Keeping the promise it made last year, AOL on Tuesday plans to debut a supply-side platform (or SSP) for publishers.
Marketplace by Adtech, so-called, is the latest offering from AOL Networks -- formerly known as the Advertising.com Group -- and promises a connected platform that is transparent, efficient, and pre-loaded with demand.
“The current [SSP] market is complex and riddled with small companies,” Ned Brody, CEO of AOL Networks, said last week. With Marketplace, “we wanted to give publishers a one-stop solution to manage every piece of inventory they have.”
According to Dave Jacobs, SVP of AOL Networks, Marketplace sets a new standard for brand protection, while layering on unique yield and performance insights.
Jacobs said the AOL Networks team referred to the wants and needs of publishers while developing Marketplace over the past year. Of chief concern for publishers was “how much money was making it into their wallets," Jacobs said.
Just over a year ago, AOL unveiled its AdLearn Open Platform -- a demand-side platform (or DSP), which offered plug-ins to assorted sources of data and display ad inventory. It was then that AOL promised to complement the product with an SSP in about a year’s time.
Therefore, the development shouldn’t come as a surprise to the market, including rival SSPs, said Susan Bidel, a senior analyst at Forrester Research.
“This is all in keeping with AOL's goal to be a one-stop shop for its owned-and-operated sites, to simplify and streamline the process, and to maximize their revenues,” Bidel said on Monday. “Other SSPs surely anticipated this development, so I don't expect any surprises there.”
Despite continued efforts by AOL, Google and others, some analysts are still waiting for the online ad giants to develop thriving programmatic and premium ad businesses.
“Publishers generally don't have thriving premium and programmatic display businesses because they don't see their businesses holistically,” Bidel said. “They focus on premium and garner whatever revenue they can, if any at all, from programmatic.”
“Publishers need to view their businesses holistically, and manage each portion of that business to maximize the whole,” said Bidel. “If AOL executes on that concept promise, then they stand as good a chance as any publisher would to achieve success.”
At the very least, “AOL's [ad technology] investment streamlines processes and cuts out the middleman, reducing costs,” Bidel added.
Brody, meanwhile, calls the notion that premium and programmatic advertising should be managed separately, “the great false choice. Programmatic [ad technology] is merely the tool set,” he added. “It started with third-party inventory, but [programmatic advertising] is actually becoming a premium play.”