Launching BuyAds Platform With Industry-First Programmatic Direct Sales
isocket exists to make it easier for advertisers and publishers to do business directly with each other.
Today is a big step towards solving those problems. We’re building the world’s first true platform for true premium inventory with a major new addition to our service: programmatic direct sales via our BuyAds.com API.
- For publishers, this is the first time you can expose your Class 1 inventory directly into the buying tools advertisers are already using, like DSPs and media planners. That means more orders.
- For advertisers, within your existing tools you can search for transparent listings of premium publishers and their best inventory – and then click to place an executable order. That means better campaigns with much less hassle.
Psst… some quick definitions: “Class 1″ inventory is the premium ad space bought and sold directly. Advertiser and publisher agree on a specific deal, they shake hands, the campaign is guaranteed to run, etc. It’s the highest priority campaign that can run on a website. “Class 2″ is whatever leftover inventory isn’t sold directly, which is then put out in the open remnant markets (like ad networks and RTB.)
We believe any new product should have a clear reason for existing. But the ad tech industry is in love with complexity for complexity’s sake… so if you’ll indulge me on the wordiness, here’s why isocket is doing this:
Today’s Real Time Bidding is only a piece of the programmatic future.
There has been a ton of progress made in the biddable layer of ad inventory over the last few years. And as a team that’s genuinely passionate about seeing a world where buying and selling ads is easier we’ve always been thrilled about the rise of programmatic buying for remnant inventory (Real Time Bidding).
Heck, our newest teammate even spent the last few years helping build the largest RTB market behind Google. But there’s still more work to be done.
RTB and private exchanges were designed to efficiently sell remnant inventory by letting different systems talk to each other through APIs. They do a good job at that and will continue to grow market share.
Common limitations include the fact the inventory available in RTB is by definition remnant (often the bottom of the ad server barrel), there are no guarantees around campaign spend, it’s too difficult to pick the URLs an ad will show up on (or even find out where they ran after the fact), publishers feel channel conflict and lack of control, and so on.
Private exchanges haven’t shown to be the answer in many ways either. Kurt Unkel, SVP at VivaKi Nerve Center said last month that “private exchanges create operational inefficiencies on our side, almost as messy as buying on the direct side.” Others point out that the inventory available in private exchanges is a subset of what was already available in RTB, namely Class 2 inventory, now with a higher price tag.
“We want to do direct buys, but without the manual hassle.”
Consequently, brand advertisers have typically only moved audience targeting and retargeting budgets into RTB, and good publishers have only made Class 2 inventory available in RTB and private exchanges. The vast majority of digital display spend occurs directly between publishers and advertisers / their agencies.
Over the last year isocket started hearing from advertisers and demand side tools with a growing but clear message: “This RTB thing has been great. But there’s a whole other world we want to tackle next. Let’s improve the premium side… we want to do programmatic Class 1. We want better inventory. We want to pick the websites we run on. We want guaranteed campaigns.”
Early platform partner Rob Leathern, CEO of the DSP XA.net, has seen how direct buys and RTB can work together:
“There’s a real need for the BuyAds platform. More advertisers are asking for specific site placements and premium brand campaigns; transparency and certainty is important for our clients. Bringing programmatic Class 1 inventory into the mix can make the RTB buys better, and vice versa.”
“As a premium publisher, you are best suited to represent your own inventory.” – ESPN.com
We agree. But there is a severe lack of tools and infrastructure for publishers to represent themselves, and for advertisers to find and work directly with those publishers. In other words – there’s been a lot of infrastructure and piping laid in the remnant world, but little to none in the premium world.
isocket is changing that. The timing is right, the technology is mature enough, and most importantly the people are ready (well, most of them…)
Today we’re publically planting our flag and sharing the first info about the piping we’ve been laying the last few months.
How we’re doing it
We believe there are fundamental differences between direct premium deals and remnant ones – differences significant enough that we purpose-built our system for Class 1 inventory from the ground up.
