Mktmedia increases digital advertising revenue with real-time bidding strategy

By Fredrik Strauss

Mktmedia is a joint business venture owned by six Swedish newspaper media groups, mostly newspapers with digital versions.

The media group’s main digital revenues today are from local advertisers. We believe that programmatic advertising has arrived and will continue to grow slowly, since it’s both a technology shift and a matter of how agencies and buyers are working today (read: manually).

Real-time bidding requires new skills and processes internally from buyers, which may take two to three years. In 10 years or so, I think we are all going to ask ourselves, “Why did we do so much manually before?” RTB saves time for both buyers and sellers.

2014 was the year we started to act as both sellers and buyers on the RTB market. It was a year of good learning — and good revenues!

Where we act as sellers

All unsold impressions are sold via our internal ad exchange, AdaptADX, with the aim of increasing digital revenues without cannibalising existing premium revenues.

During the last 12 months, volumes have gone from 3,000 to 36,000 advertisers. Most advertisers worldwide, of course, read “incremental revenues.” Today, about 50% of AdaptADX income is from RTB buyers, compared with 20% 12 months ago.

In 2014, the main areas in which we worked to increase RTB receipts were:

  • Internal training and communication: This is about working with the threshold prices for advertisers at a placement level to maximise revenues from the advertiser, but also to protect the premium sales teams client relations. 

  • Tagging: Most DSP (demand-side platforms) are becoming better at purchasing-screen views. We have differentiated tagging depending on location — both to increase the willingness to pay, but also to unlock certain investments to only be available for purchase through a preferred deal/private auction. This is where we agree with the buyer on a fixed price and sometimes a desired volume that forms the basis for the price.

  • Actively work to approve/reject advertisers: Today we have dedicated staff that work into the morning, lunch, and evening to ensure only approved advertisers may purchase our inventory via RTB.

  • Assist sales team with leads: RTB buyers are a good list for the sales force to process. This signals the advertisers after having filtered out foreign re-targeting advertisers.

Where we act as buyers

This part of RTB is based on our traditional sales and relationship to the local market. Where our media houses was more or less dominate the party, now that has dramatically changed. Our media house stands only for a few percentage points of the local digital media consumption.

Therefore we need to buy into other (quality) inventory — but only if the visitors are local. Thanks to our internal DSP, we can deliver local campaigns with high reach and scale.

Another important aspect is that we actually become more credible and relevant when we dare propose the client a mix of both our own and external media. Our local vendors have had relationships for many years. Thanks to RTB, we can increase our local and more relevant business to our local advertisers.

In our DSP, we choose only those external sites that, from the advertisers eyes, have the same core value and credibility as ourselves.

For 2015 we have several challenges involving RTB:

  • Minimise data leakage, which can be an issue in RTB because we have to give the data in the request to the DSP, which can then just store the cookie and re-target. Instead, we are offering our DMP (Big Data platform) data segments available via our private market place (PMP), where we can negotiate directly with the buyer. Here we also apply fixed prices and, soon, guaranteed volumes. If we leak our data via other channels, like ad nets, then no one wants (or needs) to do PMP deals with us. In the future, premium sales will be equal with PMP deals. 

  • Sell our data segments. Thanks to our Big Data platform, 2014 was the year to invest in a Big Data platform to sell our data packages via private deals.

  • Internal communication and understanding of how the RTB transaction affects the sales teams.

About Fredrik Strauss

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