Deal ID is essential to the Programmatic Buying Ecosystem
Over the past twelve to eighteen months we’ve all seen the rapid growth in programmatic advertising, not just in the USA, but across the globe. A recent Parks Associated report suggests that real-time bidding now accounts for 12 percent of total digital display advertising with many industry analysts suggesting this will most likely increase at least three-fold over the next few years. I’m one of those people that have embraced RTB in a big way. However I’m concerned that we’re not going to see growth in real time buying happen if companies involved in RTB don’t close the technical disconnect and start working together to make Deal ID a reality across the entire exchange ecosystem.
In practice – or conceptually – Deal ID is a unique identifier that encompasses all elements of a per-negotiated exchange-based transaction or deal for a single brand. It could be for a specific short-term campaign or long term with attributes such as ad placements, website, price and impressions, all included under a single parameter which is passed as part of the bidding process. Although some exchanges have implemented some sort of broad Deal ID settings, as an industry we’re really not there yet.
Why is Deal ID so important to the exchange ecosystem? We all know that brands are eager to create private exchange marketplaces with publishers because they know they can find their target audience on content they deem as quality and relevant. Direct Response-focused brands, especially those targeting users who are on the fringe of converting, will continue to transact using only data and buying at scale to reach them. However much earlier in the sales funnel, contextual relevance is an essential place to start for the majority of brand advertisers. We’ve all heard the saying “Content is King,” and it makes sense. Think about it: an automotive brand wants to be next to a car review, an airline wants to be next to an article about a destination and retailers want to be next to product reviews, etc. So it makes sense for brands to be able to use something like Deal ID to create ongoing buying relationships with publishers that make sense to them.
If a stock exchange didn’t have a universal method for buying stocks, the market would be in chaos, which is where I think we are today in the exchange ecosystem. Sounds extreme, I know, but speaking from my personal experience, both brands and publishers find negotiating the commercial terms of a transaction far easier than actually trafficking the advertising for it. I’ve been on countless conference calls with all the parties involved to try and make it work. Then when it doesn’t, we have to try to find alternative workarounds – a waste of labor for everyone involved. I thought real-time bidding was supposed to make our lives easier, not harder. It should be as simple as both parties negotiating terms and trafficking with Deal ID.
Deal ID needs to be standard across Exchanges, DSPs and SSPs
It’s a two-way street and Deal ID should be considered the traffic cop. Publishers want brands to buy their inventory and have the power over how they sell it. There needs to be a universal standard for Deal ID across demand-side platforms, sell-side platforms and, of course, ad exchanges. All the tech players in the ecosystem need to stop creating their own nuances of Deal ID and come together and work this out, and quickly to make it easier. There is no doubt that if they do adhere to a common standard, they’ll all benefit from the millions in increased spending flowing through their platforms on a daily basis.
I fear if the industry doesn’t get organized and unite, we’re not going to see the growth in real time buying analysts are forecasting, thus Deal ID will become another buzz term with no real meaning.