Christine Kim is the VP of Client Learning and Enablement at Basis Technologies, and has been developing our certification programs since 2015. In 2021, Basis Certified was awarded Best Education Program by AdExchanger.

The Great Resignation has not spared the advertising industry. According to a new Advertiser Perceptions report, one-third of advertising professionals plan to leave their current positions within the next two years.

The same study found that most advertising professionals use an average of nine platforms for a typical ad campaign, and touch seven of those platforms on an average day.

The combination of these two statistics highlights one of the biggest challenges raised by the Great Resignation. Brands and agencies aren’t just losing employees—they’re losing highly skilled employees, who take a wide variety of technical qualifications with them when they go.

The top challenge when a team loses members is training new employees. So while it’s tempting to deprioritize employee education, companies would do well to set up robust training programs, now more than ever.

Below, I have dug into Basis Technologies’ approach to education. While I typically leverage these tips for educating Basis clients and the industry as a whole, they're just as important for internal training!

Don’t Be a One-Hit Wonder

In other words, don’t put together an education program and then forget about it. Engaging learners beyond the basics can be a struggle, but don’t let that deter you from creating a multi-level program that will cater to the entire learning process. After all, learning is a journey—not a destination!

Diversify Content Presentation

We’ve all been there: There’s nothing worse than sitting through an intensive training that consists of one person talking for several hours. According to a 2019 Forrester report, one training program saw completion rates increase by 50% when they broke materials from longer courses down into small modules.

Put the Learner First

The same Forrester report states that while there is a correlation between education and revenue, this is not the place to put revenue first. Think about what would benefit the learner, and the money will follow. 

Harness the Power of Competition and Gamification

Who doesn’t want to win? At Basis Technologies, we like to throw in random trivia games or play a round of jeopardy to showcase how much people have learned.

Establish Key Performance Indicators

Allow yourself different KPIs for different phases of your education programming. For example, when first launching an on-demand course, the KPI can be registration numbers. Once your programs begin to mature, begin shifting KPIs to number of courses completed or overall time spent. When all else fails, it’s always a good idea to include a survey to receive feedback in real-time. After all, the people using your program will be best-situated to share what’s working and what’s not.

Here at Basis Technologies, we cater to different levels of education as well as exclusive content for our customers through our Certified programs. Interested in learning more? Check it out!

External circumstances impact the way we show up to our jobs. It’s important for workplaces to recognize this and support their employees’ mental health and wellbeing, so they can show up as the best version of themselves.

My mental health has always been a priority of mine, and one of the main reasons I came to Basis Technologies almost 7 years ago. I saw that it was an organization that encouraged self-improvement. Here are some of the ways Basis supports my mental health and wellbeing:

Above all things, Basis has a culture that transcends the workplace. Basis has proven that it’s not just about who I am from the hours of 9am-5pm, but that everything I learn in the office can be applied to my life too and vice versa!

Learn more about Basis Technologies' culture here.

Ask a Basis Expert is a blog series from Basis where we break down the complicated tools, tech, and trends you’ve been hearing about in the trade pubs and around the office. We reach out to some of our in-house experts to ask the tough questions and turn them into bite-sized Q&As for your reading pleasure. The last time you heard from us, we explored Connected TV. This month’s topic: Private marketplaces (PMPs). We talked to Christine Kim, Basis' VP of Client Learning & Enablement, for the breakdown.

What is a private marketplace?

Private marketplaces (PMPs) are customized, invitation-only RTB marketplaces where premium publishers make their inventory and audiences available to a select group of buyers. Usually, a negotiation takes place between the buyer and seller to create and agree on a private deal.

This is different from an open marketplace, which is unreserved inventory with no or low rates – which allows a larger pool of users to access inventory.

How does a PMP programmatic negotiation work?

During this process, a Deal ID is provided by the publisher and given to the buyer – and it can be used to set up their PMP in a DSP. Deal IDs act as a key to the private marketplace. When a deal ID is negotiated, both parties are agreeing on two things: Approved access and a set of buying parameters like floor price and inventory type.

So there is no auction with a private marketplace?

While private marketplace transactions are still subject to an auction, the competition is limited to buyers who have been invited to partake in the auction.

