Otto Neubert Block is Managing Director at Emediate. Here he gives insight into the evolving data-driven ad market in the Nordics.
How progressed is the Nordics market from an automated trading perspective?
It’s a simple question to answer – immature. The Nordics are very immature in the automated trading market. ATS Stockholm is the first Nordic conference about the subject. However, seen from a technology provider point of view, let me just give you some of the constraints we face in the market.
First of all, the tools are not available in the market. The supplier approach has been very limited and as such most publishers have had to make their own inquiries and experiences. Trends, reports, tools, best practise, etc. is coming from the US/UK. It takes some time to digest and create new products and strategies.
Industry bodies are just starting to relate to these new tendencies and to describe the ecosystem and the players in the market, as well as analyse the regulatory measures needed to support the online media market.
The banner standards are not consistent. Most Nordic publishers can provide the Universal Ad Package, but the interest from international demand goes beyond these standards.
The demand is predominantly from international DSP’s—and the demand is very low. Domestic media agencies will of course help to grow demand, but the market is in a hen and egg situation (neither supply or demand is available) and we need to constantly evangelise about the new trend.
Publishers are standing by traditional sales models, however there is a positive interest in using RTB to optimise their remnant inventory. Yield optimisation is a major concern to all publishers. But premium inventory is their Achilles heel—will the automated buying of front page banners, takeovers, and maybe the more specialised categories, reduce the sales department’s control of inventory and agency relations?
And who owns data? Will publishers allow advertisers to use their Data Management Platforms (DMP) to enrich data and use it across different websites? Or will the self-regulatory OBA initiative prevent advertisers from using profile or behavioural data? Who should gain from the data—the DMP’s, the advertiser, the publisher? This issue must be handled fast, otherwise supply will be reluctant to share user data with advertisers.
So, in general we need far more interaction between the players in the market to embrace the inevitable evolution. I hope that ATS Stockholm can help to kick-start the process.
Can you explain the Emediate SSP product offering in more detail? Is it predominantly buy or sell side focused?
Emediate develops and provides a comprehensive set of products and tools which enable publishers to maximise their profit and gain much better control of their inventory.
Emediate Exchange, our SSP solution, works on 2 levels:
1. Publishers can work with the major RTB exchanges, and fully control who gains access to their inventory. It’s possible to maximise the potential buyers by allowing everyone to bid, or to finely control access by creating a private exchange with fine-grained control and many possible levels of pricing.
2. The Emediate Exchange also allows existing networks to bid on the inventory, as Emediate is creating strategic deals with many of the Nordic networks. This allows Emediate to handle all the remnant pass-back deals which are normally time consuming and tiresome for the publisher to maintain.
When was your SSP launched? What levels of volume are running through it?
Emediate launched our SSP in February 2012. We provide access to both supply and demand. The product offering consists of yield management in a controlled environment. We handle both reporting and invoicing.
The demand is enabled from advertising networks, RTBs and Emediate customers. Every customer is offered detailed optimisation in a nuanced setup, based on their specific requirements— which can include a private exchange or a mix of direct performance campaigns.
Every customer can of course decide their own individual floor prices on a very detailed level of creative placement, categories, targeting, brands and more.
We manage black lists and white lists and can also pre-audit creatives. When it comes to levels of supply, it’s not a question of how much we’re able to deliver, but more a question of the demand level. According to various sources, the number of available RTB impressions is around 60 million per day in Denmark. We currently offer around 2-3 million of these. We could easily supply more, it’s a matter of turning a valve, but the issue is that the keep rates (fill rates) are too low at the moment and there’s too little demand. Most ad networks buy directly through a pass back solution and only very few of them have their own DSP. Some media agencies have access to trading desks or a DSP, but the demand here is too low as well. So we adjust the supply step by step.
Which DSPs is your SSP connected to? Who are the predominant demand partners?
We’re connected to many DSP’s but the largest buyers are now: Criteo, Adform and ad pepper. We also see MediaMath, Mediamind, Unanimis, Turn, Xaxis, Delta Project, Missing Marketing Link, MIG Network and many more.
What features of an adserver would you say are most in-demand in the Nordic market? Does this differ by country?
For quite some years behavioral targeting has been in-demand. The enrichment of user data has started a new era of profile targeting. The ability to forecast and target different segments of users is in high demand and it’s well supported by DMPs like nugg.ad, Audience Science, Enreach Group, etc. Finland has been testing many different players and has created many different cases, many of which are quite successful. Denmark has been more consistent in their choice of predictive behavioral targeting and has created PBT networks across different publishers. This tendency seems to be now spreading to Norway.
The next in-demand is in-view measurement. The release of the five principles of Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS), clearly shows that if you want the advertiser to take online media seriously, you cannot sell them advertising that’s not in view.
Finally, we see a tendency of integrating the adserver into CRM, finance, CMS, booking and work-flow tools. Making the work-flow simpler and easier is a must for publishers to streamline their business.
How progressed is the publisher space? How many are taking advantage of plugging inventory into RTB-enabled SSPs via the native adserver connection?
The market is still very immature. We currently have three major networks plugged in and we’re enabling another 8-10 publishers as we speak. We’ve registered a great interest in the SSP and no doubt we’ll be able to enable most of our customers in 2012.
Can you explain further your DSP capability?
Emediate has been designing and developing a bidder, which forms the center of any DSP, for more than two years. Today, this allows us to help publishers and advertisers to bid on inventory, both from the Emediate SSP, but also from all the major players on the RTB scene. The publishers will benefit from audience extension via retargeting, enabling them to target regular visitors to their websites and thus extending their ad inventory. For advertisers, the Emediate DSP is a strong solution that will enable all the advanced features to work for them, including;
- Adaptive bidding
- Full transparency on domains, URLs and bid prices
- Semantic targeting
- Domain & URL black and white lists
- Advanced optimisation (CPM, CPC or CPL targets and any combination thereof)
- Full assistance in campaign booking and optimisation
We seem to have a big head start compared to many of the other European players. We have been working with advanced semantic targeting since 2005. This has also been a big kick-start for our DSP project, as the European market has a certain lack of audience-based data and semantic targeting. This allows us to target and optimise without the strong audience-based knowledge, which is currently missing in Europe.
Today we deliver DSP technology to a few different ad networks and many direct clients, most on a managed base, where we book, report, optimise and work closely with the clients internal procedures and goals. The managed aspect is very important, as gaining and maintaining expert knowledge in their area is quite hard. Even with technology systems as advanced as ours, the manual human touch is still very important. Using a managed service is a way to kickstart your entry into the RTB world, and this is very attractive to many networks and agencies which are just now realising the importance of gaining insight and experience in this area.ExchangeWire