Private Ad Exchanges are First Party Business

Ola Tiverman is the CEO of Swedish-based Admeta, a leading technology provider of white labelled Private Ad Exchange solutions to premium publishers in Europe.

There are many third party ad tech companies claiming to provide private ad exchange or private marketplace solutions these days – it’s no wonder since this is the natural alternative for major online publishers. Being one of the very first private ad exchange technology providers (Admeta Tango has helped major publishers run efficient private ad exchanges for more than five years), I’d like to explain what defines a good private ad exchange solution.

Firstly, the most important difference from third party ad exchanges, SSPs or ad networks is that a private ad exchange is totally on the publisher side. This means it is totally controlled and run by the publisher. Technology providers offering private ad exchanges should be 100% on the publisher side and should not compete with the publisher, as many third-party vendors do today.

Furthermore, the technical platform must include real-time auctions, real-time optimisation and real time reporting for performance campaigns, as well as brand campaigns. Thus, the system should be proven to optimise each unique impression and select the most profitable ad for the publisher.

Even though a publisher’s job is to reach an audience with their content, their real customers are often the paying advertisers. Naturally, that is why the private ad exchange business must be fully owned and controlled by the publisher and be their own exchange. This includes more than just some settings for a reserved part of a third-party exchange (often referred to as “private marketplace”). It means the publisher markets and sells its inventory to its own customers directly and invoices them in the same way as they would for premium inventory. The publisher should promote its own brand, not the third-party vendor’s brand, because this will increase the publisher’s own value. That is why we have chosen to offer Admeta Tango completely white-labelled, and as a consequence Admeta does not have to be well known to a broader audience, but rather concentrate on being a premium publishers’ best choice when setting up a private ad exchange.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to being in control of your inventory, advertiser relations and publisher brand. I am very glad to see the steadily growing interest and appreciation of the private ad exchange alternative from major publishers. We see a tremendous progression of private ad exchanges in many European countries. In particular, I’d like to highlight the recent fast-paced developments in Spain, Poland, Finland and Norway, where we are happy to work with the largest, yet very innovative publishers – and, this evolution is happening all over Europe.

The RTB movement is also important, but it is primarily a move for international DSPs wanting to get access to premium publishers. For the premium publishers themselves RTB can be a good additional business, but it always boils down to how the system allows the publisher to have full control of any ad that may be shown on their sites; and the publisher must understand that it will not have the advertiser relationship in the RTB case. That’s why many of our publishers use RTB as added business from advertisers that they cannot work with directly. RTB is never the core business for them.

I am both happy and proud that Admeta is helping to lead the private ad exchange development in Europe. However, I am concerned that some publishers may compromise their brand by choosing a so called “private marketplace” or similar, instead of the private ad exchange as defined here.