Rubicon Project And Donovan Data System Partner To Target Non-RTB Display Inventory

DDS and Rubicon ProjectToday, Donovan Data Systems and The Rubicon Project announced a new partnership which will target agency media buyers and “automate the display advertising transactions that are not executed through real time bidding (RTB).” Read the release.

Rubicon Project CEO Frank Addante and JT Batson, President, DDS Digital at Donovan Data Systems, discussed the deal and some of its details. Batson was formerly Rubicon Project’s EVP, Revenue and Global Development. What do you see as the benefits of non-RTB display inventory for advertisers?

JT BATSON: More than 90% of display media transactions are not purchased through RTB. Our goal is to help agencies and publishers automate the sale of a good percentage of those transactions. We think that by reducing the manual tasks, buyers will be able to spend more time on analysis and strategy – and publishers will be able to cut their cost of sales. Frankly, if it’s easier to buy, more money can be spent. Think of DPG as the pipes. DDS provides the enabling tools on the agency side and the Rubicon Project’s REVV platform provides the automated selling tools on the publisher side. But this is still a buyer (agency) and a seller (publisher) transacting.

FRANK ADDANTE: There is a hunger in the market for automation.  The rapid adoption of RTB and self-serve solutions (Facebook, AdSense, MyAds, etc.) have proven that there is pent up demand for automation.  We break automation down into three subcategories:  RTB, self-serve and media buying/planning platforms.  REVV connects publishers to all three giving advertisers, through these channels, access to the world’s largest marketplace of display ad inventory (REVV Marketplace.)

Can you go through a use case of how the Direct Publisher Gateway will work for a typical publisher? Will they approve the media agencies and their clients buys on a per campaign basis for example?

FRANK ADDANTE: Direct Publisher Gateway (DPG) is the technology that Donovan has developed for media buyers. A publisher, on the other hand, just needs to be optimizing their inventory on the REVV platform to benefit from this new source of demand; from the publisher perspective, it’s just as if we’ve added a new ad network into their optimization mix. Granted, it’s a network that has access to 80% of the display dollars spent in the U.S. today, so it’s a hell of an ad network, but nonetheless from the publisher’s perspective on our platform it appears alongside all the other sources of demand for their inventory. Today, REVV optimizes inventory across demand from more than 600 sources – ad networks, exchanges and DSPs – the Donovan partnership brings another source of demand into that mix.

I should note that every campaign that comes into REVV via DDS is required to meet the same rigorous standards that any other campaign from any other source of demand would: namely, it has to adhere to the business rules a publisher has established around transparency, price, ad quality and channel conflict.

Will this program be open to all Rubicon Project publishers?  Why can’t DDS clients just go direct?

FRANK ADDANTE: This pilot program is rolling out to a limited group of publishers first; we expect this pilot period will last approximately 6-8 weeks. Once the pilot is complete, we’ll expand access to all publishers on the REVV platform (representing 550 million unique users and 75 billion impressions across 350 of the top sites on the Internet.)  We’re excited to roll out this program because the REVV platform will now bring publishers directly to the desktops of over 50,000 media buyers who are making decisions for 80% of the display ad spend.  It’s very powerful for publishers and agencies alike.

JT BATSON: Our clients buy direct from publishers every day, but we hear from them all the time that they’d love to buy more publishers if it were easier. Using iDesk, DDS clients now have the ability to use electronic RFP’s and electronic IO’s to work with any media vendor (and they use thousands). Today that includes publishers, portals, ad networks, rep forms, dsp’s and so on. We expect that to continue and grow. DPG is not the only digital initiative DDS Labs is working on. Stay tuned.

What does Donovan Data Systems have to do to get Rubicon Project services to work with its clients? Or is it just lead gen and DDS passes off interested clients to Rubicon Project?

JT BATSON: The integration has already been done.  Through API’s, DDS and Rubicon Project have built the ability for agencies to plan, buy, traffic and optimize their campaigns from an easy to use web interface. It’s a DDS system and database talking to a Rubicon’s REVV platform.  From here on out, it’s just about rolling out the program to more buyers.

FRANK ADDANTE: DPG is analogous to a DSP – it’s an automated technology for the buy-side that’s been integrated with REVV to bring more demand to bear for publishers. REVV exists to bring publishers the most possible liquidity for their inventory; the way that we uniquely deliver on that promise is by connecting to every possible source of automated demand available in the marketplace. Agencies plug into their chosen platform for automated, non-guaranteed buys – be that an ad network, a DSP or now, DPG – and those deals are entered into the REVV optimization engine. From there our optimization technology goes to work, matching each impression to the highest-paying ad (regardless of source) for that inventory.

Do you see any similarities to private exchange or private ad slot models in the industry? Any differences?

JT BATSON: Private ad slots seem to be focused on enabling trading desks to have exclusive access to buy certain inventory through RTB on a particular publisher. The goal with DPG is to help facilitate any type of standard transaction.

FRANK ADDANTE: When this is fully rolled out, it will be a giant conduit between agency buyers and publishers.  It’s a complete automation/connection between buyers and sellers. It’s different from our private marketplace model in that DPG facilitates buys across a number of sites simultaneously, versus a buying relationship between one advertiser and one publisher. We’re excited about what’s happening on REVV with private marketplaces, and we’re really bullish about delivering both private marketplaces alongside a new and completely different source of demand, through this partnership with DDS, to publishers simultaneously.

By John Ebbert

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