Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Transparency, Supply Path Optimisation and Curated Marketplaces: the triple threat for media buying in 2022

By Michael Simpkins Commercial Lead, Marketplace, Xandr

The programmatic supply chain for advertisers is set to become more complex than ever. With the deprecation of third-party cookies, fragmentation across the supply chain will increase as the number of intermediaries that media buyers must work with grows. Against this complicated background, just getting the basics right – ensuring that your advertising budgets are spent in a way that’s brand-safe, relevant, efficient and effective – continues to be the top priority for buyers.

What follows are some top tips to help you navigate these challenges and accelerate your success in 2022 and beyond.

Demand greater transparency from the digital ad ecosystem

In a survey of media buyers conducted by Xandr and IAB Europe earlier this year, 30% of respondents stated that improving transparency around the effectiveness of their digital ad spending was a ‘primary objective’. What’s more, 26% of respondents think that fully understanding how media dollars are being spent (fee transparency) is now a ‘must have’ for any supply strategy.

Demands for transparency must increase over the next twelve months with advertisers questioning how much of their media spend is actually reaching publishers and securing the inventory they need.

The vast majority of the world’s largest publishers’ partner with multiple sell-side platforms, meaning access to supply has become commoditised. With multiple paths available to access the same inventory, many buyers are struggling to find the most efficient route to reach their desired audience and drive the most working media.

We have seen growing adoption and success with fee transparent ‘curated marketplaces’ this year. However, before advertisers can leverage the benefits of curated marketplaces, they must first seek to fully understand their supply chain.

Make supply path optimisation number one on your agenda

Supply Path Optimisation (SPO) is not a new concept but it is one that is expected to move on to the radar of more senior marketers in the near future as adoption of curated marketplaces increases.

To have a clear SPO strategy, brands, agencies and media buyers must be clear about what SPO means for them and what exactly they want to achieve.  This could be greater transparency, increased performance efficiencies or a ‘post-third-party cookie’ targeting strategy.

Defining objectives in this way will often lead to a consolidation of the number of SSPs in the supply chain, allowing for closer and more transparent relationships with the SSPs selected, who meet the criteria. As more brand marketers take a vested interest in their supply strategy, they are also waking up to the efficiencies that can come from having control and transparency across the entire supply chain, from DSP to SSP.

With the clock ticking on the final deprecation of third-party cookies, brands and their media agencies who have established their supply side strategy will be at an advantageous position towards continued high performance, compared to those that don’t. 

Investigate curated marketplaces

Curated marketplaces represent a significant leap forward in programmatic’s evolution providing a privacy-first space for deals that inherently reflect media buyers’ standards about brand safety, audience, context, device types, inventory lists, optimisation and more. At the start of a campaign, advertisers and their media buyers can establish essential criteria for the allocation of their media spend and the curated marketplace only offers inventory and audiences that meet those pre-conditions.

The curated deal is the mechanism by which a curator allows a trader to access specific parts of their curated marketplace; for example, an FMCG brand might provide a buyer with a curated deal to reach a new audience.  They increase operational efficiency offering a centralised place for buyers to target and report across multiple DSPs, simplifying campaign execution.  Similarly with the expectation that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to the identity changes, buyers will have to use multiple solutions and a curated marketplace is an elegant solution to centralise the deployment of these solutions in different scenarios.

By curating their own marketplace, agencies can also differentiate themselves in market, leveraging curation technology such as Xandr Curate, to build their own strategic, goal-orientated marketplaces through a self-serve platform. ‘Curated marketplaces’ were the buzzword of 2021 and the past twelve months have helped prove their value, making it an important consideration for buyers looking to maximise success as we enter the new, cookie-less era of programmatic advertising.