Centro Expands On-Demand Service Relationships With Large Agencies

Looking to service its agency clients more directly and efficiently, ad tech software provider Centro is rolling out what it’s calling “assisted direct buying” -- that’s contractually purchased inventory direct to many vendors at once. In expanding its relationships with holding company agencies like Mediacom and MEC, and multinational agencies like Horizon, among others, Centro hopes to set itself apart from ad networks and managed demand-side platforms (DSPs).

Agencies use Centro’s software and services to augment their media-buying capabilities by scaling and consolidating millions of dollars of ad spend.

“If you were to do this with an ad network, you would lose some control,” said Joe Pospisil, VP of national agency development, Centro. “The ad network would provide a site list [of publishers], but there’s very little control as to a guarantee on where the client’s ads are going to run. We are the complete opposite of that.”

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Pospisil said in Centro's plan agencies are contracting for each placement, rate and line item. Centro is focusing on offering more dedicated resources to its agency clients.

Pospisil offered an example of where this can make a difference. Auto marketers are vocal about wanting to know where exactly their ads are going to run. “We present a solution to the agencies that gives them more control, streamlines the process, reduces time waste and offers greater transparency into pricing.

“We are trying to scale what is a challenge for the agencies and we’re not only focusing on the shift to programmatic, we’ve actually put an effort into servicing agencies,” said Pospisil.

Despite the widespread availability of programmatic ad-buying and ad networks, large media agencies still funnel a significant amount of ad spend to long-tail and local sites on a direct-guaranteed basis. Agency client teams typically focus on 10 to 20 digital publisher partners that receive about half of a client’s digital media budget. The rest of the budget is divided among hundreds or thousands of other ad sellers (long-tail) that include high profile publishers such as magazine and TV network sites, but also digital pure-plays. It’s a challenge to scale spend on these sites with speed, precision, transparency and brand-safety.

"The main benefit of working with Centro is the capability for local activation, especially in smaller markets. Centro enables us to work directly with publishers that reach local audiences, and to do it in an efficient, brand-safe way while maintaining high viewability standards on this type of inventory,"  Steve Carbone, managing director and chief digital officer at Mediacom, North America, told Real-Time Daily via email. "We’re learning more and more how fluid audiences are when consuming long-tail media."

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