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Paving the way: New Routes to Buyers, Built on Sell-side Tech

Ashley Wheeler, SVP, DV+ Publisher Revenue at Magnite

November 21, 2022 | 5 min read

In this series so far we’ve discussed The Trade Desk’s OpenPath, how the supply side will define the future of ads built on publisher first party data, and how to get ready for more direct paths as SPO efforts focus on optimization and strategic collaborations. In this final piece we look at how the supply-side’s future is already beginning to play out as higher demand for first party data impacts new and existing routes to buyers, such as retail media networks, and what that means for publishers.

Direct routes to audiences

Driven by changes in audience addressability, increasing privacy regulations, and the demand for premium inventory in brand safe environments, buyers are increasingly looking for more transparent and direct routes to audiences. In response, the supply side has embraced innovations around data categorization, audience segmentation, PETs (privacy enhancing technologies) and clean rooms, and new ways of activating audiences in scaled and data-safe ways to meet buyer needs. In an example of how these innovations and first party data have been harnessed by the supply side, vertical-specific media networks (such as in retail) have risen quickly.

Marketplaces built on the supply-side

In the past 2 years vertical-specific media networks have taken off in retail with the likes of Kroger, Best Buy, and Walmart; in travel with Marriott; and delivery apps such as Drizly, Instacart and DoorDash among others. The main driver behind the growth of these media networks – other than the pandemic-fuelled ecommerce boost – is their access to unique first party data sets at a time when such information is becoming more valuable in the face of the deprecation of third party cookies and mobile identifiers.

Like publishers, media networks have strong relationships with their audiences enabling them to collect valuable first party data that can be used when selling inventory both on and off site, across channels. For example, Kroger recently began working with Magnite to support The Kroger Co.’s retail media advertising business, Kroger Precision Marketing (KPM), to package its first party data with premium omnichannel inventory. This collaboration is driven by the fact that SSPs are well positioned to provide interoperability across multiple demand sources, channels, and offer different activation options including the use of buyer and/or seller audience data, SDAs, contextual offerings, or curated audiences.

What this means for publishers

Publishers need to look at how they can deliver valuable audiences efficiently in transparent environments, ensuring they have the right integrations to provide a clear pathway for buyers to continue accessing their inventory.

Provide flexible activation options

Publishers should seek out supply-side platforms that can provide the tools and controls to categorize, curate and activate their first party audience data. 

Seller-defined audiences (SDAs), for instance, provide the sell-side with standardized, exchange-curated audience taxonomies that publishers can expose to buyers in the open market while ensuring that the data itself is fully protected.

Magnite has also developed a method for the creation of seller-specific, buyer-directed segments – ‘Magnite Curated Audiences’ – that can then be federated across participating publishers, in the open or private marketplace. By standardizing classification of page data into contextual segments and users into interest segments Magnite Curated Segments will allow buyers to buy highly-targeted, standardized segments across inventory from multiple publishers.

The combination of SDAs and Magnite Curated Audiences can provide both buyers and sellers with a variety of standardized targeting options that can be leveraged across multiple deal types and campaign objectives, to target audiences in a scaled and data-safe way.

Test and collaborate in privacy-preserving environments

There are some circumstances where buyers and sellers may want to bring their own data without exposing it to other parties. Clean rooms and privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) provide a data-safe solution for these transactions that are embedded into existing sell-side platforms. Exchange-managed PETs can provide buyers and sellers with seamless activation against their own first-party data sets, while ensuring that data is protected and performance is measurable.

Remain demand-agnostic

In order to continue attracting budgets, publishers should ensure that the paths their buyers choose to buy inventory through remain open and easy to navigate with access to their unique audiences. Exchanges can seamlessly help publishers build and make these audiences available through all demand pipes including direct relationships, agencies, and DSPs.

Magnite does this by standardizing the curation of those audiences and providing buyers and sellers with the tools to transact against those segments in controlled and protected ways. As well as standardization, this also refers to machine learning tools that automate categorization of signals and audience building.  These segments are made available to buyers via Auction Packages, traditional deals and syncing our DMP inside of DSPs.

Paving the way to success

While retail media networks attract users through their rich shopping data proposition, publishers attract users through their content proposition – both propositions create valuable first party data. Sell-side platforms like Magnite that sit at the intersection of supply and demand can help activate and maximize the value of that data through the tools to activate audiences.

Working closely with publishers, distributors and media owners across channels, we are paving the way for more effective routes to buyers built on the high quality data and tech to ensure everyone wins: more monetization opportunities for publishers, more successful campaigns for buyers, and better user experiences for the consumers.

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