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.

Cheat Sheet: Programmatic Deal Types

By Justin Re, Director Product Management, PubMatic

Justin Re HeadshotFor many in the digital advertising world, the term “programmatic” is synonymous with “Real-Time Bidding,” or “RTB.” But as the industry has evolved, it becomes increasingly important to make the distinction between the two. Simply put, RTB does not equal programmatic. RTB is a technology protocol, and just one of many approaches to programmatic.

We are witnessing an explosion of new buying channels that better connect buyers and sellers, all with the aim of moving ad inventory higher up the value chain and replicating the traditional direct buying process without the legacy inefficiencies that go along with it.

There are six major types of programmatic deal types, although we have yet to see industry-wide consensus on how each is defined or the appropriate goals and strategies that accompany them. Here’s a short cheat sheet of each of the six major deal types that hopefully decodes some of the complexity around the many flavors or programmatic.

Open Marketplace RTB

Real-time bidding (RTB) is a technology that enables the buying and selling of digital ad impressions through instantaneous auctions, facilitated by ad exchanges or demand- and supply-side platforms. In the open marketplace, RTB impressions are available to all bidders.

Private Marketplace (PMP)

These are customized, invitation-only marketplaces that provide publishers with the ability to set aside certain ad inventory packages and sell it to a select buyer or group of buyers with an emphasis on margin management for the seller. Unlike a direct buy, which can be quite labor-intensive, buyers in a Private Marketplace use programmatic methods to purchase from publishers.

Private Marketplace Guaranteed (PMPG)

Similar to Private Marketplaces, a PMP Guaranteed deal is also a customized, invitation-only marketplace, however it is one in which a single premium publisher makes inventory and audiences available to a single buyer, thus guaranteeing a total spend and audience. This effectively guarantees the delivery of the impressions to the buyer.

Automated Guaranteed (AG)

The automation of traditional digital direct sales often of publishers’ most highly valued (e.g. premium) 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).

Spot Buying

Spot Buying transactions exist within an exchange environment with pre-negotiated, fixed pricing (on things like CPM or CPC). Typically, these are given a higher priority in the ad server than open marketplace or PMP transactions. These types of deals are the result of advertiser demand for a more predictable offering within the exchange space.

Programmatic Outlook Report_Deal Types

This post is adapted from an essay found in PubMatic’s 2015 Programmatic Outlook Report. Download your copy.

Apple Watch and Wearables Could Change Advertising But Not How You Think

DSC_2004By Dan Wilson, Senior Director Mobile & Video, PubMatic

To publishers and advertisers, the Apple Watch must seem like the latest in a never-ending proliferation of media screens. And if past is prologue, with each screen comes new opportunities for advertisers and publishers.

However, at the risk of stating the obvious this latest screen is on a watch. And watch displays are really small. And even if that wasn’t true, are people really ready to see an ad appear on a device that is strapped to their wrist?

Needless to say, it is very early days for both the watch and tech wearables generally. But that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start trying to predict the impact of this latest flavor of media consumption on the advertising space. So let me try by outlining three of the implications for advertising that I see arising from the watch.

1) The watch will be an accessory to advertising not an advertising platform.

In the beginning, the watch will feed data about the wearer back to the iPhone and that could allow Apple to make better recommendations in the App store or iTunes based on that data. I suspect Apple will guard the data and real estate on the Apple Watch screen very closely, so those opportunities will be closed off to rest of the media ecosystem.

However, once there is wider adoption of watches and wearable’s in more open ecosystems – like Android – there will likely be more opportunities for advertisers and publishers. So this is really just opening the door to wearables and initially we should expect them to serve more as a potential input device for data that can inform advertising on other screens rather than a screen for displaying advertising.

2) Publisher and Advertisers Will Need Some Time To Figure it Out

Publishers and advertiser absolutely need to be thinking about how the Apple Watch will impact their ability to reach consumers but they won’t figure that out tomorrow. Therefore, I don’t think they need to scramble quite yet but they need to start to consider the watch as part of the overall consumer media experience.

So if you’re a publisher or an advertiser you should go out and buy a bunch of Apple Watches for the people in your organization and road test them over the next few months. You can then match your experience with the watch experience against how the market is adopting the device. You’ll want to see how it’s changing consumer behavior and how you need to evolve your consumer engagement strategy as a result.

