Hello everyone! I wanted to thank everyone here for joining us. I also wanted to thank Digiday as well, for putting together a series to really help decipher the ad-tech landscape and provide a great opportunity to learn and connect!
My name is Stephanie Tom, Programmatic Operations Supervisor at Essence Digital. We are a digital agency within GroupM. We’re best known for being Google’s digital agency of record, but some other clients do include HP and Walgreens. We’re aggressively leaning into the ad-tech space; about to cross over $1B in billings globally this year, with about 70% of that in digital media alone.
My Role within Essence is to manage the relationships with our technology platforms and partners, to make sure that we are fully integrating the various systems together so that we can effectively buy across a variety of digital platforms including programmatic, search and social.
I wanted to quickly go through our outline. Because the actual topic is quite meaty, we’ll go over some quick high-level terms for buyers, sellers and everyone in-between; as well as some tips and tricks for staying current in this ever-changing landscape.
So, what is the ad tech alphabet soup? I wanted to start with a quick example of why it can be really daunting to even get started…
So, we’ve all seen a version of the Lumascape. But how many of us in the room can identify even half of the technology categories listed? I’ll read off a brief statement and see if you can follow along:
I am a marketer who wants to reach my target audience, who are first-time home buyers. Here’s what may be happening as I set aside marketing budget for a digital media buy with my agency…
My agency uses their ATD, to optimize across several DSPs such as DBM and TTD to target users of Zillow and Redfin for both mobile in-app and desktop results. To do so, they have set up several PMPs across a few SSPs because we’ve discovered that performance varies across the various exchanges and we need to maximize my ROI.
To further refine the buys, they have utilized data from my DMP to execute a very targeted strategy combining my own 1st party data and supplemented by a few data suppliers to reach additional scale.
So, that’s quite a mouthful so far, and we haven’t even gone into ad servers, creative optimization and retargeting tools, nor how we measure performance or ad verification!
So, pretty confusing, right? We can all understand WHY there’s an important need to learn the lingo, and why all here in this room today.
According to a recent eMarketer report for 2016, roughly $22B in display ad dollars will be spent in the US, with an additional $15B going into mobile programmatically. This represents nearly two thirds of all digital ad dollars for the year, and looks like it will continue to grow as the market matures.
With numbers like that, there’s a lot of eyeballs from both traditional publishers, digital-only publishers and advertisers and press. So we have to make sure we stay on the forefront of the latest trends!
What’s the first step? Let’s go through a few common terms that you may hear tossed around frequently. Unfortunately, we can’t go through them all, and some regions and companies will put their own spin on acronyms. But for today, our goal is to understand a few general concepts to get started.
Here’s a few common universal terms to start.
RTB – known as real time bidding – is the buying and selling of online ad impressions in real time auctions. Think of this as the modern day stock exchange. There are hundreds of millions of tiny auctions for ad impressions daily, resulting in transactions where sellers are offering prices for their inventory that advertisers bid on. Each of these takes a fraction of a second, which is quite amazing considering the scale we’re talking about needed for computing how long it takes to make sure you as an advertiser are targeting the right user at the right place at the right time!
DMP – is a data management platform. Think of this as a massive dewy decimal system in a library or filing cabinet system that can index and access information in near real time. You may want to utilize a DMP to help organize users to your site as heavy users, frequent buyers or news junkies in order to target these users at a later time, or package into a data segment to license to an advertiser. You may hear terms related to this such as cookies, CRM data and mobile device IDs.
PMP – Also known as a private marketplace. These are transactions typically between 1 seller and a select group of buyers in a one to many relationship. This means only this select group of buyers can bid on the inventory made available by the seller. An alternative to this are private or preferred deals, which are a one to one relationship between the seller and buyer to bid on the available inventory. We should note that this inventory is still sold on an auction basis, meaning the seller hasn’t guaranteed delivery of media to the buyer. With that in mind, a new way of buying has emerged typically known as programmatic reserved/guaranteed or direct, which removes the auction proponent and allows traditional digital direct buying to report alongside your other programmatic media.
And here are a few buyer-related terms.
ATD or agency trading desks are typically managed service layers who utilize one or more DSPs or buying platforms with additional audience buying technologies to execute media buys. They work closely with agencies to strengthen the digital arm of media buys. Typical ATDs include xaxis, accuen and cadreon.
DSPs or demand side platforms are the pieces of technology that enables media buyers to access inventory from numerous sources, including exchanges in real time. This is where the auctions happen, as a media buyer will input the criteria of an audience they are looking for, and the DSP will make the bid for the ad impression. Typical DSPs are doubleclick bid manager, turn and media math
Ad verification covers a wide-variety of technologies used to validate and qualify that media buys are being properly executed. They can help inform whether or not an ad impression was in-view of a potential real person, was seen by a real human on a brand-safe property for example. A recent ANA study showed that there was roughly $7.2B in ad fraud the past year, so this is a real hot-button topic that is vital we understand!
Next, we’ll be outlining a few sell-side terms.
SSPs and Ad Exchanges are pretty interchangeable in terms of the function that they provide for ad sellers – a way to provide impressions for sale to the DSPs and a way to help manage yield optimization, which we’ll get to in a moment. This is where private marketplace deals are created. Typical exchanges include DoubleClick AdX, Rubicon and Pubmatic.
