It is safe to say that 2016 became the post queries per second (QPS) era for Demand-Side Platforms (DSP) and cross-channel media buying solutions. Whether a DSP can drive visibility of 500,000 impressions/second or 3 million impressions/second, the availability for purchase became less of a competitive differentiator across all cross-channel media buying platforms.
Today, most brands assume that DSPs should automatically be integrated with all the main ad-exchanges while delivering cross-channel reach with at least 1 million QPS. At the same time, if a platform is lacking in ad-exchange integrations, companies will compensate by integrating BidSwitch and tapping into the missing supply.
So, when it comes to cross-device and cross-channel user targeting, what are some of the upcoming differentiators that DSPs are going to leverage in 2017? How much of an impact will large Fortune 1000 advertising brands have in reshaping new DSP functionalities?
What To Look For in 2017:
- First-Party Data
First-party data, machine learning, custom built bidders for programmatic display, proprietary algorithms, and improved integration with marketing technology stacks – such as IBM Unica and Adobe Neolane – do not even scratch the surface of potential developments for DSPs. These are just some of the themes that have the ability to become differentiators for AdTech companies.
Today, first-party data is one of the greatest assets any organization can own. More brands are starting to understand the value of first-party data through managing segments, look-a-like modeling, and pushing audience data to DSPs to drive real-time customer acquisitions or prospecting campaigns. However, managing it, leveraging it, and implementing it in real-time to drive cross-channel marketing is always a challenge.
Typically, most brands understand the importance of first-party data. This part and have been advancing through this space throughout the past few years. It also stands as proof of how crucial this is for Data Management Platforms (DMP), audience tools and data sources leveraged by most brands (2 to 3 per large retail brand).
In my opinion, the next step in the world of first-party data involves automation powered by machine learning and real-time optimization based on data feeds from multiple sources. DSPs that have strong in-house DMP and audience management capabilities will stand out more compared to those with a bidder-type solution. We will see big Fortune 1000 companies become more sophisticated at programmatic and start to adapt their DSPs with a proprietary machine learning tool that is adjusted to ingest a variety of first-party data.
- Capturing Data
Fortune 1000 brands are also starting to mature in the way they capture big data – implementing software like Hadoop and Kafka to acquire as much as possible. These Fortune 1000 brands are also considering leveraging this data in ways that help them better understand their customers, as well as improve their real-time “trigger” or event-driven cross-channel marketing. Many large brands are starting to see proprietary machine learning as a differentiator and potentially a substantial advantage.
Whether marketing automation or media buying, machine learning offers an abundance of possibilities. Unfortunately, there I still a high price tag and a significant amount of time required to get a project of this nature off the ground.
- Merging with DSPs
As AdTechs start merging more with DSPs, they typically find themselves in situations where they need to improve communicating their campaign data. Moreover, they will need to start synchronizing their audience reach information with solution ecosystems used by large fortune-class brands.
Additionally, we will probably see more UBX style API Gateways bridging large marketing cloud type platforms from the IBM, Adobe, and SAS size platforms with proprietary or 3rd party DSPs and audience data platforms. Based on this trend, there are probably more Adobe style acquisitions waiting to happen in 2017. Companies are going to go through acquisitions – like the Adobe purchase of DemDex and TubeMogul to add a DSP and a DMP to their toolbox.
So, what does this all mean?
It seems like another challenging year ahead for DSPs as QPS impression influence cross-device targeting, reporting, viewability and other functionality areas and they start becoming standard features. There are areas of AdTech where big brands will have a significant say on how the next wave of DSP functionality will shape. As a marketer, I am interested to see what’s next.
With millions of sellers and billions of products to compete with on marketplaces, it’s easy to get buried in data every day -- and still feel behind. And this is now true across almost all product verticals, as more and more niche categories become intense competitive battlegrounds.