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October 28, 2016

OpenX Buyer Forum: The Ever Evolving Programmatic Landscape

Ad tech is a forever changing industry – blink and you’ll miss the latest developments. OpenX’s first Buyer Forum on 25th October saw a group of industry leaders gather to pool their collective experience and review current programmatic trends – from header bidding to evolving the video marketplace.

Video made the advertising star

If one thing is certain, it’s that video advertising will continue to pave the way forward. OpenX put this to the group, and they agreed: 70% are now trading video. Supply constriction versus ramping demand was the primary theme – buyers are seeing lower levels of video quality as spending increases. It was hoped the supply of this format would rise in future to increase choice and drive down price, and that exchanges can pass clearer signals about formats while protecting brands from fraud.

The group further outlined the problem of measuring viewability, agreeing that brands see this as a key measurement of exposure to their target audiences. The experts concurred that advertisers are now looking for a minimum of 60%-70% viewability, and disclosed that they measure this using third party verification tools. However, almost all participants had found gaps in capabilities when reporting views on mobile and in-app – demonstrating the need for further refinement.

Another of the key issues raised was being able to use the right performance metrics. Click through rate was thought to tell a greater portion of the story than cost per view, but much of the panel prefer to use completion rate. It was agreed the plethora of available ad formats has led to a mixed bag of KPIs – and that alignment would help clarify which formats work best.

Heading towards header bidding

Moving on to header bidding, OpenX then asked the table, “What can SSPs do to help DSPs capitalise on programmatic’s growing access to inventory through header bidding?”

The industry leaders acknowledge header bidding helps them find valuable audiences, access a wider pool of inventory, and compete for premium placements, but some were confused by existing mechanics and needed guidance on how to create results. A common question was how to measure the performance of header bidding inventory against other types of access to programmatic inventory, and whether increased prices were offset by performance improvements. The audience agreed that a common signal in the bid request from all SSPs would allow them to measure performance and bid more intelligently.

Unsurprisingly, all attendees were hungry for insight to help them win auctions – especially the level of bid needed to be competitive. Price and win probability information were top of the list, and the experts spotted a gap in the market for a forecasting tool that made predictions using historical data.

In terms of selecting between SSPs, richness of data was found to be the main distinguishing factor. Signals in the bid request indicating competitive dynamics, and other forms of data enrichment were highly prized.

Shaping the roadmap

As ad tech catapults towards the future, it’s promising to see buyers forecast increased growth and efficiency. The roundtable generated creative solutions to some of the challenges the industry is facing, many of which will shape the OpenX roadmap in the coming months. Perhaps the biggest learning is that collaborative sessions like these will be the key to unlocking benefits for the whole industry moving forwards.

Would you like to attend the next OpenX Buyers Forum? Register your interest here.