Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

MediaLad: It’s adtech’s Magaluf for many so here’s how to make the most of Dmexco

Who’s MediaLad? In digital media, everyone pretends they know who he, or she, is. We do. Or do we?

So, how do you really make the most of Dmexco?

This column is based on a series of recent tweets with some additional insight into what you should potentially ask to increase the likelihood of useful answers and useful meetings depending on your business type and model. If you’re one of these people that wants to progress, then read on. If you’re just there for the beer and the schmoozing, read on to find out what others might be talking about.

Meeting a vendor for the first time can be daunting especially if you have no idea what they’re on about or where they fit in that complicated media landscape. If you’re stuck, just ask what value there is to the proposition outside of what you’re currently doing. If they can’t answer in a sentence move on.

You might have to share a concise view of your business challenges but for Ari Paparo’s sake, make it short and sweet; not too many secrets shared. Practise it in the mirror if I were you.

Seriously, if you’re talking to DSPs, ask exactly how they’re better than the other platforms you’re already using. Answers can be vague, with the usual hyperbole. Collect your thoughts before you give out your details and set up mindless meetings that will lead to you to merely finding out there’s no substance.

There is some gold in the madness, but people hedge bets at DMEXCO so that they can get leads and they will hound you forever.

Questions for SSPs

Worried about costs? Don’t be. Doing something well should be more expensive but not more difficult. Ignore the shiny Perspex signage dig into the path to the inventory if you’re talking to “SSPs”.

Now here’s the tricky part…

SSPs say they’re SSPs so you don’t think they’re a network. DSPs say they’re DSPs so you don’t think they’re an ad network. How do you differentiate?

If an SSP is a reseller of inventory only, and not a seller within ads.txt, it’s likely they’re a network. This goes for the majority of the supply side so ask if they have an active sales team. If they have their own sales team, they’re more likely to be a network.

Percentage splits can give you an idea of what they’re actually driving. Do you want your titles being sold by a third party? The desire to ‘take back control’ is growing, and if that’s what you really want, beware of these companies. If you still want the money they’re promising, just agree they won’t actively pitch your websites.

Always ask what controls are given to publishers to approve ads. If it’s case-by-case or campaign-to-campaign. Ask to see the controls. It always bemuses me how far ahead Google is in this scenario. One of the better things it’s done and rarely spoken about!

Questions for DSPs

If you’re talking to a DSP that has “unique data” or “unique inventory/formats” ask where it comes from and exactly what that inventory is? Can data be decoupled from media?  If not, it’s an ad network.

They’re probably selling you some data but ask who is buying the media and what the media costs are. A failure to answer or veiling it as “part of the service” just screams HIDDEN MARGINS!

Ask if inventory be bought on other platforms? If just one, it’s often just code for the fact they’ve got a relationship with someone in that platform’s adops.

Additionally, if any of that can be done, but can only be bought on a guaranteed basis, it’s an ad network. If it can and can be bought on PMP, why use their platform at all? Middlemen equal margin. Margin equals money that can be used smartly elsewhere.

There are multiple reasons why you’d even look at something or entertain a meeting at Dmexco, you’re missing something from your digital capabilities. What’s crucial is that you define what the missing ingredient is, between your teams, and ask pointed questions to see whether vendors have it as a capability and ultimately a solution to your business needs.

Be wary of people that say “Yeh, we can build that” or “Yeh, we’ve been looking at that.” It’s an old tactic that means, we’ll write it down and figure it out later while you sign an IO. That being said, if there is an operations specialist that is hell bent on helping you, that’s a real turn on. They’re the ones that know their backsides from their elbows and ones that more often than not will tell you the horrible truth.

DMEXCO is and always will be like Magaluf for a 17-year-old to an adtech sales representative/agency partner or whatever these days. They’re all about the numbers, and quite plainly want your email to show their boss come Monday morning sales meeting time.

Be smart. Stay vigilant and have an agenda you want to solve for your business.