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Got Questions About 'Automated Guaranteed'? We've Got Answers

by Maria Pousa
September 24, 2014

Everyone agrees that "programmatic" is the buzzword of the year, especially within the premium, guaranteed space. But some question if its surge has truly made it a mainstay for both buyers and sellers, with a lasting value beyond just automation.

Based on our experience in working closely with global agencies and publishers, it is clear that the most significant barriers to adoption are entrenched processes and a lack of trust between the buyer and the seller. If we can change mindsets, then we can make automated guaranteed a reality.

Some publishers and agencies have already begun to look beyond these challenges to see how automated guaranteed can work for them now and in the future. In conjunction with the recent launch of Prisma Avails, Maria Pousa, senior VP-Global Marketing at Mediaocean, sat down with Manu Warikoo, senior VP-product, platforms at Mediaocean; James Deaker, VP-revenue management, privacy and policy at Yahoo; and Anush Prabhu, chief channel planning and investment officer at Deutsch New York; to discuss automated guaranteed.

Q: How is the relationship between buyers and sellers changing with automated guaranteed?

Anush: Time is money. With automated guaranteed, both buyers and sellers gain back precious time—planners that know exactly what inventory they need to purchase reduce the back-and-forth conversation, and the seller is relieved of spending tedious time confirming inventory. With automated guaranteed, both parties can now focus time on strategic conversations, devising innovative solutions, new testing opportunities and developing robust partnerships.

James: The rise of automated guaranteed buying is a huge step toward streamlining and simplifying the direct purchase of media from publishers. One of the biggest challenges has been the number of intermediaries, whether people or platforms, between the buyer and the seller. For every transition from person or tool, there's the opportunity for mistakes, information loss or delays in the process. The direct connection provided through programmatic guaranteed tools literally brings buyers and sellers closer together and reduces miscommunications, mistakes and other friction in the system. The result is better inventory utilization for publishers and better return on ad spend for the advertiser.

Manu: With less time spent on RFPs, invoices and other mechanics, automated guaranteed enables buyers and sellers to focus more energy on meeting the advertisers' goals. Additionally, many of the complexities of product comparison and price negotiations that lengthen the media buying cycle and can put strain on the buyer-seller relationship are lessened with automated guaranteed.

Q: With much of the tedious operations removed from the RFP process, how will your teams refocus their newfound free time?

Anush: Leveraging automated guaranteed inventory will ultimately help maximize our planners' time by allowing them to focus on more unique, custom programs and uncovering new innovative solutions for our clients. The more time they can focus on strategizing, optimizing and uncovering new opportunities, the better we can build stronger, more effective campaigns for our clients.

James: We spend a lot of time thinking strategically about coming up with new, creative and custom ad formats, and how we can update existing products to create more value for advertisers. One example is how we have started to serve many of our below-the-fold ad units only when the user scrolls down the page and the ad comes into the viewable frame rather than simply serving it when the page loads. In doing so, we've succeeded in making the ad unit more valuable to advertisers than ever before.

Q: How, if at all, will automated guaranteed impact the quality of premium inventory?

James: The power of automated guaranteed is that different signals, like viewability and context, can be passed from the buyer to the seller in a trusted relationship. The more information that is passed to the advertiser, the more valuable and more premium the inventory becomes. In that sense, the definition of premium will evolve to align more closely with the attributes that the buyers value.

Manu: Though the manual processes are decreased, the inventory itself is by no means commoditized -- the value is in fact increased. With automated guaranteed, the inventory management for the publisher includes unique IDs, allowing performance tracking like never before for agency clients. This historical performance makes campaign analysis more transparent, efficient and enhances the value of well-performing placements over time -- increasing the likelihood of repurchasing same inventory and strengthening the buyer/seller relationship.

Some industry analysts have noted automated guaranteed has been slow to fulfill its adoption potential, especially in comparison with its real-time bidding counterpart. It seems obvious that increasing adoption will have a positive ripple effect on ad operations for both the buy and sell sides, but also that publishers, agencies and ad tech providers share equal responsibility in changing the mindsets to adopt it. When they do, next steps will naturally evolve to correct even more digital workflow laggards, such as trafficking, creative and beyond.

Interested in hearing more? Register to join Mediaocean, Yahoo and AOL during Advertising Week at "Automated Guaranteed: Not the Usual Suspects" on Sept. 30, 2014, 10 a.m., at BB King's.

Via Ad Age