Ad exchange operator PulsePoint is trying to find a middle ground between private exchanges, which often require more scale than smaller publishers can manage, and real-time bidding (RTB) platforms, which tend to attract more performance marketers than brand campaigns. In its quest, PulsePoint began its partnership late last year with demand-side platform (DSP) MediaMath to offer narrow audience segments that can be combined with contextual targeting for what PulsePoint is calling its Custom Programmatic Solution (CPS).
"[This partnership is the] natural evolution of what we've been doing for the past two years," said PulsePoint CEO Sloan Gaon. "Programmatic advertising has won the battle when it comes to performance advertisers. This year, it's about winning the battle for brand advertisers. And that's where what we're aiming at."
In Gaon's view, private marketplaces, with the ability to set clear parameters around publishers' prices and available inventory positions, are not practical for smaller and mid-size publishers, since they don't have the requisite audience size to make such a tool viable. Its CPS operates like a Deal ID, a unique identifier for each ad deal that describes the concrete, previously agreed-upon rules for the media buy.
In a sense, the new offering reflects PulsePoint's beginnings from the merger of Datran Media and ContextWeb in Sept. 2011, bringing together the disparate disciplines of content distribution, contextual targeting and data management. The CPS is designed to leverage the roughly 4 billion impressions processed daily by PulsePoint's platform. The solution also takes PulsePoint’s audience data and content targeting system and funnels it through MediaMath's Deal Discovery app, which gives advertisers and agencies priority access to additional sell-side data.
"With PulsePoint CPS, advertisers can build custom profiles from impressions that target specific audience segments beyond first- and third-party cookie pools, reaching them across all devices," said Scott Portugal, PulsePoint's SVP of programmatic and strategic alliances. He pointed out that currently, most targeting within programmatic media has centered on the cookie, which Portugal contended is an ineffective vehicle for achieving audience scale.
"Buying media, especially contextual media, is like eating a seven-course meal in seven different restaurants,” Portugal explained. “You do a little bit in one place, then a little more in another and another. What we're able to do is bring the efficiency of programmatic media, planning, buying, optimizing, executing into the intersection of contextual, engagement data points through one platform."
Greg Williams, co-founder, SVP of MediaMath's OPEN Partnerships, said the packaging and buying of such "hyper-customized audience segments" is rarely done at this scale.
"Through the partnership with PulsePoint and their CPS suite, we are able to pass even more actionable data to our customers," Williams said. "With access to richer audience data insights, they are able to more effectively and efficiently connect with the right consumers. Programmatic is the future of digital marketing, and this offering – currently exclusively powered by MediaMath's Deal Discovery app – improves workflow around private marketplaces and will undoubtedly strengthen investment in programmatic."