What’s the difference between preferred deals and private marketplaces?

Preferred deals are a specific type of private marketplace that use fixed rates and include prioritization in the ad server (first-look). We’ve got a great analogy on our blog that might help clear this up even more. 

Are private exchanges and private marketplaces the same thing?

Private marketplaces and private exchanges can frequently be confused – likely because they both have the word “private” in them – but they’re two different concepts. We actually have another great analogy for this, too. Check it out!

Why would a buyer use PMPs instead of the open marketplace?

Using a PMP is a strategic decision. Sometimes it will make sense to add a PMP, and other times it won’t. That being said, here are a few reasons:

1. You’ve already run a campaign and know which sites perform the best, so you can try expanding into your same target and test a PMP.
2. You have high-impact units or video where inventory is not as available in the open marketplace
3. The goal of the campaign is viewability
4. The advertiser is blocked in the open marketplace (like pharma or gambling)
5. You or the advertiser need to know where their ads are running at all times
6. There is a specific package you need from a publisher

When would you use a direct buy instead of a PMP?

The use cases for a direct buy vs. a PMP are very different. If you’re looking for a guaranteed buy or want 100% share of voice on the homepage, go with direct buy. Instances where you’d go with a PMP buy would be similar to the list above. Another reason to go with a PMP instead of programmatic direct? You're not looking for guaranteed inventory, but something slightly better than what's available on the open marketplace.

What’s the reason behind the growth of PMPs?

It’s important to first understand the history of PMPs before we explore the reasons behind their growth. After the digital industry embraced automated buying and RTB, it became apparent that programmatic was not without its faults. Advertisers found themselves worried about things like brand safety, viewability, inventory quality, data capabilities, and transparency. In order to alleviate those concerns, publishers began to offer premium inventory and page placements, high-impact ad units, and the usage of first-party data through PMPs.

The open marketplace and programmatic advertising has gotten a lot of bad press lately. Having more control over inventory and being in brand-safe environments has become increasingly important, and advertisers are responding by starting to shift to PMPs with even more frequency. In fact, according to Digiday, ESPN is reportedly spending 95% of their programmatic buys through PMPs.

If PMPs are considered brand-safe environments, does a PMP replace my need for brand protection and a blocklist?

Blocklists protect against purchasing specific domains, but oftentimes the point of running on a PMP is that you typically already know where your ad is running and don’t need to protect against that. So, while you don’t necessarily need to use a blocklist, it’s also true that buying premium content does not always mean protection against the unique and specific brand safety concerns of each advertiser.

If you need to use a large block list with your deal, consider looking for a different deal or creating your own. But if you’re only looking to avoid a few domains, then layering in a small blocklist is OK. Brand safety contextual segments can be considered as well.

What’s next for PMPs?

Today, the most common form of digital media buying is a hybrid of programmatic and direct. PMPs have the potential to bridge that gap by taking the best of both worlds and giving advertisers and buyers what they want and need from a buy.

We can expect to see continued growth in PMPs – especially as technology makes it easier to implement them. According to the AMA, there’s been more growth in particular with Connected TV PMPs and mobile PMPs in the last six quarters.

Of course, header bidding has the potential to change all this – but we’ll have to stay tuned.

Reach out to for more resources that will help you understand private marketplaces.


For a media buyer, the digital work doesn't end once a campaign is up and running. The launch is just the beginning, and if you adopt a “set it and forget it" approach, even the best strategies and tactics can translate to wasted money or missed opportunities.

Staying on top of optimizations is crucial to campaign performance, but for many buyers, it can be a struggle. Optimization, at its most basic definition, means to make something as good as possible. But in programmatic it means utilizing data to identify and modify campaigns towards the highest possible performance.

