When it comes to relationships between brand advertisers and digital video providers, it’s safe to say things are complicated.
Advertisers are desperately seeking quality video inventory at scale, pouring nearly $28 billion into digital this year in the U.S., per eMarketer.
But audiences are fragmented across channels and devices, and video inventory is split and duplicated across distributors, providers and media owners. The result is something like a knotted puzzle. And that’s only after Google, Facebook, and Amazon have taken 80% or more of it.
Many brands have tackled this challenge with a do-it-yourself approach, striking up direct relationships with publishers and DSPs only to face an onslaught of constant courting, dating and integrating.
Recognizing the need to save these brands from unnecessary pain, the industry is seeing the emergence of a new skill set among SSPs — the publisher-buyer matchmaker.
These services make it easy for advertisers to access premium video supply at scale, and optimize spend across niche audiences and global campaigns. With the continued growth of programmatic buying and digital video, an SSP partner that plays matchmaker has become indispensable in maximizing the return on advertiser campaigns and goals.
Unlocking Undiscovered Inventory
The current abundance of video providers makes it difficult for advertisers to assemble quality scale on their own. For any given OTT channel, the addressable audience often shrinks significantly once an ad buy is refined by target audiences and KPIs.
Scale may be feasible in the market, but such channel-specific advertisers aren’t seeing all the available similar inventory across other platforms.
With an SSP matchmaker, advertisers can tap into this “undiscovered” inventory and embrace a macro-level view of inventory across all publishers and providers. This consolidated approach helps brands optimize their supply path, improve audience targeting, and more effectively spend those big-ticket TV budgets that are rapidly moving into digital.
From Open to Private to Curated
Since programmatic platforms entered the video space, the industry’s traditionally open marketplace has seen growing activity in private marketplaces. This preference for custom experiences has also recently led to the emergence of a new advertiser-driven environment.
In “curated marketplaces,” buyers access inventory from a custom range of publishers that are hand-picked against criteria like viewability, audience composition, content vertical and screen type. These auctions have proven powerful in helping advertisers target high-value audiences, provided they have a relationship with a matchmaker that can facilitate such curated buying styles.
Multilayered Audience Targeting
Creating more personalized advertising is a mission-critical challenge for digital advertisers. Bringing together disparate data sets can be a grueling technical feat, though it pays significant dividends.
For example, let’s say an auto brand wants to target a list of customers nearing a lease termination date. The publisher selected to serve their ad might have valuable first-party data to contribute that is currently unavailable to the advertiser, like age and gender. By lawfully combining these datasets, the campaign can engage auto intenders of a certain age, resulting in a more impactful targeting approach than if only one of the datasets was deployed.
Curating inventory from one publisher in this fashion also opens up the possibility of activating lookalike audience segments across other publishers. The right technology matchmaker will work with buyers on ways to construct these kinds of niche audiences, using multiple data layers, and target those viewers across a wide range of relevant inventory.
Optimizing For Global Campaigns
Many leading brands increasingly face the challenge of executing global buying programs, a task that inevitably requires regional expertise in order to be successful. As a result, part of the vetting process for any supply partner should include an assessment of local expertise and available support in the brand’s key buying regions.
Tapping into the insights, skills and knowledge of supply partners can provide greater context, understanding and campaign success for video ad buyers. With programmatic becoming truly integrated into brand marketing plans, strategic buyers are leveraging the knowledge of technology partners to build a 360-degree approach to media planning and campaign fulfillment.