With private marketplace connections in place, Grain no longer needs to reach out to publishers directly for run-of-site buys. But that doesn’t mean Grain will stop working with publishers directly.
“It’s not replacing direct buying by any means,” Jurist said. “If we want to make a splash on [a high-end publisher like] The New York Times we’ll still reach out and do a home page takeover or native ads. Or, if we have to be on travel section, we’ll still do those deals. This is about making more of the run-of-site inventory that is usually packaged into these direct deals.”
Some publishers – rather than bemoan the erosion of direct deals – are embracing audience buying. Rocket Fuel is one of the bigger sources of programmatic demand for Edmunds.com, a car shopping and comparison site.
Edmunds sees programmatic demand from Rocket Fuel come in two ways: either a “joint effort” where an advertiser works with Rocket fuel to optimize its private marketplace, or via Rocket Fuel directly, where it serves as the connection between buyer and seller for a private marketplace, explained Jennifer Dodez, the account director focusing on programmatic solutions for Edmunds.com.
Rates have held. “We really haven’t had to discount our rates much because the technology optimizes for performance, and [our inventory is] at a premium because of performance,” Dodez said.
It’s even closed direct buys. “In some cases Rocket Fuel has helped us close a direct buy because we had such a great campaign on the programmatic side,” Dodez said. “It’s pretty rare to have a DSP drive business on both sides.”
As concerns about site quality, fraud and viewability have skyrocketed, some brand and agencies have talked of moving out of open marketplaces, something Rocket Fuel’s solution enables. Does this represent a marketwide change toward transparent, site-specific buys, or simply more options for buyers and sellers?
Jurist goes with “more options.”
“Different mediums are being shifted into digital in general on things like programmatic,” he said. “It’s the same story we’ve been seeing with digital, where it’s easy to measure and track and we get great insights back post-campaign.” Those are the things “that get CMOs really excited.”
Seeing the data outputs from digital and programmatic, the marketers he serves are thinking more about what data inputs they can add to digital.
“Our clients are thinking about how to make their data accessible, moveable and adaptable into these platforms that are becoming the norm,” Jurist said. That, in turn, will lead to more dollars flowing in programmatic channels, whether it’s in a private or open marketplace.