Campaign optimization should be top of mind every time you set up and launch digital campaigns. So, we've rounded up five things to consider before launching your next one:

  1. Define a single KPI. Set clear and specific goals for every campaign you create. For example, if the campaign objective is to drive conversions, then optimize the campaign toward conversions and not the lowest eCPM. The KPI will tell you which metric you need to optimize against.
  2. Identify what can be modified upfront. Depending on the situation and advertiser, certain campaigns may be more restrictive than others. This impacts the amount or frequency of changes you can make. In general, these changes can be categorized into three main buckets:
    • Scope: Changes to geo target, devices, exchanges, ads,
      day and time
    • Audiences: Changes to first or third-party audiences, as
      well as frequency caps
    • Price: Changes
      to CPM bid of the whole campaign or a sub target within it
  3. Don't make too many changes at once and record all the changes you do make. Avoid adding a new exchange, creative, or increasing the bid of your campaign all in one day. Why? If you make too many changes at once, you won't know which optimization made the difference. Have you ever tried so many new hair products at once that you can't figure out which product is making your hair look so fabulous? Bet you didn't think programmatic could be compared to hair products. But, it leads me to my next point …
  4. Measure the impact of every change. Before making an optimization, think about the short-term impact. Do you expect CTR to go up 0.02% by removing an ad? Do you expect overall campaign performance to increase if you remove a placement or domain? Having a measurable and timed goal for each optimization will help you determine if you're making the right decisions for campaigns.
  5. Accrue enough data to make educated and statistically-sound decisions. How can you determine how much data is enough data? That's tricky, because it depends on budgets and flights. A general rule of thumb is 10,000 impressions per tactic. However, this may not be a realistic benchmark if you have a smaller budget. In those cases, we recommend aligning the impression value to the monthly tactical budget. For example, using 1,000 impressions per tactic as a benchmark for a $1,000/month per-tactic campaign.

Post-launch, always revisit live campaigns to apply one – or all – of the above tactics. And keep in mind that as digital media evolves, so too do the tech, tools, and solutions that are available to us. Meaning technology today can sometimes do most of the optimization heavy lifting – for example, algorithmic optimization.

For more information on DSP technology or on Basis, visit our website, reach out to your Centro representative, or email

Coming in October, we'll be launching Algorithmic Optimization, an efficiency tool that makes automated bid adjustments to the best performing placements of your campaigns. The feature streamlines inventory analysis and fine-tuning to generate better outcomes, allowing you to focus more on business objectives.

We created this feature with media buyers in mind, to save valuable hours in their day. Every 12 hours, campaign goals are analyzed, budgets are better distributed, and placements are optimized toward relevant KPIs.

The initial feedback from a buyer test-driving Basis' Algorithmic Optimization feature was: “I have a campaign that requires a $10 video CPM to run on only one video exchange. The client also wanted a completion rate between 65%-70%. No matter how frequent or aggressive my manual optimizations were, I couldn't get above a 62% completion rate. Once I added the new optimization feature, the completion rate grew higher and higher every day. The campaign ends in a couple of days and is currently at a 75% completion rate!"

Need some more reasons why the Algorithmic Optimization tool will benefit you?

Register for our upcoming September webinar to learn how to make Algorithmic Optimization work for you and to get a sneak peek at some other upcoming Basis features.

Centro Academy, an educational program where digital media buyers are trained in DSP buying foundations and advanced programmatic strategies, welcomed its second group of buyers to our Chicago HQ this month.

The May graduating class consisted of programmatic buyers at media companies and agencies from across North America. During the two-day immersive program, attendees were trained on a variety of DSP tools and techniques such as:

As we told you back in March, students are encouraged to participate in interactive group work, ask questions, and get to know their fellow students. At the end of each day, students take a test to apply what they learned and become Centro Certified.

It's a unique experience, but don't just take my word for it. Hear from a Centro Academy graduate! Patrick McGovern, President and Chief Strategy Officer at, talks about his experience:

“Although the content ranged from fundamentals to advanced principles, it was always engaging. Each of the Centro experts brought their subject matter to life with metaphors, examples, and just plain enthusiasm.

The whole program was well choreographed; and every segment was thought-provoking and informative. The trainees in attendance also brought a lot of digital savvy to the table. In fact, a big part of learning for me was the workshop sessions.

During the group work, teams of four would come up with solutions to campaign scenarios that were put together by the Centro staff. Many of the solutions were smart; and there was so much to be learned just from the experience and skills of our fellow participants."

Want to know more about what Patrick learned at Centro Certified? Head to brandigital’s website, where Patrick wrote about everything that happened over those two days in the Windy City.

