Global Exchange Q&A: Future Director of Programmatic Gerson Barnett

This week we announced that Rubicon Project is powering Future’s global advertising exchange. This will include inventory from all of the media group’s major brands – such as Tech Radar, PC Gamer, and Total Film – which reach more than 50 million international consumers a month collectively online, on tablets and smartphones.

We caught up with Director of Programmatic Gerson Barnett to learn more about Future’s automated advertising strategy, its approach to data and reasons for launching a global exchange:

Can you give an overview of Future’s automated advertising strategy so far?

Future’s programmatic strategy is based on an open and agnostic approach, allowing clients and trading desks efficient access to our highly engaged user base. Our ad automation platform is central to that, allowing us to safely package our data with inventory, and enabling buyers to deliver in full on their KPIs.

Other key objectives of the strategy are…

  • To incrementally grow display inventory revenues with analytical inventory management that can increase eCPMs on ad impressions before they enter our open exchange
  • To add inventory value by building data insight that can enable audience targeting programmatically through private marketplaces
  • To integrate programmatic efficiencies where required into our digital direct sales strategy to enhance overall audience and inventory values.

Although the main focus will be aimed at private marketplaces (premium programmatic), as part of the strategy we will also devote time analysing insights gained from bidding on the open exchange, to ascertain new trading initiatives that can drive positive floor prices, better yields and higher fill rates across our global territories.

And how does Future view the benefits of automated advertising?

It’s a combination of efficiency, yield management, freeing up time for our direct sales team to sell more integrated cross-platform content solutions and delivering improved ROI against our overheads.

What were the main reasons for partnering with Rubicon Project?

We see private marketplaces (premium programmatic) as integral to our overall programmatic strategy. Creating private marketplace opportunities will allow us to incrementally grow eCPMs on inventory that isn’t sold by our direct sales team.

We see Rubicon Project’s private marketplace technology as sitting at the forefront of the market, and their presence is highly regarded by the buyer community. Their Orders platform is pioneering, hence our reasons to partner with them.

What are the main reasons and benefits of launching a global exchange?

The launch of our global exchange is about optimising ad revenues, regardless of audience location. In other words, it’s a question of surfacing our inventory to buyers across the world, and giving them easy access to it, through Rubicon Project’s platform.

Single buying points like Rubicon Project’s offer clear benefits for agencies, in particular greater efficiency and speed. Add in the fact that the platform is multi-channel, and that packages can also include an audience-based or 1st party data element, and it becomes even more compelling from the agency perspective.

What is the Future view on data, and where does this sit within your global exchange strategy?

Data will be vital to our programmatic strategy, one of our initiatives is to promote using our own highly valuable data within our programmatic offering, delivering even more efficient campaigns. In particular, we believe using our 1st and 3rd data is the lifeblood of effective programmatic audience targeting. And we are working with the trading desks to create bespoke packages that can allow them to target our audience using data segments built into our data management platform. We are also looking to offer data segments and that can bought “off the shelf” through Rubicon Project. The ultimate objective of using data is to add even greater value to our impressions and to deliver precision targeting to our advertisers.

What do you expect as the next steps in the development of advertising automation, both in the wider industry and for your own business?

Quite simply, when publishers allow their direct sales and programmatic sales to compete on a level playing ground.