In the past, publishers created economic value by aggregating audiences around a certain demographic or context. Price says that RTB is changing all of this. “RTB is allowing marketers to
shift from audiences that are aggregated by context, i.e. publisher domain, to synthetically stitching together an audience across thousands of publishers,” explains Price.
This scenario has put a lot of pressure on publishers. “It's clearly created a huge opportunity for marketers, who can buy audiences very efficiently, to be much more confident of the quality of the audience they're building in terms of being intentionally an audience they care about,” explains Price. Rather than just targeting someone who's on a page and inferring from that page presence, now brands can use mechanisms to make sure that the customer has the intention to do business or exhibits an expected behavior. “This allows marketers to effectively build audience, to do it at a much lower price point, and to be able to flex their buy a little bit,” remarks Price.
When the industry first started using RTB, it was much more focused on the buy-side benefit than
the sell-side benefit. However, the sell side has been reacting to help protect their business. Price sees a huge opportunity for publishers to use first-party data in order to create audiences.
“Publishers have an unbelievable amount of data on their user,” comments Price. “For example, a magazine publisher that owns websites has household and demographic information. The
whole concept of adding first-party data to an audience to help bolster the value of that audience is something that publishers have really woken up to.”
Rather than rely purely on a publisher’s domain, publishers are racing to complement contextual value with first-party information such as household income, subscription data, and e-commerce activity. This allows a marketer to understand the person’s value beyond the average impression, thereby increasing the value of publisher inventory.
In addition to publisher first-party data, publishers are also investing in native ad placements that further bolster differentiation. One of the challenges with RTB right now is accessing premium and native formats programmatically. “If you look at a lot of brands, the high-end brand dollars wanting to tell stories online, they're going to look for high-impact units that are, perhaps, larger,” says Price. However, the bulk of RTB inventory is still relegated to 300 x 250, 160 x 600, and 728 x 90 units.
“Increasing the amount of available inventory and exchange in RTB, in what would be considered traditionally rich media slots or rich media placements, will help the industry grow,” reflects Price. “The combination of publisher first-party data and premium/native formats sold programmatically will allow publishers to attract brand dollars by delivering audience and story-telling value to brands.” Price is right with RTB + Rising Star units + content = native programmatic! It performs, scales, and utilizes the seller and buyer branding needs.