Centro Expands Locally Focused ‘Brand Exchange’ To Mobile, Tablet Inventory

Kelly Wenzel, CentroCentro is bringing mobile and tablet ad inventory to its programmatic display ad serving system, called Brand Exchange. Publishers and agency trading desks AdExchanger spoke with view the offering as a way to further unlock the largely untapped local ad market.

While mobile and tablet usage is growing, it’s still a mere fraction of the overall real-time bidding marketplace. As mobile ad services company Celtra told AdExchanger in May, the size of the RTB market in mobile is about 10%, but that it is expected to reach 30% in 2013. Hence, companies like Centro are accelerating the amount of ad inventory it can offer for mobile and tablet.

“Agencies who work with us get a simplified buying process to reach valuable audiences at scale on quality, journalistic content,” said Centro CMO Kelly Wenzel, asked about the value Brand Exchange provides. “Publishers who want to monetize desktop and mobile audiences can use the Centro Brand Exchange to access demand for both.”

Tribune Digital already works with other sell-side tools offered by Rubicon Project and others. Lori Tavoularis, managing director of revenue partnerships, says Brand Exchange offers another layer to connect with advertisers, particularly on the local level.

“The benefit is the transparency and quality of advertisers, and knowing the relationship of the partner with where the ad dollars are coming from,” Tavoularis told AdExchanger.  “We do see this as a complement to our other ad tech strategies and feel the healthy eCPMs create competition with our other partners, giving us higher rates and better yield overall.”

Christopher Murphy, Accuen’s VP of product and marketing, generally sees companies’ broadened smartphone and tablet ad offerings as a continuation of attempts by major publishers to get a handle on “private marketplaces” through clearer price controls. Private exchanges also allow for greater discretion as to what buyers get to bid on sellers’ inventory.

Murphy told AdExchanger that an education gap persists around publishers and programmatic. For one thing, he hopes that additional use of tools like Centro’s will show publishers that programmatic doesn’t represent just another a shift in dollars from one sales channel to another.

“Many publishers seem to have a ‘If you build it, they will come’ mentality, but the successful ones know that programmatic requires a new approach to the market and shift their strategy accordingly,” Murphy said. “Just because a publisher’s inventory can be purchased on an automated basis, it doesn’t mean that it’s automatically more desirable. Publishers still need to create quality content and attract target audiences that fit advertiser objectives in order to see an increase in demand.”

At the moment, he called the current adoption of private marketplaces “inconsistent.”  That’s certainly the case when it comes to local advertising, he said, though there has been some movement in that space lately.

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