Rob Jonas, VP & MD, EMEA, APAC, PubMatic, Discusses the Future of RTB & Premium Programmatic in the German Market

PubMatic are speaking at tomorrow’s AdTrader Conference in Berlin, April 18.

Can you give an overview of the PubMatic proposition in the German market?

We provide premium publishers in Germany with a real-time media-selling platform for managing revenue across every sales channel and every platform, including mobile, desktop and tablet. PubMatic provides a flexible set of capabilities that allow publishers in Germany to customise their ad technology. These capabilities include: superior Private Marketplace tools for managing premium inventory and brand control with transparency; appending first- and/or third-party audience data to media, increasing the value of impressions and improving the user experience; real-time dynamic reporting across direct and indirect inventory to enable publishers to see which channel will deliver the highest value per impression and enable complete control over how their inventory is sold.

PubMatic is committed to the German market. We’ve been in the market for over a year now and are currently a trusted partner for three top AGOF publishers, as well as Quarter Media, and GAN.

How different is the strategy compared to other European markets, given the unique position of German sales houses?

Germany is conservative in adopting new advertising technologies and some would say this has slowed the growth of RTB. Sales houses are interested in the latest developments in programmatic trading and in how mature markets are adopting this progressive sales channel. However, we’re not seeing the scale of quality inventory put into programmatic trading due to an unrealistic fear of cannibalisation, lack of control and transparency and managing channel conflict.

Our strategy is focused on helping sales houses keep their premium inventory premium. This is a huge concern for the German market, demonstrated by their recent steps to drive and promote the quality of advertising and premium content. For example, the 4Q initiative by Interactive Media, UIM, and two media agencies (Pilot, PlanNet) and the recent announcement by VDZ on putting a seal of approval, “Prime Site” on content.

Let’s discuss the PMP and premium programmatic piece in relation to the German market. What key trends are you seeing in that space?

PMP and premium programmatic is one of the fastest growing areas of our business as Premium publishers and agencies recognise the inherent benefits of using the programmatic channel to transact on a one-to-one basis. Publishers are keen to stay in control of how their inventory is transacted and want to avoid cannabilisation and PMPs are a great solution, especially when they can offer full transparency on floor prices, block lists etc. Our research in collaboration with IDC expects that by 2016 RTB-based direct sales will contribute 16% of total RTB sales in Germany.

Are we looking at convergence across mobile, tablet and desktop in the German market?

Eventually, yes. It’s a consumption pattern we are seeing in all other markets. More and more people are consuming the internet over different devices. Thirty-eight per cent of all internet users in Germany go online via more than one device, according to comScore. Although desktop consumption is the most popular way to access the internet, with 75% of users accessing the internet via this platform, the number of connected tablets in Germany will multiply more than sixfold between 2012 and 2017, to 13 million; and the number of smartphones is expected to reach 68 million during the same period, according to a forecast by Cisco Systems. All publishers are seeing dramatically increased usage coming from mobile devices and they are looking for partners who offer a cross-platform solution to managing advertising revenue.

It won’t be long before advertisers are able to adopt creative campaigns that follow a user’s journey across these platforms with targeted creative.

Will we see big growth in programmatic buying in the mobile channel this year in Germany? Can you give some overview on the Pubmatic approach in mobile?

Mobile RTB is still in its infancy, both globally and in Germany. We are seeing a lot more interest with a few sales houses already testing on mobile and we are expecting to see growth. An increasing number of publishers are making mobile inventory available to RTB but advertisers and agencies are not yet demanding enough inventory to make mobile RTB take off. This is caused by either a lack of mobile marketing and creative strategy or reluctance to move ad dollars from other budgets into mobile. The lack of mobile standards makes producing creative cumbersome and expensive and media planning difficult.

PubMatic views mobile as another set of screens, with unique data assets that need to be managed in one holistic sales platform. We’re the only sell side platform that offers a truly unified cross-screen platform and are very excited to announce the launch of a set of products that in combination firmly place PubMatic’s platform at the leading edge of the cross-platform market.

PubMatic have launched the ability to pass first-party, Geo, Carrier and Device Data directly into the auction, enriching mobile and tablet inventory to increase the value of publisher ad inventory. Regardless of the device sending the request, the new functionality will enable PubMatic to identify the device and layer on over thirty third-party parameters, and up to as many as twenty first-party passed parameters. By adding as much as fifty data parameters to the ad request, we will significantly increase the qualification score of the impressions, and not only fill more inventory, but do it at a much higher eCPM.

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