We believe in:
- Simplicity wherever possible. Ad tech doesn’t have to equal overly complicated and ugly. Reject old notions and solve the problems that matter.
- Humans cannot be replaced in direct sales and media planning. Relationships, context, and creativity matters. Direct sales won’t be replaced by robots. But the logistics can improve with the right technology.
- Publisher specific inventory. It does matter what websites a premium ad runs on. You won’t find blind, obfuscated or oddly-labeled bundles here.
- All inventory is created, priced, and controlled by the publisher. This is a prerequisite to offering truly Class 1 inventory.
- Guaranteed campaigns. Advertisers and publishers both value the certainty of getting exactly what they agreed on.
- Advertisers pick exactly what they want. Both sides pick exactly what they want, and aren’t forced to take anything else.
- Complete publisher control. Publishers control what orders they accept from whom, what creatives run on their sites, etc. Part of direct sales is curating who you do business with, and that doesn’t change here.
- Display can be great for branding and more branding budgets will flow online as the friction of direct guaranteed deals become easier.
Everything should work together. Picture a network of piping connecting all the great demand platforms with all the great inventory sources and all the tools that help execute campaigns (ad servers, creative, etc.)
Just this week two ad tech giants on the advertiser side, Donovan and MediaBank, announced a merger into a new company called MediaOcean. Their mission is to “create an operating system through which any advertising agency can access any advertising technology, and orchestrate across all technologies globally.”
We agree and are working hard to help reach that world. This new platform is a part of that infrastructure, because a system like MediaOcean requires piping into 3rd parties in order to find and buy inventory.
The platform and APIs
The word “platform” gets misused a lot, but we’re actually building one – some simple but powerful APIs that give anyone the ability to interact with the BuyAds.com infrastructure.
For example, selected partners can:
- Search our hand-curated “catalog” of premium publishers.
- Search 3rd party, non-isocket publishers (great for marketers.)
- See what inventory is available at what prices, creatives, etc.
- Place direct orders programmatically.
- Complete the life cycle of an order, from approval through payment and metrics.
This is complemented on the supply side through our industry leading isocket.com platform – notably our awesome partnership with Google’s DoubleClick for Publishers ad server.
The end result? Piping that directly connects advertiser software with publisher ad servers.
Who should partner?
Any tool that helps marketers plan, manage, or execute campaigns can use this platform.
isocket is already working with major Demand Side Platforms and RFP management tools to bring Class 1 inventory within their client’s reach. As those partners announce their integrations we’ll highlight them on our blog.
“I’ve spent 16 years on both sides of the digital media ecosystem, and one thing is clear: publishers and agencies need to embrace the capabilities that isocket is bringing to the landscape.”
“A single platform creating seamless access to premium media is inevitable. These developments are not intended to replace the direct relationship between buyer and seller, but to strengthen them by removing the overly complex logistics associated with the direct purchase of premium guaranteed buys, allowing buyers and sellers to focus on their core competencies – publishers creating great content, agencies developing ingenious marketing strategies with their clients. It’s a win-win for the entire ecosystem.”
Our early partners not only include traditional Demand Side Platforms and RFP management / media planning tools, but other great services like the recently launched startup MixRank. MixRank gives marketers intelligence about what websites their competitors are successfully running ads on. With the BuyAds.com platform, MixRank can turn that intelligent grocery list into an actionable media plan – click a button, and it’s done.
“Display advertising has been continuously getting more transparent the past few years, and isocket is at the forefront of this trend. We’re very excited about the BuyAds partnership. By combining our data intelligence with the media buying capabilities of the BuyAds platform , it’s now easier than ever for advertisers to execute successful display campaigns.” – Ilya Lichtenstein, Founder
Interested in working with us?
All isocket publishers are automatically included in this platform. If you’d like to join, please apply on www.isocket.com.
If you’d like to partner and use our API, we love to hear new ideas or explore how we can help. Send us a note at hello (at) isocket com!