Programmatic Video #WotW: What Are First Look Deals?

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 we looked at what a Deal ID is. This week, Matthew explains what First Look deals are. Stick around and see how quickly you can master the art of programmatic.

What are First Look deals?

First Look is a type of special deal arranged between a buyer on the demand side and a seller on the supply side. It is offered by sellers who are willing to offer prioritized access to select advertisers.

Instead of the winning impression going to the highest bid, First Look affords first right of refusal for an impression within an ad exchange or SSP based on a pre-negotiated fixed price. If the buyer with first look bids, they are guaranteed to win the impression.

First Look can be useful on the demand side, as buyers such as trading desks can explain they have some kind of unique preference or negotiated preferred pricing with SSPs. Although not all programmatic buyers buy into this model, some view it as simply losing the efficiency of the RTB auction and not having the same level of appeal as access to premium inventory in a Private Marketplace.

You can read an interesting article here from an SSP talking about the disadvantages of First Look to the supply side and publishers.

And here is another article where someone get’s annoyed that people mix up the concept of First Look with the concept of a Private Marketplace.