3) Don’t Confuse More Screens With More Time or Permission

The Apple Watch is one more screen competing for the consumer’s attention. If you’re looking at your watch then you’re not looking at your phone. And since the its clear that Apple sees the watch as a device that will receive push notifications, the watch may actually reduce the amount of times that users pick up their phones during the day.

That would make the times when people are using their phones more valuable. So advertisers need to ensure that they are delivering the best mobile experience possible by matching the right creative with the right context and data. And advertisers shouldn’t be afraid to pay top dollar for this opportunity to reach the consumer because although the number of screens may be proliferating the chances to reach the consumer may not be.

Additionally, the watch will be an even more personal device, and it’s likely that consumers will resist the intrusion of ad, even native ads on that so small screen. The expectations of highly relevant messages and an understanding of a consumer in context will be the new standard.

In short, I am excited about this new technology. I think there will be a myriad of innovative ways that publishers and advertisers will eventually learn to leverage it. In the meantime, I am looking forward to seeing how my personal interactions and my content consumption change with it.

Native Advertising: Two Truths and a Lie

Graham LinkedInIf you’re not familiar with the popular icebreaker game “Two Truths and a Lie” here’s how it works: each person within a group of relative strangers introduces himself and then proceeds to provide the group with three statements about himself. Two of the statements are true and one is a lie. The rest of the group then tries to guess which of the statements is the lie.

We recently asked Graham Mosley, Senior Director, Native at PubMatic to play Two Truths and a Lie. However, instead of focusing our game on statements about Graham, we decided to focus this round on his area of knowledge expertise, native advertising. We thought it would be a fun way to examine this topic.

Over the past 12-16 months, there has been a lot of attention on native advertising among publishers and advertisers. There’s even some uncertainty over exactly what constitutes a native ad and what function they serve. A December 2013 Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) report (link) attempted to sum up native with the statement: “it is clear that most advertisers and publishers aspire to deliver paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.”

Graham sees a lot momentum in the market around native but also a lot of confusion.

Here is Two Truths and a Lie for Native

Statement #1: There’s now a programmatic standard for native ads that will make it easier for both publishers and buyers to scale native.

Statement #2: Like the rest of the programmatic advertising ecosystem, native is expanding from a strong initial presence on desktop into mobile inventory.

Statement #3: Native is an ad format that’s often used for content marketing, but native is not just a new name for content marketing.

Before we reveal the lie, we wanted to point out that a key reason native has soared in popularity since that IAB report is because these types of ads are remarkably effective at driving consumer engagement.

Some data on consumer engagement:

  • Native ads are 25% more viewable than standard ads (IPG Media Lab and Sharethrough)
  • 52% of native clicks have higher purchase rate (IPG Media Lab and Sharethrough)
  • Native ads generate 82% increase in brand lift (Nielson)


And Now . . . The Reveal

Statement #1: There’s now a programmatic standard for native ads that will make it easier for both publishers and buyers to scale native 

True. There’s a relatively new programmatic IAB standard, which is designed to make it easier for publishers and buyers to scale native ads across the advertising ecosystem.

Graham Mosley: Until recently, native primarily lived inside walled gardens – especially social platforms – where a few players with scale could make the rules about how native worked within their closed environments. I believe we’re at the point where native is ready to go mainstream. The industry wants to see a large number of buyers and sellers transacting across an open and accessible environment. When the IAB recognized the need for a standard, it was a clear signal that native was poised for enormous growth. We were an integral part of the IAB Task Force that developed the standard, and built our solution from the ground up in accordance with this standard. Now that the rules of the road are in place, native programmatic can finally scale.

Another key reason we think that native is ready to scale in programmatic is that it will provide native buyers with actionable third party data. When native was primarily constrained to a closed environment, it didn’t provide the data to allow the buyer to make real-time decisions. That lack of real-time decision-making prevented key marketing techniques like creative optimization that is designed to better match the user experience or even the sequencing of messages. That ability is only available in programmatic, which is why we believe programmatic and native are a great fit.

Statement #2: Like the rest of the programmatic advertising ecosystem, native is expanding from a strong initial presence on desktop into mobile inventory.