Missed the training event? We have another one coming up in August. Reach out to your Centro representative for more details!

What's the deal with fake news anyway? It's become the latest hot topic – especially in the online media industry.

Fake news goes beyond the tabloids you see in line at the grocery store or the funny articles you read in The Onion. It is defined as deliberately published hoaxes, propaganda, and misinformation, masquerading as real news – and often social media is utilized to drive web traffic to amplify the effect for financial or political gain. This spread of false information has presented real problems across several industries in the online ecosystem.

So, as an advertiser, how can you avoid your ads being placed near fake news stories or on websites that carry fake news and perpetuate the cycle?

This all comes back to the idea of brand safety. As we discussed on our blog in March, brand safety is relative to the brand in question. What one company considers brand safe may not be considered brand safe for another company. Whether you are an advertiser, an agency, or a company that handles their own advertising, it's important to establish what you determine to be brand safe and what you do not.

While fake news may seem like it's all over the internet, there are ways to combat it through digital media technology and Centro DSP specifically. We are committed to ensuring your standards of brand safety are met, through a multitude of ways:

Allowed list capabilities: Handpick and target sites and apps that contain approved content. This is recommended for advertisers who have run previous campaigns and have an understanding of which sites and apps work best for them.

Block list capabilities: Select specific sites that you know may not be brand safe or contain a prominent amount of fake news, and choose not to run your campaigns on those sites.

Third-party technology partnerships: Centro DSP partners such as DoubleVerify can scan pages to make sure advertising runs on appropriate content. DoubleVerify specifically has a brand protection segment called “Inflammatory Politics & News (Fake News)."

For more information on DSP technology or on Centro DSP, visit our website or email

In order to understand campaign performance, make recommendations for future investment opportunities, and better optimize for success, it's important to craft a compelling campaign story that tells you what metrics you should be hitting.

One way to develop a story is to set up conversion tracking pixels. To get a better sense of where you should set up conversion tracking pixels, follow these three steps:

  1. Look at the website
  2. Determine what the path to purchase could be
  3. Recommend and implement a smart strategy

Following the steps above can often mean you're recommending more than one pixel to get a better understanding of the customer's journey on the website. But tracking all of those conversions can get confusing, and that's why we developed a feature in Centro DSP that lets you label the most important conversion when you are setting up your campaigns.

It's called Primary Conversions, and it will be released later this month. It will allow you to set one of the conversion pixels as your primary conversion. Once you do so, you'll be able to see additional stats related to that pixel in six different UI grids of Centro DSP – group, campaign, sites, ads, exchange reporting, hourly reporting, and daily reporting.

Setting a conversion pixel as the primary pixel is easy: simply check the 'enable primary conversions' box, and then select the pixel you want to make the primary.

For media buyers working on multiple campaigns with multiple conversion pixels, this will provide a streamlined view of your most important conversions events. Additionally, this allows for faster optimizations, because you can quickly see in Centro DSP which conversions pixels you want to optimize your campaign to.

For more information on DSP technology or on Centro DSP, visit our website or email

Remember that distinct feeling of accomplishment when you were taking tests in school, and you not only passed the test but aced it? This week, Centro Academy brought that feeling back to the students at our Centro Certified DSP training event. Luckily, all of them aced it!

The programmatic advertising era has challenged all of us in the industry to strengthen our sense of curiosity, ask more questions, and learn new skills. This is exactly why Centro launched Centro Academy. It's an educational program where programmatic advertising buyers come to our Chicago headquarters and become #CentroCertified in two different tracks:

  1. DSP Buying Foundations
  2. Advanced Programmatic Advertising Strategies

During this month's immersive 2-day program, buyers were trained on a variety of DSP tools and techniques such as:

And they learned all of this in an intimate, classroom setting. Because, at Centro Academy, we know that two brains are better than one, and you learn just as much from each other as you do from the sessions. We encourage interactive group work, questions, and getting to know your fellow students. And then, after each day, students are required to take a test to apply what they learned to become #CentroCertified.

So, what were some of our most-talked-about topics and conversations for the March 2017 graduating class? Here's a sneak peek, but you'll have to come to our next training event to learn even more!

Missed the training event? We have another one coming up next month. Reach out to your Centro representative for more details!