Mark Peters is Digital Commercial Products Director at News UK. He’s speaking on a panel about Real Time Bidding (RTB) at the AOP Conference on Thursday 3 October 2013. Here he talks about News Corp and Rubicon’s recent launch of a private global programmatic advertising exchange, and the key issues facing publishers around RTB.
The key issue is that RTB is in many instances a hollow victory for the publisher - the value of each impression isn’t measured by what we as publisher stand for, our direct relationship with the reader, or by our own rich first party data, but by what some DMP or DSP aggregates in value across multiple touchpoints to that impression. It’s no longer our brands, titles, quality of content, or relationship - it’s aggregated data in which we become a targeting shell largely reduced to the “brand safe” checkbox. It’s sometimes great, often good, but quite often not great revenue - but as publishers we seem too often addicted to bad revenue.
Is there a sense of how much inventory a publisher should put through RTB?
That depends entirely on the business model for each publisher. At News UK we have direct, subscription-based relationships with our readers - and as such a huge amount of constantly refreshed first-party audience data across all platforms that goes way beyond the capabilities of any third-party data provider or agency DMP. For us, monetizing this first-party data through programmatic channels is substantially more important than any RTB activity - and in fact, we have ceased RTB across our UK titles entirely for the time being while we focus on establishing a comprehensive programmatic premium offering.
How significant for publishers is the rise of private marketplaces?
Very. We have direct relationships with our readers that span the web, tablet and phone. We see them across our brand extensions and classified platforms, we understand what content they are interested in, what sports they like, and what events they follow. Utilizing this fountain of rich first party at scale - and as frictionless as possible - has to be at the heart of our efforts.
To that end, News Corp recently announced the creation of a global programmatic advertising exchange allowing marketers to collectively leverage the company’s leading online and mobile products and rich first-party data for programmatic buying as well as real-time bidding.
The fact that private marketplaces also lower the cost of goods sold, and allow salespeople to focus on the more complex, higher value cross-platform and solutions deals just make them that more attractive to everyone involved.
Can we expect a consolidation in the RTB market, and how might that affect publishers?
I think we'll see a substantial consolidation across the ad tech space - and it's absolutely required. The number of point solutions, data services, validations, trading mechanisms, etc. is out of hand. Nobody wants to see a world with a single provider of RTB services (we see what that does in the search space), but the consolidation needs to rather be around the vertical integration of data and services associated.
What does the future hold for RTB?
RTB will have to mature to bring together all sources of audience data to the process. This means also starting to include publishers’ first-party data layers; premium publishers with deep reader relationships will want to get their share of attributed value from generating and making this data available, and not stand by and leave the determination of the value of their readership entirely to the “black box” on the buy side.