Media Buying Doesn't Just Need 'Faster', It needs 'Better'

For over a decade now we have heard the din of complaints from buyers and sellers of advertising about the complexity of media buying and lack of tools for streamlining the process. While RTB has been a great advance for the advertising markets, RTB was built from the ground up as an automated process for remnant inventory. Meanwhile, none of the traditional methods of buying guaranteed media have changed. And yes, there are folks out there working to create exchanges for out-of-home and digital radio, but those exchanges are built on the one-sided auction models designed for selling remnant real-time inventory.

So, what's with the title "Media Buying Doesn't Just Need 'Faster', It needs 'Better'"? Well, while the manual process for buying future inventory worked well in the analog world, simply automating the process is not the solution needed in the future. This would be like Henry Ford working to breed the fastest horses instead of building the Model T. This is a classic case of trying to solve a 21st century problem with 20th century technology. Here's the thing, the automation of the overall workflow has had some great tool sets built, but media buying/selling is a small part of the workflow that has had very few technological innovations. In all honesty, prior to our current age of ubiquitous data, the traditional Insertion order was the perfect solution. The shift from paper to Excel spreadsheets was typical in a life cycle of technological evolution, as a tool that enabled fewer people to do the same work. That was the first wave of internet innovation. We are now at a time and place where the macro innovation cycle focuses on leveraging data and ever-increasing computational power to make smarter decisions.

Smarter decisions in media buying require an ability to measure price, value, and the difference in price and value between differing inventories. With audiences fragmented across devices, media platforms, publishers, and contexts, the ability to effectively measure the aforementioned resides only in the realm of machines. That is what the DSP has proven for real-time inventory. But what about future inventory? What is needed is a platform that allows for the easy measurement of price by all market participants and a standard for describing the inventory in a machine enabled environment. What is needed is an exchange, not a marketplace. There is a big difference. The RTB exchanges are the facilities that DSPs use to determine both price and value. So, for future inventory, we first need an exchange.

So how does one make the process both better and faster for buyers? Bring together a best-in-class workflow solution on the buy-side, the sell-side, and an exchange for future inventory. That is why we partnered with the great team at Facilitate Digital. Together, our integration enables buyers to buy inventory through an exchange and via traditional methods within one system. Better still, on the same media plan. For RTB, there was never an established process so technologists created one from scratch. For future inventory, the processes exist and are very well established across all media.

Imagine creative optimization, media mix modeling, attribution, and performance all measured in real-time and fed into a bidding engine. The bidding engine decides what price to pay, the ideal time to buy, and makes rational economic buying decisions based on proprietary analytics and market data. We believe that all of the powerful tools that have been developed in the RTB environment provide services that forward inventory buyers also need.

In practical terms, that mean a new technological ecosystem, not RTB, but ETMF - Exchange Traded Media Futures.