Centro’s DSP Customers Embrace Shift To Private Marketplaces

Advertisers buying on the open marketplace often sacrifice viewability, quality and transparency for cheaper prices and scale. But as more buyers decline to make that concession, the pendulum is swinging toward curated publisher lists.

And many DSPs now offer to shoulder the burden of setting up private marketplace deals for their clients.

Recently Centro, which services smaller agencies and brands, joined that group and can tap into 1,000 private marketplace deals it set up with 150 publishers.

IFly Indoor Skydiving, which offers indoor free falls at 30 US locations, tested 10 different private marketplace deals for its video programmatic advertising recently.

“We use private marketplaces primarily to drive viewability,” said Shelly McCray, VP of marketing at iFly. Private deals were also better at delivering in full despite the company’s tight CPM goals. “In the open marketplace, we were not getting all the impressions we wanted.”

Based on traction it’s seen over the past couple of months, iFly is testing private marketplaces for its display ads.

Plus, while private marketplaces have a reputation for underdelivering when too many targeting parameters are used, the campaigns are fulfilling even when iFly geotargets to cherry-pick prospects near its locations.

Zephyr Media Group, an independent agency, started negotiating its own private marketplaces with publishers on Centro five months ago. It’s already pushed one-third of its programmatic budgets into the private marketplaces.

“It makes it a lot easier to manage the deals and media we are placing, because it’s all under one roof,” said Alissa Knytych, associate media director at Zephyr. “Another benefit is that you are getting access to inventory that might not be available on the open marketplace.”

Though Zephyr didn’t create private marketplaces specifically to boost brand safety, that’s been an added value for clients, Knytych said.

“Private marketplaces give you more control and visibility into where you are placing your media, and that helps clients feel more comfortable,” she said.

Although Zephyr found private marketplaces either meet or surpass expectations, it expects to negotiate to optimize any poorly performing partners.

“If we came upon a situation where the CPM was too high and wasn’t paying out the way we wanted, we would discuss that with the publisher and renegotiate with them,” Knytych said.

Zephyr plans to continue to build custom private marketplaces and tap into some of the 1,000 deals Centro has set up. Knytych is already finding that scanning the Centro-created deals is helpful as a discovery tool.

Over the next six months, Centro plans to continue to build out its deal library, according to Katie Risch, SVP of client software solutions. As data comes rolling in about what buyers are using and seeing the most value in, the company will add and remove deals and adjust CPMs to build up the private alternative to the open marketplace for its advertisers.

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