Dirk Freytag, a veteran of the German digital advertising space, announced this week he was joining Rubicon to help build out its proposition across German-speaking markets, including Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Here Freytag discusses why he is joining Rubicon, the pitch to German sales houses and the growth of the data-driven market in Germany.
Can you give some overview on your new role with Rubicon Project? What will you new role be focusing on?
DF- Broadly, the remit is to build the team and grow the business in Germany, Switzerland and Austria , both from the publisher and demand perspective.
Why have you chosen to work with Rubicon?
DF – For a number of reasons: It’s the best product in the market and one that it focused 100% in the interest of the publisher – Rubicon’s market dominance in both the UK and FR is testament to this. Additionally, the team supporting it in Europe is solid and experienced. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, is that the timing is right in Germany. Publishers are increasing looking for increased operational efficiencies and maximising overall yield.
With respect to the German market, there seems to be a lot of resistance on the part of the sell-side to put inventory into the automated channel. Will it be difficult, selling a solution like Rubicon, into Sales Houses?
DF – Great question, however, one of the advantages that RTB brings as a trading mechanic, and that an ad technology company like Rubicon Project offers, is incredibly granular channel and pricing controls. The reason why German publisher have historically been apprehensive with regard to sales through indirect channels is that they want to maintain control and not allow a ‘back door’ to their quality inventory. Maintaining rates and mitigating channel conflict are paramount. These are valid concerns and the reason why the German display market is the strongest in Europe, but RTB controls eliminate those concerns. Not only does the power and controls remain with the publisher, but Rubicon brings 80 engineers and 8 Ph.Ds to the table who work tirelessly to do nothing but improve yield. REVV, Rubicon’s real time trading platform, is the only platform that has this – Rubicon doesn’t arm hundreds of networks with buy side DSP technology or have conflicting interests with its own network. Its interests are fully aligned and transparent with the publisher.
Are sales houses coming round to the idea of efficient data-driven selling? Or are they still waiting on agency demand in the market?
DF – The reality is that the traditional media trading process, both on the buy and sell side, is unduly complex for both parties. In order for the channel, and our industry to grow, we must add further efficiencies to justify further investment from the marketers who pay all of our bills. Agencies are changing, and so is their buying behaviour. Publisher need to adapt and embrace this change. Managed properly, this evolution will work in their favour as it safely opens the door to much more budget from advertisers that couldn’t be tapped through direct sales.
With still so much of .de inventory still sold manually – or through the traditional channels – in Germany, can RTB scale and will automated buying become a viable channel for Germany’s biggest sales houses?
DF – As a buying mechanic, RTB is scaling nicely in Germany already. There is enough liquidity in the market to make it viable. However, part of the reason why I was drawn to Rubicon Project is that it’s not just about RTB as a more efficient means for the buy-side to deliver performance campaigns. RTB is a trading mechanic that will change the way brand budget is spent, and the German penchant for efficiency will overcome the impediments raised by traditional trading methods.
If you were a sales house how would you be preparing your business for automated buying?
DF – Start small to get a feeling for the waters, open a few properties with tight controls and high floors to understand the demand and gain basic learnings. Then it’s an internal exercise. Understand who your greatest, and most important clients and concentrate direct sales resources on those accounts with the highest sales ROI. Open smaller margin advertisers to RTB with strict floor pricing. Programmatic trading opens up the opportunity for scalpel-like precision of channel management, publishers need to use it.
The sales house are very much focused on premium rate than performance? Are we likely to see a shift in the thinking from sales house in terms of how they attract performance budget? How can Rubicon help these publishers tap into more DR budget?
DF – it’s not necessarily about a “shift” to attract performance, it’s more about maximising the yield of the inventory and the return on investment of the direct sales team. Rubicon’s REVV platform provides sales houses the ability to maximise both their human and inventory resources to deliver maximum overall revenue and margin. On the subject of helping publishers tap more budget, it’s about bringing the maximum number of buyers into the auction. The more potential buyers, the more potential revenue. Rubicon Project’s scale gravitates demand.