Sep 19 2017
Pam McBride

Redefining the DSP Space


Technology has been changing the way we work and live for decades now, and the digital industry and digital media buying is not exempt from explosive technology evolutions.

You only have to go back to 1986, when ACT!, a contact and customer management company, introduced the first database marketing software to the business world. It was essentially a digital rolodex – except it stored large volumes of customer contact information. Even in the 80s, the power and inherent value of customer data for marketing and advertising purposes was evident.

Fast forward 30 years and where has that wealth of customer data gotten us? The prospect of customer analytics and insights colliding with ad tech and technology solutions – and the opportunities that would open up for programmatic.

Programmatic has come a long way in the last decade – evolving from direct response and remnant inventory to brand campaigns and the majority of premium online publishers offering programmatic services. The complexity warrants its own glossary. But programmatic, as it's defined today, isn't doing enough. Programmatic today means a top-ranked DSP that allows you to buy in an RTB, private marketplace, or private deal format.

That sounds great, right? Until you start to realize how many features and functions are missing in DSPs that don't allow for critical pieces of the business to run. If we really want to innovate, then what should the new DSP model be? What does the DSP of the future look like?

The terms “demand side platform" or “DSP" are often associated with outdated definitions of key capabilities and components. Traditionally, a DSP is defined as an automated buying perform where advertisers and agencies go to purchase digital ad inventory.

But DSPs need to evolve into intelligence and strategy tools that are both man and machine.

It isn't all about the machine. People are still the most important agency resource. In advertising, the skills required of people today are totally different from what they used to be, while the pressure from clients to deliver is skyrocketing.

But pairing technology and people will be the crux of advertising success in the future. When individuals can focus on taking insights and creating strategic, actionable marketing, it empowers them to make an impact on business outcomes

How can we empower them? It starts with the right technology.

The future DSP will take a performance-driven approach to digital. Imagine an advanced platform that unifies direct and digital media buying with a business ecosystem through a single entry point, creating a holistic view of the digital media business. Imagine automation across your entire digital media business, for all the significant pieces that matter most: workflow automation, vendor organization and relationship management, communication, RFP and negotiation storage and tracking, 1st and 3rd-party integration, robust analytics and reporting, and business intelligence for the entire organization -- all the way down to finance and media buying reconciliation.

With the sophistication of this type of technology, strategists and digital media employees no longer need to determine what to buy – but instead what strategy will get the best performing results for every media dollar.

Remember when mobile advertising arrived on the scene? Back then, there were mobile companies, mobile agencies, and mobile ad networks. Today, mobile equates to simply digital. The same will happen with programmatic. In the very near future, there will be no distinction between biddable, direct, search and social. There will not be a need for separate programmatic teams, or functions, or departments, or trading desks. If you're a digital media strategist or media buyer, you won't be working with another programmatic team. You'll be buying programmatic media – all media types, across all channels – through the same software as you're executing everything else.

Soon, programmatic will equate to simply digital.

And if you believe software can help you do more, accomplish more, create a better media industry, and produce the best results for your clients, this is the programmatic platform you should be pushing for.

This is programmatic for the future.

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