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Industry Contributor 27 Apr 2021 - 4 min read

Curated marketplaces bring new opportunities for buyers in 2021

By Erica Blakslee - Senior Account Director, Xandr

Curated marketplaces add another layer to the programmatic ad ecosystem. But that's no bad thing: they can bring buyers and publishers closer together and deliver better outcomes – if you set them up properly. 

What you need to know:

  • Curator sits between DSP and SSP and works alongside the publishers to decide what inventory is allowed into their marketplace.
  • Curation enables buyers to maximise ad dollars by having full control over supply decisions and ensuring all media is run across brand safe environments.
  • Curated marketplaces eliminate non-essential pass throughs in the supply chain, reduce fees, increase transparency.
  • Set them up correctly and all three parties should win.

With the rapid growth of the programmatic industry, the supply chain became fragmented, resulting in a loss of control and transparency for both buyers and sellers. Buyers are also facing increasing pressure to justify return on ad spend, but siloed spending, rigid metrics and a convoluted supply chain make it hard to prove marketing impact on business outcomes.

As a collective, the industry has matured in the past few years and progressed to simplify the complex landscape. Direct relationships between buyers and sellers are being rebuilt and big steps are being taken to improve supply chain transparency. This is especially true following the ACCC’s most recent interim report which calls out opacity in the ad tech supply chain. Now, marketers are seeking to regain control not just over their ad spend but over their campaign performance too and, with the depreciation of the third-party cookie, these objectives take on even greater importance.

On the other hand, with the proliferation of header bidding, publishers want to make sure their most important media buyers are still able to reach and value their inventory effectively.

It is important for companies to deliver unique value across the advertising ecosystem from consumers, buyers and sellers. As a result, curated marketplaces are becoming a major priority for all industry participants.

What is curation?

Today, we are used to a two-party transaction with a buyer using a DSP to purchase inventory and a seller using an SSP to surface their inventory to the buy side. Curation moves us to a three-party transaction where we now have a curator that sits between the SSP and DSP and works alongside the publishers to decide what inventory is allowed into their marketplace and then packages and provides that inventory via a curated multi-seller private marketplace (PMP) to make it available to the buy side to trade in their DSP.

How does it work?

Creating your own curated marketplace does not have to be a huge undertaking – in fact, it involves just four key steps:

  • Identify what you want to get out of the curated marketplace. Is it fee and auction dynamic transparency? More control on your supply paths? Performance gains? Setting a clear objective and strategy for the curated marketplace will make the process clearer for all parties involved.
  • Establish who you want to partner with to build out the curated marketplace. Pick a technology partner that has the supply coverage, tools, expertise and service models to implement a successful curated marketplace.
  • Work with your technology partner to understand what supply to bring into your marketplace and how to work with the publishers to do so. A curated marketplace should bring buyers and publishers closer together, not act as a blocker.
  • Optimise your curated marketplace. These marketplaces shouldn’t be static and should constantly be optimised based on performance, market changes and pricing.

Why does it matter?

If set up correctly, curation enables buyers to maximise their investment by having full control over supply decisioning and ensuring all media is run across brand safe environments and eliminating non-essential pass throughs in the supply chain.

Reduced fees and increased transparency are also prime benefits for buyers. They can streamline supply sources and campaign workflows as well as receive regular reports on supply-side fees and auction dynamics, strengthening cross-industry relationships and supply chain transparency. At the same time, bringing their proprietary assets to market allows curators to access unique demand from buyers across platforms and generate new revenue streams.

Playground xyz’s use of Xandr’s Curate platform is just one example of the positive impact driven by such technology, which enables the data provider to seamlessly access premium supply and overlay its attention data on the fly, making it easier to scale quickly in new markets, while also increasing supply in existing markets like Australia.

Given the benefits for both buyers and sellers who are still navigating how to reach audiences across formats in a controlled and meaningful way, curation will play a transformative role for the entire industry in 2021 and continue to take centre stage as business strategies evolve to meet new consumer norms.

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Erica Blakslee

Senior Account Director, Xandr

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