There are many ways advertisers can buy ad inventory: publishers, self-service platforms like Facebook, ad networks, ad exchanges, and demand-side platforms. Until now, many agencies preferred buying from ad networks, but there are advantages to buying directly from ad exchanges, and many industry observers believe these exchanges will eventually dominate the future. At first I was unsure if advertisers saw value in ad exchanges, but based on many detailed conversations, it became evident that they do. Here are seven advantages to using ad exchanges:
No more chasing network sales reps
When buying, agencies call several sales reps and ask for proposals. The media buyers often have to chase sales reps to submit their proposals quickly. This is frustrating for them. They don’t enjoy all the emails, calls, and presentations. With an ad exchange, the buying process is online, quick, and easy. The agencies log in and do it all without depending on sales reps, meetings, calls, or emails.
Comparing media from different proposals is difficult
When the ad agency gets the proposals back from the ad network sales reps, they are submitted in different formats and show different data per site. However, agencies need to create a media plan in a single format for the entire buy. Creating this from disparate data sets is a pain. An exchange makes this much easier with data for every site in one format. So it is much easier for an agency to compare and quickly choose what it wants.
Exchanges offer complete transparency
Agencies find it tough to get a clear picture of where their ads will run. Often they don’t trust what the ad networks tell them. Agencies, therefore, like exchanges because they are more transparent. They can choose to buy from only brand-safe sites, which cost more, or add some lower-cost sites to reduce the average price.
Exchanges offer more control
Ad network sales reps do a lot of work for agencies, such as finding sites to advertise on, comparing prices, and researching availability. Curiously, it turns out that agencies actually want to do these things themselves because they want control. Exchanges are a great way for advertisers to have control and easily do all these things themselves in no time at all.
Ads go live faster on exchanges
Agencies say that clients give them approval and then want their ads to be live instantly. Since exchanges are based on technology and not people manually controlling ads, buys go live instantly. Agencies love that.
Exchanges allow the buyer to optimize
Agencies want to see data per site. They want to choose the sites they retain and optimize. Most ad networks do not provide detailed or real-time reporting, but ad exchanges do. They allow data-savvy media buyers to optimize campaigns and improve their buys.
Agencies like real-time data. They want to see what is happening now. The huge technology platforms of exchanges allow this.
After engaging in many conversations, it’s clear that ad exchanges can offer true value to advertisers and ad agencies. This list of seven advantages is only the beginning. Ad exchanges can enable advertisers to have more control, more transparency, and the ability to buy targeted ad placements at the click of a button. There is no doubt in my mind that exchange systems will soon be used by all top-tier agencies.