Programmatic: The Art of Supply

Programmatic: The Art of Supply looks at the supply of digital inventory (Supply) connected in your Programmatic strategy and how it could be augmented to help your audience targeted campaigns deliver better results.

Typically in Programmatic, the primary source of Supply comes from SSPs, Ad Exchanges and Ad Networks.

Over the last year, I have seen a huge amount of independent data on the Digital Eco System in terms of the ad tech companies operating in this space, the domains they are connected to, the volume of audiences they each reach and how this differs from country-to-country.

A common trend during this time specifically related to platforms such as SSPs built from the ground-up for Programmatic is that the Supply and the sourcing of it, has been reliant on attracting the top-ranking media owners by audience volume in each country of operation.

The principle of aggregating the top media owners for their respective audiences on the Supply-side is inherent in Programmatic for campaigns to achieve scale in audience reach.

In the early days, it helped to fill a void for top-tier media owners that would have otherwise struggled to effectively monetise their digital assets due to the sheer masses of display ad inventory available.

In today’s Digital Eco System, there are thousands of brands, ad tech companies and digital media owners (large and small) each wanting to capitalise on the benefits of Programmatic.

In the eyes of the advertiser, the objective is to achieve better performing campaigns where ROI is optimised against progressively tougher annual targets. In the eyes of the media owner, the objective is to commercialise all forms of digital inventory available, whilst achieving optimum advertising yield in the process.

The opportunity is there not just to commercialise display inventory, but also the audience data when connected to a Data Management Platform (DMP). One such way is by helping media owners create refined and targetable audience segments against their existing 1st-party owned data, thereby improving targeting capabilities for any advertising served into their digital inventory.

What has changed since the early days of Programmatic is that more of the small-mid sized media owners want a piece of Programmatic action to help commercialise their display ad inventory.

Why is it important to augment my Supply?

The opportunity to augment your Supply by looking further afield than the top 100 publishers by audience size such as Daily Mail or The Independent in the UK for example, is important for the following reasons:

1. The current strengths in Programmatic Supply are primarily in News, Technology and Comparison Services content verticals.

2. It is down to the DSP technology used to identify and bid for target audiences most likely to engage with any given campaign using either 1st or 3rd party data (or a combination of the two), which is where the role of a Data Management Platform (DMP) comes into play.

3. The following excerpt from a recent blog post by Eyeota (DMP & Data Marketplace), highlights the relationship between audience targeting and contextually relevant Supply that can reach desired audiences across different content verticals:

…Many sites with large audiences don’t necessarily have the potential to collect great data. For instance, few campaigns target people who “read the news”. We’re far more interested in collecting audience data from websites that have a core common interest or demographic…

4. The mid-long tail media owners when aggregrated together into your pool of Supply can allow you to target more of your desired audiences that have a real interest in content that is directly related to your advertising campaign messages.

For those of you responsible for sourcing Supply, a strategy of targeting the mid-long tail media owners proactively by content vertical will allow you differentiate your Supply from the competition and in the process help to deliver more targeted Programmatic campaigns to a larger volume of relevant audiences who could be more engaged in your campaign.

Where to focus your strategy will depend on a number of factors related to the macro/micro environment of your business in each country of operation.

If you are responsible for selecting an SSP or DSP to partner with, it is worth carrying out due-diligence to understand what sources of digital inventory can be accessed split by content vertical via the technology partners in your shortlist.

Transparency is the main ingredient here… with it, comes the power to augment your Supply-Side strategy to achieve better performing campaigns by allowing more of your desired audiences to feed into the top of your Programmatic Supply funnel.

If you are responsible for sourcing new media owners to add to your Programmatic funnel, some of the questions that would be worth thinking about in determining how best to augment your Supply are as follows:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • Which contextually relevant content verticals would directly appeal to this audience?
  • How many media owners do you have connected to your existing Supply that reach audiences in each of these given content verticals?
  • For each content vertical of relevance where you have Supply enabled, is there enough aggregated audience volume to enable scale of reach in the Programmatic delivery of your display advertising campaigns to make a difference?

Once you have answered the questions above, you will understand where the weaknesses are in your Supply, allowing you to focus on creating a true point of differentiation that will allow the campaigns to reach more of their intended target audiences for better performing campaigns all-round.

If you need some help in identifying what sources of digital inventory are accessible via your existing supply-side technology platforms or require greater transparency into prospective ad tech vendors to partner with, a couple of Business Intelligence platforms that may be worth checking out include Datanyze and Builtwith.