Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

What’s next for curated marketplaces

Auriane de Premilhat,Solution Consulting, Manager at Xandr

Marketers are always looking for easily actionable solutions to address their current challenges whether that is addressability in a post-cookie world, gaining clarity on their programmatic investments or responding to the growing concern for more sustainability. Curation has proven itself as a powerful and polyvalent tool tailored to these needs.

What’s a curated marketplace?

Let’s start at the beginning. Curation is a process in which the curator (a publisher, a data provider, an agency, a contextual player, …) creates packages (called curated deals) in which they can combine media (that belongs to them, or doesn’t) and an added value (unique data, premium rates, KPI optimisation, …). The buyer (who can buy through any DSP), can then simply target this package (which takes the form of a deal) and have access to the unique offering provided by the curator. 

Curation has already been around for a couple years, and has demonstrated its multiple uses for broad use cases. For example, it allows data providers the ability to sell data more easily (multi-DSP delivery through only one segment integration, more control on the brands buying the data, better forecasting, combination of data & KPIs). It offers buyers the option to create new propositions in order to differentiate from other buyers and have better control over the supply chain. And finally, it ensures publishers can sell their data outside of their own ecosystem.

In short, rather than buying and reselling inventory, the curator creates and optimises multi-publisher inventory packages based on his data and expertise and activates them through a deal ID. Curation thus meets the need for operational and financial efficiency that our ecosystem sorely needs.

But what’s next for curated marketplaces? 

In my opinion, there will be three areas where curation can stand out: 

Post-cookie era

In the post-cookie era, buyers are going to have a really hard time finding the reach they’ve been used to be able to have. Buyers and agencies will be relying increasingly on first-party data assets for audience insight. They will also be bolstering these with alternative identity solutions. But the number of ID solutions vying for position as a preferred partner will make it hard for buyers and publishers to determine which solutions are the best fit. They will not be able to integrate all identity solutions, but how will they know which one is the best? 

Curators can become identity-solution aggregators (and/or testors), providing incremental reach as one curated deal could contain first-party IDs from multiple providers. They can also help buyers in selecting the best provider by letting them know which IDs are driving performance the most. One buyer would then only need to target one curated deal containing all the provider IDs, rather than reaching out to each identity partner and creating 1:1 deals with them. 

Outside of ID solutions, we’ve seen the rise of contextual curators, shifting the focus from the user to the content being navigated on, and I believe these types of curators will keep thriving in the future. 

Supply Path Optimisation: 

Over the last few years, as programmatic has become more and more complex, we’ve seen a rise in demand from the buy-side for more direct, efficient and transparent media-buying. On end-to-end platforms, Supply Path Optimisation (SPO) was born, allowing for the removal of useless intermediaries. But this also came with a reduction in the quality of the end inventory. 

With curated marketplaces, curators have the ability to directly pick their preferred publishers, data providers, etc, and package them in a transparent way for the buyer. Some platforms such as Xandr allow buyers to target deals that have a specific number of Schain nodes, for example. More broadly, curation can allow buyers to regain control of inventory sourcing by deciding to partner with curators who will work towards curating the best, most direct supply, while still keeping in mind the advertiser’s goals and constraints (brand safety, viewability/completion KPIs, audience, etc).

More sustainable advertising: 

Another subject that’s becoming a major point of focus for players in the advertising field is everything related to measuring, reducing and offsetting carbon emissions. The internet causes 4% of global emissions, on an upwards curve, and the programmatic industry is an obvious starting point if we want to make a positive impact. As advertisers start taking real steps towards working on reducing their emissions, I believe we’re going to see a multiplication of new players in those fields, and curation could be a good and efficient way to package green media deals. 

In short, curated marketplaces can become the driving force for innovation in the programmatic industry, and provide the tools necessary to make a lasting change and create a positive impact in the coming years so marketers will need to keep them at the forefront of their decision making.