YP Embraces Programmatic, Taps OpenX To Sell Display Inventory

Local ad platform YP has beefed up its digital ad offering by “investing heavily in programmatic” through a new partnership with OpenX.

The companies have struck a multi-year agreement that will give YP access to OpenX’s supply-side platform (SSP), OpenX ad exchange, and OpenX’s ad server. The partnership is effective immediately.

David Lebow, SVP and general manager of the National Markets Group at YP, told RTM Daily that the company will make all of its display ad inventory available for programmatic buying. Importantly, the company will sell both desktop and mobile display inventory -- which includes smartphones and tablets -- via programmatic.

“We aren’t cornering any inventory off,” he said. “There’s no private stash.”

YP tapped OpenX so that it could offer its inventory through one platform. Lebow said YP has “advertiser demand coming from a number of sources,” and the OpenX platform allows them to manage their inventory and connect with buyers in a more efficient manner.

Jason Fairchild, chief revenue officer at OpenX, said he has observed publishers struggling with what he called a “fragmentation of demand.”

“There are national partners, local partners, real-time bidding (RTB) demand partners, etc., and having all of those demand channels work in a manageable way on one platform is a really powerful solution that makes publishers’ lives easier,” Fairchild said.

The partnership with OpenX marks YP’s first use of programmatic ad technology. Lebow said the company sees it as “a big opportunity.” Despite the newness of it all, he believes YP enters the programmatic arena from a unique angle in that it can offer display ads on search pages.

He also said YP is embracing programmatic because it wants to deliver ads the way the market is buying. He added that “the national advertisers are leading the trend into programmatic,” but that “there’s a tremendous local and agency community that’s growing and taking advantage of the same types of tools.”

YP has a focus on local advertising, but Lebow said the company has seen “more and more mainstream [national] advertisers gravitate toward” it, which perhaps influenced its decision to adopt programmatic trading.

As previously noted, YP will use OpenX’s SSP, ad exchange and ad server. Fairchild said that runs the gamut.

“That’s the full tech stack as one unified platform,” he said. “The only thing I would add is that it’s for both desktop and mobile. Having it all work together on one platform is not trivial.”

Lebow agreed, but doesn’t know how much of the inventory YP will sell will be mobile versus desktop. However, he and YP are aware of mobile’s growing importance, which is why the company wanted to ink a deal that allowed them to make use of both channels.

“I don’t have the exact split [of mobile versus desktop], but the numbers are shifting toward mobile all the time,” he said.

YP says its mobile app and YP.com are used by over 70 million U.S. consumers each month. In addition to its local ad network, the company claims it can reach 90% of the U.S. Internet population.

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