Yield optimization is a method or technology to allow sellers to maximize revenue on an impression level. This typically is layered within their ad servers, which helps to automate much of the heavy lifting. Related terms include header bidding which is a new tool to help monetize against direct-sold inventory and win rate/fill rate in terms of a seller communicating the efficacy of these buying methods. The waterfall method typically refers to how a publisher will try to optimize the inventory that drives the best revenue for them on down to maximize their impressions.
Lastly, the reach of what can be bought programmatically has grown by leaps and bounds. Beyond the standard banner, there is an increasing amount of video inventory, mobile units that can expand and utilize dynamic rich media elements, native or bespoke ads that are customizable and even audio ads can be bought programmatically. No longer should programmatic be associated with ‘dirty remnant banners,’ the technology is getting quite sophisticated because of buyers’ needs.
So, that’s the quickest of overviews; so I apologize that I’ve left out a ton of other terms and nuances. My own internal knowledgebase was developed from being in the space for almost a decade, and I really do enjoy trying to unravel a space that I’ve practically grown up with and could probably talk about this for a few more hours. Unfortunately we don’t have that sort of time though.
What we can review though is a quick list of best practices, in order to continually be prepared in this space as it continues to develop.
Here’s a few proactive tips, and it’s as simple as remembering your ABC’s!
Anticipate the trends and be attentive. Will your brand or site need to implement a mobile strategy? Are your users shifting their usage habits over time? This may end up changing how you research better ways to monetize or realize that your success metrics might also need to change over time. Therefore, you should set aside time to read the trades like Digiday, try to attend a conference once a quarter, etc. This will continue to hone your internal knowledgebase.
Be curious. Look into the platforms themselves if you can because you can see how all these terms manifest. And have an active role in understanding how some of the pieces fit together in a larger picture. Make it a goal to get login access and run a few reports in either your ad server, DSP or DMP to understand how it ties together. Alternatively, ask your platforms for trainings or walkthroughs.
Challenge yourself and not others. Keep either a personal or team glossary highlighting key terms that you can refer to and relate to situations that are familiar to you.
W Try to keep in mind what the objectives a seller/buyer needs in order to stay in business. A news publication needs advertising to pay not just to help pay for staff salaries, but website hosting, ad serving and maintenance. Advertisers need to make sure that they’re either seeing sales and revenue coming in or impressions that they can use to measure the brand impact of their ad campaigns. Again, reading a wide variety of trade publications are very insightful in terms of giving the sides of publishers, advertisers, ad tech companies and everyone in between.
Totally committing to a huge, complex strategy, just because you think you need to. If you’re a smaller advertiser or publication, do you need a DMP, which typically can be quite pricey to use? Or can you execute a more streamlined strategy to achieve the same results? Try and apply your growing knowledgebase to researching a few options, or querying peer groups for alternate solutions.
Don’t fake it till you make it. Just throwing around and re-using the same jargon and acronyms all the time without truly listening and understanding your marketing/selling needs will quickly expose you. Keep it simple until you’re comfortable enough! You can’t believe how many times in the past I’ve tried to explain my job to friends and family. By finding a few relateable examples, the pieces fit together easier and easier in your head!
Deciphering the ad tech alphabet soup, WTF Programmatic, December 2016
LONDON | NEW YORK | SAN FRANCISCO | SEATTLE | SINGAPORE | TOKYO
Why we need to de-mystify the lingo
COPYRIGHT 2016 ESSENCE
For buyers, sellers and everyone in between
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Common universal terms
RTB DMP PMPs
RealTime Bidding - buying and
selling of online ad impressions
through real-time auctions.
Those auctions are often
facilitated by ad exchanges or
supply-side platforms (SSPs).
Data Management Platform – a
data warehouse that allows the
management and organization of
information, typically about
• Cookies, CRM data, mobile
• Both buyers and sellers can
utilize for enhanced buying
Private Marketplace -
Transaction between one
publisher and one or more
advertisers who compete in an
auction for the inventory.
• Private/preferred deals (1:1
still goes to auction)
(1:1, no auction)
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Common buy-side terms
ATD DSP Ad verification
Typically managed-service layer;
utilizing one or more DSPs and
other audience technologies.
Demand Side Platform
Technology that enables media
buyers to access inventory from
numerous sources from a central
platform in real time
This can cover a wide-variety of
technologies used to validate and
qualify media buys being
properly executed. Common
terms can include:
• Non-human traffic (NHT)
• Ad fraud
• Brand safety
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Common sell-side terms
SSP/Ad Exchange Yield Optimization
Supply Side Platform
A platform that enables media
owners/publishers to manage
and monetise the sale of their
inventory at impression level
Increasingly wider variety of
formats that were previously only
available with direct-sold ads can
be purchased programmatically:
• Videos, including mobile
• Mobile interstitial/expandable
• Dynamic rich media
Technology that allows sellers to
maximize revenue on an
occurs within the ad-server level.
• Header bidding
• Win rate/fill rate
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What can we do to stay ahead
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Do keep some simple rules in mind
Challenge yourself, and not just others.
Keep a glossary in terms that relate to you.
Be curious, solve the puzzle.
Get a login or request a training.
Anticipate the trends and be attentive.
Read trade publications often!
COPYRIGHT 2016 ESSENCE
Don’t be remembered as…
Willfully not working with others.
Trade publications give additional perspective.
Totally committing, ‘just because.’
Research your options fully.
Faking it till you make it.
Practice by teaching peers or even personal circles.