Commentary

Why PMPs Are The New Kings Of Programmatic

Interesting to see this morning the latest figures from eMarketer confirm the blindingly obvious point that programmatic is the only game in town when it comes to trading digital display.

However, there is a steer in there that makes a true revelation. Automation is key, but advertisers want to go back to direct "handshake" style of arrangement, albeit via computerised, programmatic platforms. The private marketplace is in, and open networks are on the wane.

The big figure is that nine in ten digital display spots will be sold programmatically this year. As such, programmatic will be a GBP5.6bn market in 2019 and will tip over the GBP6bn mark next year. That's an 18% leap this year followed by a 19% leap next. In short, programmatic is dominating and growth is continuing this year at 18% and 19% next. In fact, the only thing that appears to be holding back programmatic's growth is the ever decreasing slice of the ad market it doesn't account for. 

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it's worthwhile knowing that programmatic is massive and is continuing to grow -- but there is another story in these figures that is fascinating. 

The researchers are picking up on a trend to move away from completely open networks and RTB technology to manage campaigns. One can imagine why. Though it is not always the case, networks have always had issues around fraud, viewability and brand safety.

Good networks have usually managed to get around this, of course, but there is always a fear that in a large auction of advertising spots not every cog in the supply chain wheel is always doing its best to deliver a quality advertising experience.

Hence, by 2020, eMarketer predicts that the use of private marketplaces (PMPs) will overtake open marketplaces, ending their dominance.

It has been easy to track this development as publishers have launched their own sales platforms, which have then been combined with other publishers to form huge platforms that can offer advertisers a more reliable, safer environment to buy quality inventory at scale.

Within just a year or so from now, then, these digital equivalents of private member clubs will be more dominant than the open networks through which digital marketing has grown, moving from strength to strength.

When advertisers need space and publishers have their own trustworthy systems to offer that space, it is hard to see how there could ever be any other outcome.

As such, 2020 is set to be the year that digital marketing grows up to realise programmatic technology is great to execute trades -- but when it comes to trust, it pays to use it behind a screen where only carefully selected partners are permitted to trade.

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