Real-Time With JJ Eastwood, GM Of eBay Advertising Australia/New Zealand
While the majority money from programmatic trades hands here in the United States, the overseas markets have undoubtedly caught on with the trend. After interviewing Jason Barnes from News Limited, and Martin van der Meij of De Telegraaf, RTM Daily brings you a third interview with a European publisher invested in real-time bidding (RTB).
JJ Eastwood, GM of eBay Advertising in Australia and New Zealand, answered some questions for RTM Daily about the history of RTB at the company, what their tech stack looks like, where programmatic technologies are going to take the advertising industry as a whole, and more.
RTM Daily: Can you give us a brief history of RTB at the company, including when you decided to trade inventory this way?
JJ Eastwood: As eBay is a digital native and data-driven
company, programmatic trading in Australia was a logical step for us, so we began testing with ADX back in September 2011. Initially we only fed in blind inventory as we had fears of cannibalizing our
direct sales. In the first half of 2012, we began testing branded inventory, starting with BTF placements, and in July 2012 we hit an inflection point where we went fully branded in ADX.
In the back half of 2012, we began testing with SSP partners, and in June 2013 we launched the country’s largest private marketplace via a partnership with Rubicon Project. We have access to over seven million unique visitors, and over one billion impressions are available for programmatic trading per month on the new marketplace.
RTMD: Why did you decide to go the programmatic route?
Eastwood: The main driver was the fact that our customers were calling out for it. Their trading desks were growing at a staggering rate and there was a massive shortage of premium inventory. By providing them the ability to access and evaluate our inventory in real-time, it has created efficiencies for both sides. Brands have enjoyed increased ROI, and we have enjoyed increased yields and sell-through rates.
RTMD: What does your tech stack look like, how has it improved over the years, and where does it still need improvement?
Eastwood: We use DFP as our ad server, ADX as our baseline exchange partner, Rubicon Project as our SSP, servicing agency trading desks for RTB, private deals through REVV Connect, and finally we have Ad Slot as our programmatic direct partner. We are also currently building our own DMP and looking at bidder options for audience extension.
RTMD: Looking outside your role as publisher, what does RTB mean for all involved, including consumers and ad sales teams?
Eastwood: I believe that the future of digital advertising sits firmly with programmatic trading. It’s simply a more intelligent way to buy and sell digital
media. For publishers and agencies, every impression is bought and sold more cost effectively. As a result, the consumer receives the most relevant messages in the right place, at the right
I believe the biggest misconception about RTB is that machines will replace sales people. Our focus has simply shifted and we now split our time between working with agencies and trading desks. At the end of the day clients still need strategic insights, updates on new opportunities and ultimately someone to speak too.
RTMD: What are some bumps in the road you've experienced? Any that made you think twice about being involved with this type of tech?
Eastwood: The biggest challenge is/has been ensuring all the systems are working together to maximize yield as opposed to cannibalizing each other.
Because the platforms are so interwoven they have grown into a complex ecosystem that is constantly evolving. Problem solving when faced with challenges is one of the things that makes this business exciting.
RTMD: How did you overcome these issues (or how is the company in the process of overcoming)?
Eastwood: We overcame a lot of issues by starting off only testing and learning with small portions of inventory before scaling up. One area we are currently looking into is dynamic allocation, which will essentially ensure that we allocate the right inventory to the right buyers and in turn maximize yield.
RTMD: Where do you see RTB taking not just your company, but the industry as a whole down the road?
Eastwood: I believe that the future of all advertising lies with personalization and relevance. As the media landscape becomes more fragmented and sophisticated, to achieve personalization and relevance at scale the need for clean, complete, and accurate data will become more critical than ever. Data is obviously the stainable advantage of a commerce company like eBay, so I think ‘Retail Media’ will play a big part in the future of the industry.
RTMD: Thank you for your time. Any final comments on the topic?
Eastwood: I am convinced that we will witness more change in the next 5 years than we have in the last 50, so for any newbies to the industry...my only advice is buckle up and enjoy the ride.