False. To a significant degree, the momentum we’re now seeing behind native advertising began in mobile, and because native is fundamentally cross-platform, it is now extending to all screens.

GM: We are starting to see programmatic native, which was very much mobile focused, entering desktop as well. Part of the reason it’s been so mobile focused is because the components of native often fit perfectly into the visual snippets that work well within the mobile form factor. However, this way of displaying ad content is being adopted by premium publishers at scale. And buyers are getting serious about buying native programmatically on desktop. This year we will begin to see real spend by programmatic buyers on desktop native. So in a sense, native is doing the reverse of what we have seen in other parts of the programmatic advertising landscape, where things started in desktop and then migrated to mobile. 

Statement #3: Native is an ad format that’s often used for content marketing, but native is not just a new name for content marketing.

True. Native is an ad format often used for content marketing.

GM: Some people believe strongly that in-feed native is a tool only for content marketing.

Content marketing is when brands create and distribute content to provide value and create a relationship with the consumer. The in-feed native unit is natural ad format to drive users to this content, because it gives the marketer a better opportunity to tell a story than a standard banner ad. Additionally, these placements normally blend into the user experience on a style level and matching the context. However, many marketers are also using in-feed native units for more traditional advertising.

At its core, native is another advertising format. While it is the best ad format for content marketing, it will be used for standard advertising as well. We continue to see premium publishers develop integrated content marketing solutions for advertisers that include in-feed native ad units. Now that we have turned the corner on standards, Native will grow significantly this year and into 2016, supporting all types of marketing.

PubMatic launched its new programmatic native advertising solution at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona. For more information see here (link).

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.


2015: Return To The Power of Consumers, Content and Connections

Kirk McDonald, President
Kirk McDonald, President

There is no denying that the future of media and influence is digital. Globally, costs for devices with screens of all sizes are falling. From smart watches and smartphones to the latest large screen televisions, consumers are finding it easier to create more personal content experiences. Leading publishers and marketers are investing in mapping their content and messages to new consumer engagement points. In 2014, iconic publishers such as Bonnier (Popular Science, Outdoor Life, Saveur), iHeartMedia, The Economist, and ESI Media (Independent, London Evening Standard), and brands such as American Express, Mondelez, and P&G are just a few of the leaders that continued to find innovative and efficient ways to connect with their audiences… and programmatic became a preferred part of their strategy around consumers, content and connections.

Global spend on programmatic advertising, which didn’t even exist a decade ago, increased more than 52 percent between 2013 and 2014 and is projected to reach $53bn by 2018.[1] This year, global programmatic spend accounted for 42 percent of display-related spend, up from 33% in 2013.[2] As we kick off 2015, we wanted to share some insights around the trends we see taking center stage:

Walled Gardens: Friend, Foe, or Both?

We have seen a significant transition in the advertising technology business. We moved from a complex and fragmented probabilistic advertising ecosystem based on cookies and anonymous third-party targeting to that of a few large, concentrated and deterministic ad platforms that enable explicit consumer targeting based on actual identity. The growing presence of large first-party consumer platforms – “Walled Gardens” – with powerful self-interests has a strong influence on the way publishers and advertisers engage and do business.

The benefits for publishers are compelling, but at what cost? Despite access to valuable first-party data, the majority of ad targeting data is applied on the buy side, leaving most publishers’ first-party data falling short of its promised value. From traditional solutions like yield management and Real-Time Bidding to the latest innovations like Automated Guaranteed and Programmatic Direct, PubMatic remains focused on the best interests of the publishers that we work with, providing them with the tools and services they need to maximize their digital assets.

Cracking the Code on Actionable Insights for Publishers

The rise in programmatic underscores the fact that media fragmentation is accelerating—giving rise to new complexities. This makes the need for improved workflows, and smarter reporting and analytics critical dependencies for those trying to differentiate their brands and establish a winning strategy.

