The rewards for capturing a piece of programmatic ad spend are immense. Programmatic media buying is estimated to triple between 2015-2020 with demand-side platforms (DSPs) playing a huge role in how those budgets are spent. But the big rewards come with big challenges. Digital media buying is as complicated as ever involving a dizzying amount of technology providers.
This fragmented eco-system of technologies that include DSPs, Data Providers, DMPs and Ad Servers (to name a few) force marketers to try and leverage the strengths and weaknesses of each platform in order to reach their objectives. According to an August 2015 Forrester Research report, 53% of respondents said they used an average of four DSPs to execute their video campaigns. It’s hard to imagine how this is sustainable.
Enter a new term in the overloaded ad-tech lexicon, the Meta DSP. Imediaconnection defines a Meta DSP as “a trading platform that unifies the world’s leading DSPs through one single entry point, creating a holistic view of the media ecosystem. Meta-DSPs aggregate data from multiple technologies to provide clients with greater audience reach, scale, campaign insights and cost saving efficiencies.”
Meta DSPs provide a single interface to manage campaigns across DSPs. They rely heavily on propriety algorithms, which analyze the strengths of a particular DSP and determine where to purchase given impressions for a particular campaign. Havas Media, Group M and Infectious Media have all developed Meta DSPs.
Smarter Ad Buying
Meta-DSPs analyze the different features, data capabilities and inventory of the various DSPs. Based on campaign KPIs, they figure out which DSP should be used to purchase a specific impression. For example, a campaign with shorter durations would benefit from DSPs with faster learning algorithms, and a Meta DSP would allocate budget to those DSPs.
All DSPs are not created equal
Each DSP has it’s own mix of global publishers, exchanges and data providers. Meta DSPs benefit from being able to access more inventory and provide more reach than a single DSP.
Brands looking to expand globally will need DSPs to have specific integrations with global supply sources like AdChina and other international publishers that have a major presence in their local countries and/or regions.
Using multiple DSPs creates massive workflow nightmares. Managing pixels, creatives, budgets, and optimizing require endless hours of manual work and processes. The Meta DSP automates these processes, freeing up marketers.
Higher Technology Costs
Meta DSPs add another layer of technology between the advertiser and the media. This layer adds additional costs and expertise to manage. The majority of Meta DSPs charge clients both a managed fee and a commission to use the technology.
Conflicts with DSPs’ own optimization logic
Many DSPs have their own highly sophisticated bidding algorithms. These algorithms look at historic clear prices; win rates and other factors to provide the best possible outcomes. In some cases, a DSPs embedded optimization logic can conflict with the Meta DSPs algorithms, distorting campaign results and budgets.
Managing Reach and Frequency
Each DSP uniquely identifies its users in order to manage frequency and reach. DSPs already have a tough time identifying the same user across multiple exchanges and devices. Managing reach and frequency across multiple DSPs is an exponentially greater challenge.
We are in the early days of Meta DSPs and we aren’t yet clear if they are quite the solution for all marketers. But what is clear is that marketers are looking for a single platform to consolidate media buying. According to Forrester, 85% of marketers believe there is value in using a single tech stack versus a series of point solutions for their media buying efforts. At Centro we are building media-buying platforms that improve workflow, streamline communication and provide unified reporting across channels.