Oct 15 2014
Basis Technologies

Digital Display Advertising: Ad Exchanges & Ad Networks, Building a Well Balanced Approach - Part 2 of 3


Building a digital media campaign today is increasingly complex. With so many digital advertising buying methods and an abundance of inventory, deciding how to effectively reach potential consumers requires agility, data, and a whole lot of expertise.

The first post in this series focused on the pros and cons of site-direct. But, if you’re looking for a more middle-tier approach to digital, private exchanges and private marketplaces are a good option. For campaigns hinging on factors such as scale, targeting, creative flexibility, data, even price — private exchanges offer a sound and moderate approach.

Part Two: Private Exchanges and Marketplaces

A private exchange is an exclusive real-time marketplace where suppliers to sell/reserve valuable ad impressions to carefully vetted buyers. This method offers access to a massive amount of quality, brand-safe inventory. When managed by a team of industry experts, exchanges and networks can round out your digital plan, delivering quality results and a healthy ROI.

The Pros and Cons of Ad Exchanges and Networks


  • Offer more scale, premium sites, specialized targeting methods, and greater efficiencies
  • Best used to reach audiences on specific sites, apps, and in unique locations
  • Specialize in mobile, location-based targeting, digital place-based media or private marketplaces with heavily vetted inventory integrations and/or high impact takeovers at scale


  • Cannot guarantee delivery at the placement level
  • Tend to offer less transparency than working site-direct

Chances are when researching ad exchanges and networks, you’ll quickly learn there is a level of concern associated with brand safety as well as the quality of inventory. In the large, open marketplace of exchanges and networks, how can you really tell the good from the bad? If brand safety and quality of content are top concerns, your best bet is to work with a private ad exchange.

Private exchanges offer premium, pre-negotiated inventory not available within the open market. But be warned, all private exchanges are not created equal. Look for an exchange that’s been vetted by a third party, such as Trust Metrics, who measures publisher quality and effectiveness.

3 things to look for in a Private Exchange

  • What publishers are participating in private exchanges?
  • What is the quality of the publisher’s content?
  • What measures are in place to ensure brand safety?

CBX: What it is and why it’s good for you

The Centro Brand Exchange (CBX) is a highly brand-safe, cross-platform, private, exchange that addresses the need for cost-effective scale. Brand Exchange is the largest premium local supply source with a 95% ideal rating on Trust Metrics. With publisher relationships spanning more than 13 years and 100 trillion impressions, we receive “first look” at secondary inventory. CPMs range between $4 and $6. For driving engagement and KPIs, such as CPC, these partners tend to perform extremely well. The Brand Exchange is an excellent partner for advertisers wanting to run against the safest content on the web.

As you dig deeper into the benefits and challenges associated with each buying method, the balance between complexity and opportunity can become precarious. This is where the right digital media partner becomes critical to your success.

Visit centro.net for more about our services and capabilities. And be sure to check back for the last part of our Display Advertising Buying Series: Demand-Side Platforms, fueling the success of your plan.