Introducing the Biddable IO: The Newest Programmatic Trend for 2017

By Johanna Bauman, Sr. Director of Marketing Communications, PubMatic

If 2016 was the year of the header bidding wrapper for the publisher, it follows that 2017 may very well be the year of the Biddable IO for the marketer. Since programmatic emerged as a key buying channel for marketers, an inherent trade-off has persisted between the efficiency and data-driven decisioning of automation and the transparency and guaranteed nature of the direct buy. That compromise is about to disappear.

In a new white paper, “Automating Brand Spend: The Emergence of the Biddable IO,” we examine the trends that have led to the need for this new tactic. Leveraging data from a survey of over 400 publishers and buyers as well as insights gleaned from our conversations with key industry players, the report provides context for the evolving programmatic direct landscape, and introduces the new tactic that will revolutionize the marketplace: the Biddable IO.

The Rise of Programmatic Direct

Brands are beginning to realize the value of RTB-based auctions in increasing numbers, with many touting the benefits of efficiency and audience targeting as the main drivers of the shift. As technology and quality standards for programmatic inventory improve, more brands are moving in this direction, and premium publishers are chomping at the bit to funnel this spend towards their inventory.  According to our recent survey, 83% of publishers considered programmatic direct to be an important strategy for their business in 2017.

We identified three trends driving brand spend to programmatic:

  1. The Proliferation of Header Bidding
  2. The Explosive Growth of Data Availability
  3. The Increasing Relevance of Attribution

In addition to providing an entre into automated buying for brands who had previously channeled their spend towards direct IOs, programmatic direct is also gaining popularity with the experienced programmatic buyers, as the digital advertising industry pivots back towards a focus on brand safety and inventory quality.

The Compromises of Automated Buying Channels

While providing increased inventory transparency and workflow efficiencies, existing programmatic direct channels require buyers to make compromises:

  • Private Marketplaces (PMPs) provide greater visibility and access to inventory, but do not ensure priority placement within a publisher’s ad server;
  • Private Marketplace Preferred (PMP-P) deals give buyers higher priority access to inventory, but do not contain the guarantee of inventory volume that the brands need for their forecasting;
  • Private Marketplace Guaranteed (PMP-G) deals allow that guaranteed volume buy but does ensure the guaranteed placement access of the direct buy.
  • Automated Guaranteed (AG), alternatively, provides buyers with all the benefits of the direct IO, but does not leverage the data-driven decisioning of programmatic.

The Biddable IO: The Solution to Close The Gap

Innovative buyers are starting to understand the potential that can be unlocked if they are to move their direct IOs to RTB with what we call the Biddable IO. Our survey found that 57% of buyers globally have either completed the transition of direct IOs to programmatic channels, or are in the process of moving them. The rapid adoption of header bidding has provided the foundation for greater brand access to programmatic inventory, and many are looking to take advantage of the opportunity. We believe that the emergence of the Biddable IO will signal a new era of digital media.

Download the full report by clicking here. Please feel free to reach out to discuss the report with your PubMatic account manager or contact PubMatic here and someone will follow up.

 

PubAcademy UK: Publishers’ Choice

Our penultimate PubAcademy of the year took place on November 9th in London, bringing publishers and buyers together to discuss the choices publishers are forced to make in order to successfully navigate the sometimes choppy waters of programmatic. We also took this opportunity to discuss how sellers and buyers can work better together to ensure all parties involved realise the value on offer.

Through the discussions that took place, we were able to identify the four key themes that seemed to resonate well with attendees:

Publishers Want to Take Back Control of Ad Decisioning

It would seem that the majority of our industry is familiar with the concept that today’s legacy ad serving infrastructure is ill equipped to help publishers manage and capture holistic yield. It is clear that many publishers are still trying to figure out how they can explore and implement alternative, open ad serving set-ups whilst minimizing the disruption to their businesses.

Working with a holistic monetization platform such as PubMatic SEVEN, with its modular approach, allows publishers to choose which products or solution sets they want to integrate and when. Only by having this choice will publishers truly be able to realise the full potential of their digital assets.

Publishers Want Partners, Not Tech Vendors

While the continued evolution of the market, its increasing complexity, and the plethora of tech vendor choices available all play a role in driving programmatic spend, they have just as much potential to inhibit growth as well.

In that light, our key panelists highlighted the importance of establishing two-way partnerships between publishers and their tech vendors. When publishers are evaluating technology partners, the primary concern is finding ones that are open, transparent and willing to integrate with each other for the good of the publisher and the overall digital media market.

Header Bidding is Still a Hot Topic, But The Conversation is Evolving

During our discussion we challenged the hypothesis that header bidding is little more than “waterfall” 2.0. Many publishers are still allocating priorities as they continue to build out strategies around their direct sold books of business and where the sweet spot can exist between the IO and programmatic direct. Regardless, all of our publisher panelists were in agreement that header bidding has had a positive effect on yield and that it’s here to stay. The conversation is evolving, as is the need. Having to manage multiple header tags and the impact they have on page performance and user experience remains a concern.

Hence the exploration of the pros and cons of solutions that address these potential issues, such as wrapper tags and server side integrations, are going to be vital over the coming months. Looking forward, there remains a lot of uncertainty around whether open source or proprietary is the route to take. The jury’s still out, but expect a verdict soon.

Publishers and Buyers Still Have Work to Do to Make the Marriage A Happy One

Our panel of publishers and buyers shared some of their key asks of each other to help everyone realise the potential that programmatic offers. In no particular order:

  • Make PMP deals more discoverable and design them to meet buyers’ needs. Building PMP deals around curated audiences, for example, or being sure to support the buying models of agencies;
  • Design PMPs to be ‘always on’ and proactively troubleshoot when they are underperforming;
  • Design offers that support the buying models that agencies will be adopting in 2017—the combination of programmatic AND automated guaranteed, for example;
  • Provide access to more targetable and segmented second-party data to drive increased bid density;
  • Finally, communicate more frequently and be more transparent.

pa_logofinaluk112216About PubAcademy

PubAcademy is a global industry education initiative PubMatic launched to help ensure our customers and partners are in the best position to achieve their individual business goals and address the unique set of challenges that they face in this ever changing world of programmatic.

For more information about our platform, SEVEN, visit PubMatic’s website here or email info@pubmatic.com. To find out more about PubMatic’s PubAcademy events, including when the next one will be held in your region, or to suggest a topic or speaker for a PubAcademy session, email PubAcademy@PubMatic.com.