Rubicon Project has taken another step toward a “programmatic direct” future, a space the ad tech platform has been focused on for the better part of a year.
Rubicon last week launched Orders, an ad platform for direct order automation -- also called “programatic direct” buying -- for both guaranteed and non-guaranteed ad inventory. The Orders platform appears to be the culmination of Rubicon’s recent acquisitions of iSocket and ShinyAds, two programmatic direct ad platforms.
Buyers and sellers using the new platform include DigitasLBi, News Corp., and USA Today.
Rubicon has also released a set of APIs that allow buyers and sellers to plug into Rubicon’s ad exchange. “The initiative is designed to give buyers and sellers more control over their business,” wrote Rubicon in a press release.
The entire programmatic ad industry has been headed toward “more control.” It’s why we’ve seen a slew of technologies arise that allow advertisers to buy only in-view ads, it’s why private ad exchanges are rising fast and it’s why “programmatic direct” spend is set to explode in the next 24 months.
But the rapid rise of more controlled environments -- programmatic direct platforms, APIs, private exchanges, etc. -- is not a death sentence for open RTB exchanges.
Xaxis, a part of WPP, was nearly swept up in the “flight to quality.” But last month, Xaxis CEO of Americas Brian Gleason told Real-Time Daily that the company is not abandoning open RTB, despite “nearly” deciding to. (Xaxis is, however, focusing on “programmatic direct” -- which is why ad tech companies such as Rubicon are racing to build platforms that can support the influx of interest.)
At OMMA Miami last week, I moderated a panel on the rise of private exchanges. Panelists included James Colborn, director of targeting and programmatic at Microsoft, Jon Espejo, VP of optimization at Accordant Media, and Brian Nadres, director of programmatic media buying at The Media Kitchen.
I asked the panelists if private marketplaces really are safer, easier, more transparent ways of doing business programmatically. Both Espejo and Nadres gave lukewarm endorsements: “It can be,” they said.
Espejo noted how publishers that want to use a private marketplace are usually willing to give up something to the buyer -- such as increased transparency, a first look at inventory, or a dataset they aren’t willing to share on open audience exchanges -- but they may not show all their cards.
“Just like any other publishers that you cut a deal with,” said Espejo, “you still have to do your due diligence.”