At PubMatic, we recognized 2014 as the year that programmatic advertising became the “new normal”—like all manner of technologies before it, from the magnetic strips on debit cards to mobile phones, programmatic is no longer quite the enigma it once was. Programmatic is now well understood as more than just the technology protocol of RTB. It is an integral part of any successful holistic media selling and buying strategies. Advertisers and publishers are using programmatic to be more adaptive and responsive, making real-time changes to strategy based on up-to-the-minute data and insights across every channel (both direct and indirect), screen (mobile, tablet, desktop), and format (video, native, mobile).

digital publisher

The real opportunity for programmatic lies in using software solutions to increase media efficiency and efficacy. In October, PubMatic launched PubMatic Analytics, the industry’s first analytics platform featuring real-time reporting and natural language processing. As the industry has moved to operating in real time, we are meeting this challenge with a best in class technology, first ever real time data and analytics, actionable intelligence and easy to use reporting resulting in superior decision-making and business advantages for users.

Making Valuable Connections with Audiences

Smartphones are the most viewed screens in many countries, representing more than 25 percent of global web usage in 2014.[3] In fact, users in emerging markets like Saudi Arabia and Kenya spend more time on their mobile devices than with any other medium. Publishers are taking note. Over the past year, approximately 68 percent of mobile ads were bought programmatically industry-wide, and that number is predicted to rise to 88% by 2017.[4] As a result, we saw overall revenue generated by mobile on our platform more than double during the first three quarters of 2014, and interest in data-enriched solutions like the industry’s first geo-enabled mobile Private Marketplaces captured the attention of publishers and advertisers alike.

Building on this momentum, we acquired Mocean Mobile, PubMatic’s mobile ad server, in May. The combination of our leading mobile SSP with an enterprise-grade mobile ad server allowed PubMatic to create an end-to-end mobile solution for publishers. As mobile devices proliferate, we can expect to see the exponential growth in mobile programmatic continue through 2015.

No “One Size Fits All” Solution for Publishers

Programmatic is also exploding in markets like Japan, China, Brazil, Mexico, and the Middle East. While the United States will continue to lead the way in programmatic, markets like the UK, China, Japan, and Australia are beginning to close the gap.[5] This growth, along with that of formats like mobile, video—arguably paving the way for programmatic TV— and native, are strong indications not just that programmatic is growing, but that it is thriving. For a publisher, keeping up with the rapid pace of change can be sometimes daunting, as new competencies have to be developed in understanding the application of algorithms, business logic and rules, and brand safety, just to get started managing your inventory in a dynamic marketplace.

publisher types

As such, there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution for programmatic. In fact, as programmatic grows and matures and new global markets enter the fray, we see new trends unfolding in how publishers and media buyers integrate programmatic advertising into their business strategies. Our Platform Solutions team was launched over a year ago to bring business and strategy consultancy to our customers. This team is completely focused on customer success from initial adoption to seasoned programmatic veterans.

So, will 2015 be the year when all of the challenges in programmatic advertising are solved? Probably not. But the companies that are making these trends top priorities will break out and truly make a difference. As the last remaining pure-play SSP[6], and the only one dedicated to the marketing automation needs of publishers, we realize that we have unique and valuable insights to share. It’s increasingly important for us to pause and reflect on where this dynamic industry is heading. That’s why we collected our insights in the 2015 Programmatic Outlook Report, offering our perspective of the major trends and opportunities ahead in advertising as we enter 2015. We invite you to download a free copy of our report by visiting

So here’s to a successful 2015!



[1] MAGNA GLOBAL. “MAGNA GLOBAL’s New Programmatic Forecasts,” 29 Sep 2014.
[2] MAGNA GLOBAL. “MAGNA GLOBAL’s New Programmatic Forecasts,” 29 Sep 2014.
[3] Mary Meeker. “Internet Trends 2014,” 28 May 2014.
[4] IDC. “Worldwide and U.S. Real-Time Bidding Forecast,” 2013.
[5] MAGNA GLOBAL. “MAGNA GLOBAL’s New Programmatic Forecasts,” 29 Sep 2014.
[6] Forrester Research. “The Forrester WaveTM: Sell-Side Platforms And Exchanges For Publishers, Q2 2014.”

Have You Seen Our Cover?

Journey to the center of programmatic with PubMatic and discover our predictions for 2015 in PubMatic’s Programmatic Outlook Report. Our team couldn’t be more ecstatic to see PubMatic CEO Rajeev Goel and President Kirk McDonald featured in a cover wrap on the latest issue Advertising Age, celebrating the forthcoming launch of PubMatic’s first Programmatic Outlook Report.

