Food Advertising

Private Ad Exchange Update

Gourmet Ads Marketplace our Private Ad Exchange

Private Ad Exchange Business Continues to Grow

We launched the Gourmet Ads Marketplace (our Private Ad Exchange) back in early November and at the time RTB, DSP, SSP were all buzzwords for us as we embarked on this project. There was of course the fear of cannibalizing our premium revenue. With this specifically in mind, the plan from outset, was for me, as the Managing Director to be the project manager of the Private Ad Exchange business. I also from a personal level wanted to learn as much as I could about the RTB space.

It’s been really interesting journey so far for me and the team are learning more and more each day about working with Agency Trading Desks, DSP and Retargeters.

We’re now at the 4 month mark, so I thought I’d share a few points about my learnings so far about running a private ad exchange business.

So here are my thoughts;

Buyers are not competing with Premium Display Campaigns

Our initial concern which we shared with others was that by starting a private exchange we would be cannibalizing our premium display business. Well, I’m happy to say it just hasn’t happened. Both our premium and private exchange businesses are booming. RFPs and Insert Orders are up on the premium side and we’ve got some great partners in the exchange buying every day. We find on a while that the private exchange buyers are indeed very different from typical agency media buyers. Most campaigns in the exchange have wide brand reach requirement (we were never going to be RFP’d for the campaigns anyway as they are mostly non endemic) or they have a strong DR focus or finally they are simply retargeting using data. For all of these buyers, private ad exchange buying favours their own business models better than your typical fixed IO buying for the most part. Effectively they can dip in and test inventory pools very quickly, then stop if the campaign is not working or increase if conversations or engagement rates are positive.

11 partners Private Ad Exchange Buyers

We’ve got some absolutely great partners already.  The general makeup of the exchange is as such ;

  • Agency Trading Desks
  • Major DSPs
  • Company Direct / Brand Advertisers
  • Retargeters

We are actively seeking a few more partners right now as we are expanding the inventory available and growing the users.

Limited Food Buyers in RTB
We’ve noticed that across the board the largest exchange buyers on the exchange are non endemic food brands. There are of course a handful of food brands buying, most of which are major international food brands. Where we have noticed food brands buying we’ve reached out to suggest ways we can offer them more inventory or provide them a custom solution. To date we’ve not yet seen any supermarkets buying on RTB. However the majority of buyers are running campaigns aimed at women for lifestyle, travel, automotive, telecommunications, government (federal and state) or retail brands.

Buyers and their buying volumes vary daily
Trying to predict who will buy and how much they will buy each day has been really difficult. A senior manager at another Vertical Ad Network ( ie like Gourmet Ads ) told me last year that he felt the hardest part of running a private ad exchange was managing demand from buyers. This has been the greatest learning curve for our team. For now we seem to have this managed the daily buying flow well. Right now seasonality does plan a large role.

Interest outside of the USA
It was always our intention of growing the private ad exchange outside of the USA. However we didn’t really imagine that demand would be all that strong out of the USA. We were wrong. As such we’ve slowly started to open up the Gourmet Ads Marketplace to Australian, UK and Canadian buyers, with a few other countries not too far behind… Australia seems to be the most active right now for us, but watch this space as I think Europe will become very strong next quarter from conversations I’ve had recently.

Technical hurdles
Initially we had some hiccups getting started, but like with most things in the digital ad space, these are now sorted out. That said most buyers now are able to get going in less than 48 hours. We do sometimes have issues when our buyers are not buying us through our SSP directly but we can usually find an integration partner or 3rd Party DSP that can make the connection work.

70% + of buyers are using data
When talking to our partners, the majority of them are using some sort of data when buying which is around what we had forecasted. They are either using simple demographic (age and gender) targeting or they are doing heavy up targeting using first party data or third party data. I think this is the greatest fundamental difference between the IO side of the business and the RTB side of the business. Buyers can use First Party Data or Third Party Data easily and in a protected environment buying the audience they actually want, opposed to the entire audience.

Start a Conversation about our Private Ad Exchange

Finally, if you’d like to have a conversation about becoming a buyer or becoming involved with the Gourmet Ads Marketplace, then please contact me through our Contact Page and let’s start a conversation.


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