As programmatic advertising continues to mature, advertisers have the choice of buying media for mobile app marketing through a few different channels. The three main channels include open exchanges, private marketplaces (PMPs), and private exchanges. Each channel has its own benefits but the main differences amongst the three are the number of publishers, transparency, and control. Advertisers should choose a media-buying channel depending on the campaign objectives.
In an open exchange, most publishers can openly offer their media inventory to advertisers through real-time bidding (RTB) auctions. As a result, advertisers have access to inventory across multiple publishers with billions of impressions daily. Some of the leading open exchanges in today’s ecosystem include Google’s DoubleClick AdX, BrightRoll, LiveRail, MoPub, Nexage, and The Rubicon Project. Advertisers that are looking to widen the reach of their campaigns can benefit from the extensive list of publishers in the open exchanges. However, advertisers often times may not have extensive information about the publishers.
Unlike open exchanges, a private marketplace (PMP) is an invite-only marketplace where high caliber publishers offer their media inventory to selected advertisers. Instead of conducting RTB auctions, a PMP deal provides selected advertisers with first-look and priority access to inventory before it becomes available in the open exchanges. When a PMP deal is in place, advertisers have access to premium inventory and gets increased transparency into media placement. Hence, advertisers have a very clear idea of what kind of inventory they are buying and at what price. However, this inventory comes at a premium cost, so advertisers must determine whether the high-quality media placements are worth the investment.
On the other hand, private exchange is run by a single, typically well-known, publisher. The publisher decides which advertisers can bid on their media on pre-negotiated pricing and terms. This type of environment is more controlled and advertisers have more extensive information about the publisher than in an open environment. However, the environment gives publishers control and allows full transparency of advertisers. In return, advertisers can get access to premium inventory and high-value ad placement in a major app.
The choices between the three channels boil down to the campaign objectives. If needed, advertisers can also choose to leverage multiple channels for media buying. However, before making a decision, advertisers should consider how each channel can be beneficial to their specific campaign objectives and what are the risks associated with each channel.