The Next Phase Has Arrived: A Vision for a Better Programmatic Media Supply Ecosystem

May 22, 2017 — by Jacob Ross    

Ten years ago, MediaMath was one of the first companies to introduce programmatic marketing as a framework for buying and selling remnant display inventory. At that point, the promise of machine-learning optimized programmatic media buying was apparent, but there was neither enough media nor data available for advertisers to fully realize the promise of programmatic marketing.

To address this supply constraint, MediaMath focused on building products that would open enough access to supply to feed the rapidly growing demand. We built relationships with an enormous ecosystem of publishers and exchanges to bring as much inventory into our platform as possible. We made a complex set of tools available for sophisticated clients to build on top of the platform, and manage their own private supply relationships. These were the right tools at the right time that helped marketers and their agencies to find their target customers wherever they needed to, at scale (and of course, pay the right price, with the right message, at the right time!).

This strategy has paid off. This year, programmatic marketing is approaching 50 percent of the total of non-search digital spend, and is well on its way to becoming the dominant framework through which buyers — including the largest brands and agencies in the world — will execute the entirety of their digital media budgets.

However, as programmatic has driven real change in how we think about marketing, and the world’s population spends ever more time online, it’s time for the solutions available to the market to dramatically mature.  Others have followed suit to connect all the players in the ecosystem together, and it’s created a tangled and overly-complex supply chain, with some deep-rooted problems that need to be addressed urgently.  Issues like unfair auctions, opaque pricing strategies, wasted spend, fraud, brand safety concerns, and the persistent isolation of a few large media properties are holding advertisers back from moving their marketing dollars and attention fully and confidently into programmatic.  It’s time to take a step forward.

Our Vision

I would like to share the MediaMath vision of a sustainable supply model that will benefit advertisers, agencies, publishers as well as consumers. It is based around three principles that raise the bar for all of the supply that clients can access through our platform:

  • Automated: RTB got the industry started with automation but all supply that our clients access should optimize to reach their best audiences without having to develop private deals with myriad partners, or do one-off integrations with different buying rules.
  • Addressable: Marketers need one point to access their entire customer base, in every media environment, ad format and device, in order to optimize their omnichannel campaigns and provide a unified experience.
  • Accountable: Advertisers deserve fair auction pricing, the guarantee of brand safety and fraud elimination, and a standardized and transparent policy for which these factors are to be measured and adjusted. Consumers deserve a guarantee that their privacy and safety will be respected in accordance with the law, regulations and industry norms to maintain and strengthen the trust between them and marketers.

We are moving aggressively to bring this vision to the market and are executing against these two primary strategies:

  • We will partner only with companies in the industry that provide value. We are going to cut out intermediaries that do not add value, so that we can bring the highest value audiences directly to advertisers in the most efficient way possible without compromising the safety of their brand or consumer privacy. This involves breaking down walled gardens, holding our partners accountable, and making the highest consumer safety standards our only standard.
  • We will advance a product suite that emphasizes quality. Every user of MediaMath’s platform will have quality media as a standard, and will have the ability to access premium media with privilege to reach their most valuable consumers with the push of a button. Our tools provide flexibility for advertisers to customize their supply to match their specific needs.

We are confident our clients and partners will see the fruits of this approach already: we are founding partners for Technology Consortium, to make people-based marketing widely available within programmatic channels using a standard identity framework.  We are one of the first to begin supporting the IAB Tech Lab’s emerging ADS.txt initiative to fight domain spoofing and “counterfeit” supply.  We recently launched the Curated Market, our premium supply offering that provides advertisers with one-click access to super-premium publishers, along with their best audiences.  As part of that, our brand safety guarantee ensures advertisers will only pay for brand-safe, secure, legitimate and human impressions on every channel.

Additionally, in the coming months we’ll announce the next steps we’ll be taking to level the walled garden playing field, further enhancing our ability to bring marketers omnichannel access to their best customers.

MediaMath’s mission has always been to transform advertising through technology, to drive more effective outcomes for our advertisers. As we move into the next phase of this mission, we invite you to join us, and be part of the next phase of this industry’s evolution.