When we launched an exchange for video advertising in 2007, we found ourselves having a tough time convincing buyers to access the marketplace via self-serve tools to buy inventory in a non-guaranteed manner. So we tweaked our pitch to the buy-side community (agencies) by selling the same inventory on a guaranteed basis. In essence, we sold the inventory in our exchange-based marketplace like an ad network, even though it was nothing more than a group of SpotXchange client service managers who held seats on the exchange bidding on behalf of the advertisers. And nothing changed with our publishers who since the beginning have used SpotXchange as a platform to auction off unsold inventory. What did change was our sales took off....exponentially!!
The lesson: sometimes it isn't what you're selling but rather how you talk about what you are selling that makes all the difference in the world.
Here we are many years later and SpotXchange is now rolling out new tools allowing publishers to set up invite-only marketplaces with the hundreds of buyers that are already plugged into the SpotXchange platform. In other words, we're empowering pubs to set up and manage their own private marketplaces. Publishers have the option to operate true exchanges selling their unsold inventory to the highest bidder, and/or sell their inventory on a guaranteed basis at a specific CPM. Either way, our private marketplace tools allow both buyers and sellers to take advantage of all the automation and efficiencies that programmatic has to offer. But at the end of the day, it's nothing more than what publishers are already doing today - selling inventory at the highest possible rate. And sales, marketing, high quality inventory and audiences are just as important as ever. But the more mundane and arduous tasks are automated through programmatic buying and access to demand is commoditized and thus maximized.
So the next time you hear us talking about private marketplaces, give us a break and don't let any common misconceptions about private marketplaces get in the way. We’re working every day on better ways to explain our new services.