"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Jim Caruso, vice president of product strategy at Varick Media Management.
Programmatic buying has always been dogged by the reputation that it accesses remnant inventory from less desirable publishers – cheap long-tail inventory that is a poor fit for established brands. There’s still a lot of confusion and misperception floating through the industry. This reputation short-changes data-driven targeting.
Agencies and brands can currently buy on the exchanges with highly targeted, crystal clear white lists that take into account the placements, sizes, sections and sites where they want their ads to run. Blind bidding on opaque inventory is indeed an option, but it is a circumstance that is completely guided by the user making that choice when building a campaign, which, in many cases, is the agency.
The idea that brands can be tarnished because auctions are free-for-alls open to any advertiser with a seat on a DSP is an equally laughable idea. It’s irrelevant who else is participating in an auction. If a publisher is willing to white list an advertiser – including those that are of lesser “quality” (an unclear term if there ever was one) – and that advertiser wins the bid, then their ad appears. The thing to keep in mind is that almost every reputable publisher employs dozens of measures to prevent undesirable ads from appearing on their site, through the use of category, advertiser and creative-level blocks.