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Private marketplaces need data to succeed

Transparency and control are two of the most frequently cited challenges when it comes to buying and selling advertising space on mobile. Private marketplaces (PMPs) are not only able to address these concerns, they are also able to target specific groups of people using customised audience data. With benefits for both advertisers and publishers, they are increasingly being viewed as the next level of effective digital and mobile advertising.

A private marketplace, also known as a PMP, is an invite-only marketplace where premium publishers offer their ad inventory to a selected (or specific) group of brands or advertisers. A PMP deal has many benefits for both publishers and advertisers. It locks in the publishers’ (and consumers’) interest in advance, by closely monitoring which brands will be displayed on their inventory, whilst securing their anticipated return from that particular deal.

Furthermore, brands can secure the exact placements of their ads while removing some of the main obstacles faced in today’s media buying. These include the buying risks of not knowing where their ads will be placed and how effective they will be for the end user.

As a result, the average CPM on these deals is substantially higher since brands are more willing to pay a premium. By doing so, they can ensure their campaigns are running on the highest quality inventory with guaranteed return.

The mobile PMP challenge
PMP seems to be the best option for utilising premium inventory (on one side) and campaigns (on the other side), thereby benefiting all parties involved. However, is this the optimal setup for PMP deals?

The short answer is – no. This is definitely not enough.

Far too many PMP deals fall short of their expected KPI. This is due to several reasons, the primary one being that while the match between the secured PMP inventory and the campaign goal might have been correct, the relevant audience was only partially targeted or reached.

So how can mobile PMP deals increase their effectiveness and yield higher value for publishers, brands and consumers?

Take PMP deals to the next level with audience-based targeting
There is no denying that private marketplaces present a great opportunity for brands to connect directly with their relevant audience. However, the impact and ROI driven from such PMP deals are only significantly increased if the right audience is targeted as part of the deal. In other words, PMP deals are much more effective when based on audience-level targeting, as opposed to only selecting the app and placements within the app.

There are some programmatic exchanges (SSPs, an open auction in real-time) that offer the ability to set up PMP deals on mobile, but most do not have the ability to go into any audience-level targeting as part of that PMP deal. Meanwhile, some programmatic exchanges are connected to 3rd-party DMPs (Data Management Platforms with audience data) which are not always able to provide relevant and impactful user data for the specific PMP deal. In most cases, this type of 3rd-party DMP data will not increase the PMP deal results. In a recent Ad Age article, AirAsia leveraged programmatic buying and its own CRM database to serve customized messaging for a specific audience, which successfully resulted in a 58x return on ad spend.

So how can a PMP deal be enhanced by user data?

Mobile PMP deals with customised audience data
The solution is clear, evident and completely viable. Only an SSP with its own internal big-data based audience platform, can enhance audience targeting to increase the ROI of PMP deals.

Why is that? An audience platform must be tightly connected to the SSP to leverage the vast amount of first-party data signals coming in from the SSP and convert it into meaningful profiling information. This is generated from the relevant inventory that is refined and profiled by the internal DMP and then utilised by the SSP to yield higher PMP deals.

A close-loop connection of an SSP and a DMP, both under the same technology framework and cohesively working side-by-side, can produce impressively high results for PMP deals.

Data brings increased quality
While PMPs offer both advertisers and publishers the best type of deal in terms of brand safety and control, they provide little in the way of quality on mobile unless they make extensive use of audience data to ensure that the right type of users are being targeted. When enriched with data, PMPs have the power to provide even small advertisers and publishers with premium users and higher eCPMs, leading to increased expectations of quality across the industry.

Ashwin Shekhar

Ashwin Shekhar is the Head of Programmatic Supply at Glispa Global Group.
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