completely wrong. No one seems to understand the future, and everyone is pursuing a failing strategy. Makes us wonder whatever happened to that old adage about not saying anything if you can’t think of anything nice to say.

We respect the business that Brian has built in display, but his comments were troubling. He basically told publishers to drop dead, declaring them irrelevant and not offering them any real capabilities. We take publisher needs seriously – after all, they own the relationship with the consumer. And we have put our energy towards delivering real mobile solutions to our premium publishing partners. We suppose that if you haven’t successfully built a publisher product with a relevant value proposition, then you might imagine there’s no future in having them as paying customers. We disagree. And as much as we enjoy Brian’s colorful turns of phrase, we hope that he’ll soon bring the same spirited approach and energy to developing mobile offerings.

But hey, it’s the weekend, and as we wind down this week at ad:tech, let’s end it on a good note and say something nice about all the incredible companies that work in this ecosystem. Congratulations to our customers, partners and competitors for continuing to learn and innovate together, and cheers to all those that are committed to making the promise of digital a reality!