As we move into an era where programmatic is part of nearly every aspect of media, we think it’s our responsibility to pause as 2014 closes and do our best to analyze where this dynamic industry is heading. So reserve your copy of the Programmatic Outlook Report here and find out about our predictions for programmatic in 2015.

Some highlights from our analysis:

  • Programmatic isn’t the future, it’s here and it’s the new normal
  • Programmatic is more than Real Time Bidding
  • Mobile programmatic is the norm, but getting it right won’t be
  • Publishers will lose sleep over tech giants’ walled gardens
  • Is the ad fraud arms race winnable?

AdAge Cover

Can you spot what’s wrong with this picture?
Can you spot what’s wrong with this picture?


In the Facebook Age, Publishers Are Starting to Face Facts

As the first day of Advertising Week kicks off here in New York City, announcements are already hitting the web. Of particular note is Adweek’s coverage of Facebook’s new “people-based ad technology” as “marketing nirvana,” driven by the company’s decision to share its deep knowledge of 1.3 billion users in order to power advertising across the web in a way that some marketers are claiming is “unprecedented”—and a shift that some of us in the advertising industry have been keeping a wary eye out for over the past several months.[1]

Back in August, PubMatic CMO Terri Walter encouraged publishers living in the “Age of Facebook” to begin thinking about the data policies and interests of big “media” and “technology” companies like Facebook and Google in a piece in AdExchanger:

“Instead of using content like long-form articles and reportage, recipes and how-to guides to build consumer relationships, these companies use Internet-based services to rapidly grow consumer relationships. But at the end of the day, their business models are as dependent on the buying and selling of advertising as they are on their technology. They’ve entered the publishing game head-on and they’re playing to win.

“To understand this process, look at one of its key drivers: Facebook. The company’s recent earnings report speaks for itself, but just how did it become an emerging advertising juggernaut? Earlier this summer, the social network announced that it will incorporate the anonymous browsing data that it collects on its 1.28 billion users around the globe into its ad-targeting system. This is the advertising system that generated $7 billion in revenue last year, growing 70% year over year in the first quarter of 2014. 

“This looks promising and sounds like a great strategy until you pause to consider where all of this tremendously lucrative anonymous browsing data comes from. I won’t keep you guessing: It comes from the very same publishers who lost $7 billion in advertising revenue last year to Facebook.”

And it sounds like publishers have been listening. Last week, the Wall Street Journal published a piece about some of the websites that are becoming wary of Facebook’s tracking software. According to the article, online retailers and publishers like Krux Digital Inc. and are pushing back against Facebook’s effort to track users across the Internet, “fearing that the data it vacuums up to target ads will give the social network too much of an edge.”[2]

As recently as yesterday, Re/code picked up the story with a focus on the ways in which Facebook will use its data to sell ads on non-Facebook websites. According to the article, what may be at stake here is data, not advertising dollars. As Peter Kafka points out, “If Facebook can convince more publishers to let it into their ad business, it’s ultimately going to glean information that will make its own ads, on its own properties, much more powerful.”[3]

“[Search giants use] this data to build user profiles and sell enhanced inventory, competing directly with publishers for digital ad budgets. And here’s the truly incredible part: Publishers seem to be doing very little about any of this. You don’t see anyone removing those Facebook buttons from their sites or choosing to shut out Google.

“Nor do you see anyone raising the question of whether a third party, like Facebook or Google in this context, should profit from data collected on a first-party publisher site without first garnering permission from the publisher. Even media companies that are suing Google in one arena still choose to give their data to Google for advertising. Take the curious example of Yelp, which famously assisted the FTC in an antitrust lawsuit against Google several years ago and is actively engaged in a similar activity in Europe now. Yet by my own estimate, Yelp is one of Google AdX’s largest local advertising partners, turning over inventory and user data to help Google build richer profiles of Internet users that then compete for advertising dollars away from Yelp. And the dance goes on.

“Sadly, none of this is exactly the publishers’ fault. Most of them, even the very big ones, are trying to be as smart as they can, and reckon that there’s little they can do to counter the tech heavyweights’ iron grip on their landscape. But resistance is not futile: Just as Meredith would never dream of turning its audience data over to Condé Nast or NBC sharing its info with Fox, we would do very well if more publishers took notice and realized that tech companies are using their technological advantage to push forward their own media businesses at the expense of their partners.”

