Curation Unlocks First-Party Data’s Value for Everyone In The Ad Tech Ecosystem

By Harsh Jiandani, General Manager, Xandr Curate, Xandr

This article is sponsored by Xandr.

Until now, private marketplaces (PMPs) have been a popular tool for publishers to package their own data with their own inventory to sell to buyers. A new practice, however, is emerging in the industry and expanding the revenue potential in PMP technology: curation.

With curation, publishers, data providers, brands, and retailers can use PMPs to package their first-party data with inventory from third-party publishers to sell to buyers. While it’s a simple concept, curation opens up scaled reach for buyers, new revenue streams for data owners and increased demand for publishers.

For all parties, curation enables new control over data and inventory – critical with the future of identity in flux.

It has been a while since the creation of one programmatic tool offered advantages that benefited so many industry stakeholders. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the reasons curation is a win-win-win for all the parties involved.

For data owners, curation grants critical insights and can increase revenue potential. DSPs typically only share impression counts with data providers, but curation technology brings a more granular suite of data points into demand – including advertiser, agency, publisher, placement, device, geo and more. With these newfound insights, data providers can understand which combination of ad formats and first-party data improves outcomes for buyers.

Curation also enables the packaging of multiple types of data into one PMP. Combining audience data with contextual data, for instance, is a great way to address the performance-versus-scale challenges of the new identity landscape.

Brands and retailers can more easily tap into scaled operations previously only available to those with ample time and resources. Retailers can’t simply make customer data available to a dozen different ad tech platforms for anyone’s use – and rightly so. This limitation is one of the reasons Amazon and Walmart have invested so much money in building their own ad platforms. However, few other retailers are in a position to create their own retail media platform, and most traders don’t want more platforms to log into anyway.

Curation is a virtually free way for retailers to launch media offerings in a privacy-safe manner as self-serve PMPs without standing up their own ad tech infrastructure. They can also maintain buyer, brand and seller exclusions to navigate conflicts.

Curation breaks down silos for co-marketing or strategic partnerships, too. Application of a brand’s first-party data to a third-party campaign generally entails complicated legal and technical processes (think data bunkers) because the data is moving from a platform the brand owns to a platform a third party owns.

With curation, however, the brand never has to move their data out of their tech stack – they simply apply whatever segments they desire against a curated PMP and have their third-party managed campaigns buy against that aggregate media product.

Because the brand isn’t moving data at a user level across platforms and owners, they can keep control without taking on their legal queue or starting an integration project. Now, a campaign that would have taken weeks to set up can happen same day, if desired.

Solving this operational limit to co-marketing campaigns while maintaining an owner’s control over its first-party data is critical in an industry where novelty and speed-to-market are assets.

As the last link of the supply chain, publishers with inventory included in curated deals benefit from increased demand, automated audience extension and easy expansion into new formats. Buyers generally want self-service DSP capabilities. Because of this, audience extension is declining as a practice because it’s one of the last types of media buys that require an insertion order (IO). Audience extension also requires publishers to learn and operate DSPs, an investment that is hard to justify without much demand. With curation, publishers can package up their first-party data with third-party inventory from the open web, or by leveraging negotiated deals with sellers, and make it available to buyers as PMPs in their DSP of choice – while still retaining control over pricing, packaging and access.

Curation also opens an exciting addition to sell-side video strategies. Scaled publishers with robust first-party data tend to have limited video content and vice versa. With curation, text-focused publishers can package their data with premium CTV/OTT inventory and give their sales teams a premium video product to sell to buyers.

The end beneficiaries for curation are media buyers. As it stands now, existing data sources don’t often serve the full set of media buyers’ needs; data integrations are complex, and sourcing CTV supply is time-consuming.

Identity may become increasingly fragmented in the future, but curation – integrated with all major identity solutions – reduces complexity, eliminating the need for IOs and enabling buyers to consolidate spend on their DSP of choice. Additionally, as buyers do not need to send log-level data files to providers and curators to facilitate measurement, first-party data stays with the first party, a critical consideration in a privacy-centric regulatory environment.

Ultimately, what emerges from curation is a host of opportunities to unlock new revenue streams and workflow improvements that can lead to more effective campaigns. In an increasingly complicated and fragmented ad tech landscape, curation is a simpler way to unlock value without the big investments smaller players can’t afford.

 

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