PubMatic was later than other players in Europe, but we feel we entered at the right time with the right product. The most important thing is that we had built the tools to really distinguish ourselves in the space and offer true value to our primary customers: publishers. We have the only true auction that enables all demand sources to bid simultaneously (which drives up pricing for publishers), we were first to market with Real Time Bidding for Publishers, now, through our Unified Optimization tool we can help them make the smartest decisions about how and where they should be selling all their inventory. The real change in how publishers monetise and optimise inventory is just starting, and we are in for the long-term success.
What are some of the core differences you see between the US and Europe in terms of adoption and usage?
Appnexus, Rubicon and Improve have, in the past, seemed to steal a lead on the European market. What core capabilities are publishers generally looking for when evaluating all these different technologies?
There is no single answer to this question. Every publisher in every market is unique in itself. There are commonalities, but there is not necessarily 100% consistency across publishers and markets. This is what we think, and that’s the beauty of our job. Every publisher and every demand partner has its own strategy, needs, pain points and goals, and it is an exciting endeavour to give them the right solution every time. PubMatic remains devoted to our core mission of increasing revenue and building tools that generate greatest value for publishers – we do not own any media or operate as an ad network. Unlike exchanges, where the goal is greatest volumes and liquidity, our goal is to increase revenue for publishers and offer our demand partners access to the greatest quality inventory and audiences.
Where does PubMatic have competitive advantage(s) over its competitive set?
PubMatic is the first to offer holistic optimisation (we call it Unified Optimisation) that enables publishers to look across both direct/guaranteed and programmatic/non-guaranteed inventory to make calls on how all inventory should be sold. Our heritage and continued focus attests to our alignment with publisher interests, and our track record of innovation shows how we are able to be ahead of the competition, arming our publishers with the best solutions aligned specifically with their needs.
Will we see a standalone monetising platform become somewhat of a commodity? Is it important to have it baked natively into the default ad server? If it isn’t, is data discrepancy and latency an issue?
Monetisation as a service is already a commodity, per se. Many companies offer so called ‘monetisation’, but great monetisation and publisher service will never be a commodity. At the end of the day, commodity technology and service will provide commodity-rate monetisation for publishers. We think this is not good for premium publishers, and that’s why we invest so much in innovation. Premium publishers need premium products and services to support premium rates. As for ad-serving, latency and discrepancies, the trend is for tighter, more robust ad server integration. However, given the companies that control the ad-serving market, we believe that remaining independent from them — but fully integrated — will serve the needs of publishers’ best.
Where does mobile sit within PubMatic’s plans (post its acquisitions)? Does the abundance of supply with (still) relatively small demand pose a huge business problem?
Mobile sits right in the core of our platform. We see mobile as just another screen, another device, and it is seamlessly integrated with our offer. There is an abundance of mobile supply, but a scarcity of premium mobile supply. Rates for premium mobile publishers are not depressed. We added to our core mobile team this summer, a visionary in the space, Bob Walczak, and our CMO Larry Harris was one of the first heads of a strategic mobile agency. We now have the monetisation tools in place and are now working with our publishing partners to ensure they know how to use them so that they can offer their premium inventory to the market through automated sales, rather than potentially eating into their margins through using a mobile network.
PubMatic recently released a case study about how it increased the performance of monetisation for National Rail Enquiries. What was core to the success of this client?
Intimate customer knowledge and collaboration, open and honest communication, and a superior platform. We started with really listening to their challenges and ensuring that our product, and the way it was used, would solve their specific issues. It is replicable. We have the recipe. We use it with all our publishers, and we are eager to use it with every publisher we partner with in the future.
Many talk about the ability to holistically manage yield. Right now that equals monetising a small percentage of inventory for much better yield, but what about the rest of that user session? How does a publisher reach an optimal allocation of inventory across all ad calls?
Many talk about holistic yield management, but only PubMatic does it. We were the first to market with this solution, as with many other solutions before it. I am not convinced it is just about a small percentage of inventory, but it actually touches the whole inventory. Holistic optimisation is about getting the best out of your assets, considering the demand landscape and the many interlinked constrains that a publisher has. It requires a new, modern and winning approach to how you think of and manage your inventory – both that which you typically sell through people and that which you sell through automation. All of your inventory, not just a small percentage. Publishers who have opened up their minds – and shifted operations accordingly – have found that it delivers the best outcome for both buyers and sellers.
What are the future plans for PubMatic? Where in Europe does it go from here?
It’s an exciting time at PubMatic. In a short amount of time we already have three offices and deals in every major country. We will continue our phenomenal growth in Europe in terms of adding new publishers, demand partners and resources.
The European market can expect more innovation from the most innovative SSP in the ecosystem. With a history of market firsts, we will continue to bring new technological capabilities to market that enable publishers to realise the full potential of all of their digital assets.Global Desk Editor