Programmatic Video #WotW: What Is A Private Marketplace?

Programmatic video is the fastest-growing category of programmatic buying, but a lot of marketers are still struggling to get to grips with the basics.

A recent study by the Association of National Advertisers and Forrester found that only 23% of marketers said they understood programmatic and were using it to execute their campaigns. This is despite the fact that more than half of US publishers reported selling their premium video ad inventory programmatically in August 2014 (Adap.tv), while mega-brands like American Express and P&G vowed to shift the majority of their ad spend to programmatic by the end of 2014.

There’s clearly a knowledge gap between the programmatic front lines and everyday marketers, making 2015 a key year for programmatic education. As with any burgeoning new trend, one of the main causes of confusion is vocabulary.

Any discussion of the topic produces a web of jargon and acronyms that’s enough to send anyone running to Google. But fear not, this is easily solved.

Each week we’ll be serving up handy guides to the most important programmatic video terms, courtesy of Unruly co-founder and CTO, Matthew Cooke. Last week looked at what a Floor Price is. This week, Matthew explains what a private marketplace is. Stick around and see how quickly you can master the art of programmatic.

What is a private marketplace?

A private marketplace is the name for an auction where the seller only allows certain pre-agreed bidders to participate. It’s sometimes referred to as a “private auction” or “private exchange”, and is different to an “open auction”, where any interested buyer is allowed to place bids.

Many major ad exchanges and supply side platforms sell inventory via RTB-supported private marketplaces. Although the term “private exchange” makes it sound like the exchange is itself private, it’s generally the case that the platforms will support both open and private auctions. In some cases, inventory might be available to select buyers initially through a private auction, but if impressions are left unsold it will then go to an open auction.

Private marketplaces are of interest to the sell side (e.g. publishers) because they can control which buyers get access to their premium inventory and can avoid channel conflict with their direct sales team.

They are of interest to media buyers as it gives them access to publishers who are not generally available programmatically. They can also get preferred access prior to the impressions going to open auction.