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SSPs leave the past behind as a push comes to shove in adtech

SSPs leave the past behind as a push comes to shove in adtech

The competition in ad tech is increasing, especially among supply-side platforms. This creates a need for differentiation or just “stickiness” in certain cases.

OpenPath was unveiled by The Trade Desk last year, as well as GroupM’s Premium Marketplace — widely regarded to be the culmination years of SPO efforts by industry media agencies.

These moves are similar in that they both involve the instigators “leapfrogging” their traditional trading partners.

While each publically maintains that such interventions are complementary to historical market dynamics — The Trade Desk asserts OpenPath as a necessary evolution in order to maintain functional market dynamics — others consider them disruptive in echoes to the disintermediation debates of yesteryear.

If you are curating inventory, you are just an SSP. You must be curating audiences.

Lulu Phongmany is an ad tech consultant

Ari Paparo, an ad tech commentator, described OpenPath developments as a potential cause for disintermediation of traditional SSPs when he spoke to Digiday on Marketecture Podcast. Paparo said that this is not necessarily a bad thing. However, the space needs to evolve and fall apart.

The recent closure of the Yahoo SSP and the EMX Digital fireout are both indicative of the current Darwinistic hues in the sell-side sector of ad tech.

Index Exchange, Magnite and PubMatic are also repositioning in this area to avoid a similar fate. The two latter have been exploring the possibility of making use of recent acquisitions to improve their offerings to the sell-side and buy-side of the market.

Digiday was informed by multiple sources that Magnite was looking at bypassing DSPs and establishing direct relationships with media agencies.

According to a source who was privy to the development, one source said that media agencies expressed a desire to “forge deeper and more dynamic relationships with a smaller number of strategic partners.”

Magnite, with its 2021 purchase CTV ad server company Springserve in 2021, is uniquely positioned to make such an important move. This allows media agencies to connect directly via server-side advertising insertion to Magnite.

Matt Barash, Index Exchange’s svp Americas and global publishing, said that SSPs have been in direct relationships with media agencies since years. However, he stated that his company would not attempt to “play both” as it continues its shift away from the “broker-dealer” model.

“We believe it is crucial for us to concentrate on publishers, and while creating a service for buyers, [are] He said that we would continue to keep our focus on the sale-side.

“We will continue changing with the market as holding firms evolve and look for media across different formats away form the open marketplace and into more controlled environments.”

PubMatic proposes an ‘Access Membership’ fee to publishers

Digiday was informed by sell-side sources that PubMatic is currently exploring the possibility of an Access Membership program for publishers, where they would pay a monthly fee. One could compare this development to a SaaS offering, similar to Sovrn’s recently bundled Ad Management and Exchange proposition.

Digiday declined PubMatic’s request for comment on reports about its mooted Access Program, but sources indicated that members would be granted greater access to buyers’ demand from outside the open exchange.

Participating publishers would, for example, be included in private marketplaces that PubMatic facilitates. This is in contrast to its traditional revenue share proposition, where the SSP takes a portion of the gross bidding and the publisher gets the net fee.

Some believe this is a natural evolution in the market as PMPs require more service than open exchanges. Sources have indicated that PubMatic’s purchase in Martin was reflected in the possibility of launching a membership program. The SSP’s buy-side customers required additional SPO capabilities. This 2022 deal was reportedly worth $45 Million.

Rajeev Goel, PubMatic CEO, stated in a press release that the deal would “solidify[our position]as the platform choice for buyers and in turn bring greater advertising revenues to our global publisher base.”

“The opposite of commoditization”

Ratko Vidakovic, the founder of consultancy service AdProfs, said that many of the industry’s top independent SSPs are positioning themselves in ways that achieve “stickiness,” and not necessarily differentiation.

He said, “That seems to be the market in the SSP market. It’s the opposite side of commoditization.” “They are trying to make attractive offers to the buy-side, specifically to agencies, as it insulates these from disintermediation to a certain extent.”

Lulu Phongmany is an ad tech consultant who has extensive sell-side experience. She told Digiday that such developments are important because SSPs must move beyond their traditional role as supplying unique inventory.

“The curation part is easy, you should have the ability to do that with your platforms,” she stated. She also said that platforms (whether they are a “legacy DSP or a “legacy SSP”) must help curate inventory using first-party data, which has historically been a difficult task for such players.

She said, “If you don’t have that, then you’re not really bringing anything to this table.” “If you are curating inventory, you’re just an SP. You have to be curating audiences if your goal is to do anything for big brands.”


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