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March 29, 2017
Centro has updated its platform so media planners can manage direct-sold campaigns and programmatic ones in one place.
The company combined its DSP SiteScout, acquired in 2013, with its workflow automation software for I/O-based buys. It was part of a three-year, $25 million platform update that began after the SiteScout purchase.
“When we reset our vision, we knew that programmatic was going to be the heart and soul of the platform,” said Centro CEO Shawn Riegsecker. Last year, Centro processed $400 million in digital spend through the platform. With growth from the platform update, Centro plans on $500 million this year.
Centro’s updated platform handles RFP and media planners’ communications, so they no longer have to send spreadsheets to each other and their publisher partners.
Centro also integrates with the ad server for campaign management, can handle billing and aims to make it easier for clients to implement private marketplaces. Agencies can choose from 1,000 private marketplaces Centro already set up, as well as connections to data exchanges.
The mid-sized media agency Norbella brought on Centro a few months ago.
“We want to make sure we are minimizing data entry and grunt work, because that will make for happier employees,” said Norbella media director Bob Deininger.
‘The biggest challenge in digital is retaining people.”
Plus, Norbella’s clients judge the agency on how well it can come up with great media ideas, optimize and execute campaigns efficiently. Norbella says it can allocate its two dozen staffers more efficiently with the software in place.
Getting Centro to work requires the network effect. If a publisher that Norbella buys from doesn’t use Centro, then Norbella won’t be able to connect through the platform.
Fortunately, because 4,000 vendors use Centro, most of Norbella’s partners already know how to transact through the platform – which was not the case when it beta tested a competitive platform a few years ago.
The main value of Centro’s platform is efficiency, as Norbella attests, but it also brings together data from disparate places, allowing for business intelligence functions, Riegsecker said.
While Mediaocean has dominated the agency holding company market with its financial management software, Centro does more, Riegsecker said. Its functionality spans not just financial reconciliation, but contract and order management, vendor relationships, analytics and ad server integration.
“We will expand the definition of programmatic to mean automation across digital operational work done as a buyer as an agency,” Riegsecker said.