PMPs on the Rise as Ad Spend Grows to One Third of Programmatic Budgets

Private marketplaces (PMPs) have been a hot topic among advertisers and publishers for some time now. PMPs have been on the rise since 2011 and just last year, eMarketer reported that ad spending on PMPs in the United States hit $3.7 billion, up from $80 million in 2014.

In Canada, over a third (35%) of programmatic spend goes to private markets compared to the U.S which tops out at 9%. Canada’s penchant for PMPs may, in part, be due to the nation’s late adoption of programmatic. But there are good reasons for why Canadian advertisers’ prefer PMPs.

More Control

In comparison to public marketplaces, where the floor is open to everyone and there is little or no contact between buyer and seller, private marketplaces enable direct and ongoing relations.

Not only do PMPs function on an invite-only basis, they also allow advertisers to customize deals to fit their needs by pre-setting targeting parameters, floor rates, and content, and more. Buyers are also given the opportunity of first-hand access on premium inventory that isn’t available in public exchanges.

When asked about the benefits of PMPs, Sunil Abraham, CEO of ClearPier and former performance marketer commented, “Publishers also benefit from increased control over deals.” He added, “This is because understanding levels of demand also helps them reallocate inventory across their demand streams including PMPs, open marketplaces, programmatic direct and direct.”

The result? Publishers can get more out of their entire ad inventory.

More Insight

Transacting on PMPs allows for a relationship focused approach compared to an overly technology dependent strategy when it comes to programmatic.

Having direct relationships with publishers means advertisers can target audiences more precisely by activating first-party publisher data. In the landscape beyond Facebook, advertisers must rely on publishers for accurate, high-quality audience data to drive successful campaigns.

Getting regular access to reliable data and leveraging that data enables advertisers transacting in PMPs to optimize their targeting on-the-fly across all parameters from demographic, to geo-location, to audience behaviour, to device usage and more.

More Creativity

Media buyers sometimes take issue with the limiting effects programmatic can have on creativity. Big brands and agencies are particularly frustrated by this issue which can be a challenge in open markets. After all, they want to be able to deliver the least intrusive and best user experience across all streams and ad formats to maximize engagement.

Another benefit of transacting in PMPs is premium high-quality data can be leveraged to continuously optimize and perfect creative campaigns without sacrificing targeting accuracy. The ability to do custom executions including full page takeovers, custom content, and custom stand-alone units tailored across devices, is a premium advertisers are willing to pay. As mobile ad spend continues to balloon while the need for better mobile user experiences climb, brands are looking for more creative ways to reach audiences on mobile. Thus, the customization capability of PMPs is a critical way advantage.

More Brand Safety


The key differentiator and benefit of private marketplaces however lies in the confidence with which both buyers and sellers can enter into deals. Transparency drives success and maintains direct relationship in PMPs.

In PMPs, advertisers always know where and when an ad is going to be served and the context in which it will be displayed. This ensures that your ad only shares screen time with contextually safe, appropriate and relevant content – a benefit to both buyers and sellers that prioritize their brand image.

Working with premium, vetted site-lists with quality audiences is a huge advantageous for advertisers as well as this is the first level of security against ad fraud. When PMPs or third-parties are able to layer on additional anti-fraud security measures like Integral Ad Science and GeoEdge.

Premium Continues to Grow in Canada

The stats indicate that buying media in premium environments like PMPs is growing in Canada. For both advertisers and publishers, there is also the added benefit of pricing transparency.

Some have pointed out that PMPs pose a scalability issue. But many advertisers are opting to partner with third-parties with expansive premium site-lists and the technology to scale up.

“In private marketplaces there is more accountability on the participating parties,” Abraham commented. Abraham added, “For too long, advertisers and publishers have been dealing with the same issues: ad fraud, inaccurate data, and unfair pricing. Premium buying environments benefits buyers and sellers by ensuring the ad ecosystem is fair so you can buy and sell with confidence.”

The move to PMPs is the next big shift in the ad ecosystem as spend rises. As mobile and video channels continue to drive growth, we can bet that a premium-first approach will firmly dominate the Canadian advertising landscape.

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