Collective Extends Sell-Side Platform Capabilities With AppNexus Partnership

Collective, AppNexus, SSPYesterday, Collective announced AMP Exchange which it positions as a sell-side platform and says “allows publishers to create private exchanges using Real-Time Bidding (RTB) without separately managing reserved and pre-emptible inventory.” AppNexus is helping to provide the technology of the new offering. Read the release. Peter Longo of IDG Tech Network is quoted in the release. IDG Tech Network has been a client of sell-side platform Admeld.

Collective CEO Joe Apprendi discussed the announcement and its implications. Why move into the sell-side platform space?  Are you pivoting?

JA: Collective has been serving the sell-side, specifically premium publishers, with AMP since 2008.  Today, we power some of the largest media companies already using our data and media management platform.  It was only natural for us to extend our SSP capabilities to include ad exchange functionality.  With this application, we now provide publishers with a complete monetization and analytics solution no matter where they source ad demand, whether through their direct sales channel on a guaranteed basis or via indirect channels using RTB. AMP Exchange is about integrating the programmatic buying channel with the direct-sales channel.

Now that Collective has an exchange, an ad network, a sell-side platform as well as other solutions, isn’t there a danger of appearing to represent everyone when clients on the buy or sell-side are looking for a solution that represents them alone?

Not at all, our success as a leading audience buying platform for brand advertisers is an asset to every sell-side customer using AMP.   In fact, many of our AMP customers are capitalizing on our buy-side ad demand to help them better monetize their unsold inventory as well as using our brand-safe network ecosystem for audience extension.  Collective is not only a developer/licensor of ad technology, we are a customer and an operator.  No other SSP in the market has the depth of understanding and experience in working with brand-name publishers and advertisers.  As a result, we design and prioritize features that meet the requirements of buyers and sellers better than anyone in the sector.

What does it say about advertising and ad tech today that critical technology in your SSP and exchange is provided by a third-party (AppNexus)?

Focus matters and you need to source technologies and partners that help you provide the best solution to your customers.  AMP provides the leading data and media management platform for publishers.  AppNexus offers best-in-class real-time bidding (RTB) technology.  No different than our decision to have AMP integrate with leading ad servers, like DoubleClick, we partnered with AppNexus as RTB buyers and sellers love their technology and are already using it.  When you combine their industry standard technology with our complete sell-side data and media management platform, publishers get what they want faster with the most sophisticated solution.

What’s your take on “the marketing stack” in digital advertising? Is this something that Collective is pursuing similar to the strategies of Google and Adobe among a few others?

We are focused on the brand advertising sector first and foremost, both as a buy-side and sell-side platform company.  That’s pretty unique as many of the other players in the space have really built businesses around performance or direct response ad spending.   As a result our sell-side and buy-side “marketing stack” caters to this customer base and AMP’s features and functionality differ dramatically from other providers when it comes to nuances of serving this market.

Finally, what impact do you see the Google-Admeld deal having on the digital ad industry as a whole and Collective, in particular?

As far as the industry and Collective both go, we think this is a positive. Consolidation is a must on both the buy-side and sell-side even if the only near term benefit the market is narrowing ad impression discrepancies. Specific to the ad exchange/yield optimization sector, it will be easier for publishers to pick a partner for this solution as well as a more comprehensive sell-side technology provider. I’m a big fan of Admeld, and both their product and management teams.  Google likely had great visibility into how Admeld was doing given the amount of RTB ad spend flowing through Invite Media, so my hunch is Admeld’s publisher base was very complementary to those publishers using Google AdX.  So, in short, this deal was more about market share, less about technology. For the premium publisher market, we think Collective’s AMP platform is very unique and well positioned to compete.

By John Ebbert

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