Last week, more than 40 partners from DSPs, brands and the publishing side joined OpenX in beautiful La Jolla, California for the annual OpenX Demand Summit. Over the course of 3 days attendees came together to break bread, play golf, participate in all sorts of activities and most importantly collaborate on moving the industry toward a stronger, more transparent future.
The overarching objective: eliminate the habitual, and often unproductive, pattern of action and reaction between each side of the advertising ecosystem — supply and demand — and begin interacting with each other to create end-to-end value.
We’ve seen it time and time again, from quality to auction mechanics to header bidding each side acts and reacts to moves being taken by the other. As joint operators of the technical and business backbone of the programmatic market, we should instead be working together in these areas. Realizing the full growth of programmatic depends on how we interact. For the industry to move forward all sides must partner on the areas of overlap, within programmatic, to build trust, develop clear rules, and continuously find efficient solutions.
From there various sessions dove into more granular topics ranging from auction design and capacity management to quality and fraud protections. Throughout the summit key themes emerged:
Quality should no longer be a differentiator
A variety of interesting ideas and perspectives were raised, many of which revolved around trust and fraud. Spoofed domains and unauthorized reselling were referenced by one partner as “the worst type of fraud because it is defrauding the advertising and stealing from the publisher.”
Quality should no longer be a differentiator for anyone in our industry; as another partner put it “it’s table stakes.” Without investing strictly and proactively in marketplace quality we cannot build a trusted marketplace. As the industry continues to grow and capture more spend, higher standards for quality are a necessity, which will require more efficient and consistent measurement of fraud and quality violations across the board.
Transparency in times of radical change is vital
Lastly and unsurprisingly, transparency and first price auctions were front and center in conversations. Shadow first price auctions, while undercover in nature have been caught red handed. The demand side, rightfully so, expects transparency and control as the industry begins to shift to first price auctions. As one partner said, “we feel like first price auctions is being done to us,” buyers should have visibility into the auction environment so that they can bid accordingly.
While programmatic was front and center it wasn’t the only thing on the agenda. After starting the day enriching our minds with yoga and informational sessions, the afternoons were spent taking advantage of all the activities La Jolla had to offer. Whether it was a friendly golf tournament, indoor sky diving or cave kayaking, we put the complexities of programmatic aside to have a little bit of fun!
In the end, it was great to come together with our partners and co-collaborators, who unlike our friends and family know exactly what we do for a living. Jokes aside, it’s always great to spend a few days collaborating with a larger group of partners to forge a better and stronger path forward.