As Facebook starts testing its new “people-based” solution, which is said to have audience-based cross-screen measurement, it will surely be a strong foot forward for advertisers who are looking to better attribute cross-screen behavior. However, one has to question what the impact will be on publishers over the long run and what can be done to ensure that the data Facebook is leveraging does more than benefit Facebook’s interests.


[1] Sloane, Garett. “Facebook’s New People-Based Ad Technology Is ‘Marketing Nirvana’.” Adweek. 29 Sep. 2014.

[2] Albergotti, Reed. “Websites Are Wary of Facebook Tracking Software.” The Wall Street Journal. 23 Sep. 2014.

[3] Kafka, Peter. “Facebook Will Use Facebook Data to Sell Ads on Sites That Aren’t Facebook.” 28 Sep. 2014.

PubMatic Congratulates Winners of the 2014 AOP Awards

On Thursday, July 3rd, PubMatic was delighted to attend and participate as a Headline Partner at this year’s renowned Association of Online Publishers (AOP) Awards in London. It was without a doubt one of the best AOP award ceremonies yet, as media heads from across the capital came together in their slick tuxedos and elegant cocktail dresses to celebrate the industry’s top performers.

A total of 11 publishers and digital agencies shared the trophies across 18 categories. PubMatic would like to extend a huge congratulations to the following winners:

  • The Drum Editorial Team
  • Vice UK Editorial Team
  • Hearst Digital Pureplay Team
  • Jonathan Kitchen from Dennis Publishing
  • Unruly UK Operations Team
  • Kate Lucey from Hearst Magazines UK
  • The Native Age by AOL UK
  • XFM and Bulmers by Global Radio
  • Radio Times by Immediate Media
  • Madeforums & Heinz Baby by Immediate Media
  • Global Radio and Bulmers
  • IPC Media and Radium One
  • Immediate Media Marketing Team
  • Vice UK Social Media Team, Procurement Leaders Website Team
  • Digital Spy by Hearst Magazine
  • Carnyx Group Digital Publishing Team
  •  Dennis Publishing Digital Publishing Team

With just under 700 delegates in attendance, the Roundhouse played host to a full night of entertainment, including British Comedian Josh Widdicombe, who co-presented the awards alongside the evening’s sponsors. The sheer success of the evening’s event was in no small part due to the fantastic sponsors in partnership with the AOP, which included Blinkx Media, Google, Celtra, OpenX, Theorem, Sailthru, SpotXchange, Vibrant, YuMe and of course, PubMatic!


As delegates entered the Roundhouse, they were greeted with superb reception drinks hosted by Blinkx Media and slowly made their way up the blue AOP- and PubMatic- branded staircase to the main hall. Everyone in attendance shared fun photo ops while posing in front of the sponsors’ logo backdrop. PubMatic also played host to a prize drawing that offered select winners a chance for instant champagne delivery to their table. Our lucky winners included the Telegraph and CBS Interactive. As an added bonus, the drawing also included a chance to win an iPad mini, which was awarded to Bryony Drage, from Mail Online! Another huge congratulations from the PubMatic team!


The night’s ceremony kicked off after dessert, and celebrated many individuals and teams across all areas of our industry; from digital marketers to technology providers, the awards were well deserved and celebrated. The AOP Awards shone a light on all sectors of the online landscape, playing home to innovative and forward thinking experts.

As the ceremony drew to an end and the champagne bottles were cleared from the tables, the evening entertainment began with the opening of PubMatic’s VIP bar, bringing together guests from the Telegraph, Dennis Publishing and many more. We were thrilled to create a warm and inviting environment by providing signature VIP drinks and making sure the dance floor was complete. PubMatic’s Bill Swanson, Country Manager, UK, and Laura Fordham, Advertiser Solutions Manager networked throughout the room, sharing laughs and deep conversations until the late hours.


Representing members from this ever-evolving industry, the awards truly do recognise the excellence in online publishing, reflecting the innovation and creativity that traditionally has characterized this fast paced environment. As a longstanding associate member of the AOP, PubMatic rejoiced in accepting the chance to be a headline partner and participate in the celebration of all of the monumental achievements in the media space this year.