By OpenX in Brands & Agencies, Videos|July 21, 2023

Cannes Panel Highlights: Supply-Side Targeting: Demand Addressability From Your Media

At Cannes this year, OpenX took the stage with leading partners and clients to conduct three panels on some of the hottest topics in ad tech. Here are the highlights from our Supply-Side Targeting: Demand Addressability From Your Media panel.

Moderated by Ronan Shields of Digiday, the group discussed the actions that advertisers are taking to work directly with SSPs to activate audiences in new ways. The panel included:

  • Ash Grant, Global Head of Digital Trading, Expedia Group Media
  • Ben Hovaness, SVP of Marketplace Intelligence, Omnicom Media Group North America
  • Crystal Jacques, Head of Publisher and Supply Side Partnerships, Experian
  • Matt Sattel, SVP of Global Buyer Development, OpenX. 

Matt Sattel, SVP of Global Buyer Development, OpenX, kicked off the conversation noting that generally, the core driver of identity is privacy. The fact that governments and large platforms are pushing advertising toward a new privacy standard makes advertisers rethink their approach to buying. Matt, Ben, and Ash all agreed that one complexity in this evolution is the tech stack itself, which isn’t necessarily designed for identity. 

The SSP and the Buy Side

Matt noted that the role of the SSP is changing to satisfy buyers’ interest in identity. Privacy matters, and the entire ecosystem needs to work together to create a better plan for a future without third-party cookies. “I don’t think anyone can solve it by themselves,” he added.

Ben Hovaness, SVP of Marketplace Intelligence, Omnicom Media Group North America, shared that OMG has evolved how they work with supply-side partners. What’s changed the most is that they work directly with SSPs to bring value to clients beyond the basics of something like a take rate cap to create savings. To evolve their partnerships with SSPs even further, OMG tests new signals, including Google’s Privacy Sandbox and AMIs. He also emphasized the importance of collaborating with SSPs on product development to solve for specific client needs.

Ash Grant, Global Head of Digital Trading, Expedia Group Media, added that his team leans heavily on SSP partners because their resources in-house are a bit smaller than the big agency buyers. Like many other advertisers, they’re trying to do more with less, so partnering with leading SSPs provides a lot of added value. 

Crystal Jacques, Head of Publisher and Supply Side Partnerships, Experian, shared that Experian now has a vertical to support bringing data such as identity data and demographic data to the supply side, which has seen a huge uptake by the sell side. 

Transparency Provides Better Guidance to Buyers

Ronan brought up the recent ANA report, which suggests that the supply side needs some “tidying up.” To fix this complexity, panelists discussed their strategies. Ash pointed out that embedding more closely with the supply side helps increase accountability. “You can only be as good as your toolset, and we select those tools very carefully,” he said.

Matt added that a strong partner can go deeper and understand what content is actually in each bucket as well as how to bid more strategically, sharing that OpenX can provide guidance to avoid non-premium inventory. The more SSPs can provide transparency in buying strategies, the more confident and effective buyers can be with their spend.

Ash shared that CPM is only one small part of the considerations of their media-buying strategy. If his team can show incrementality and ROI, then they are willing to pay more for quality, especially if they’re in a position to commit more upfront to get a better price. “Buy cheap, pay twice,” he concluded.

SSPs Are Vital Partners in the Age of IDs

As the conversation pivoted back to privacy, Crystal shared that her team has had time to prepare for the eventual deprecation of third-party cookies, and that they are poised to be the connective tissue across new identifiers like UID and ID5 as well as MAIDS, hashed emails, and other IDs. “It’s important to understand what IDs are out there, what data we have, and enrich those IDs with data to get where we want to be,” she said.

Ben added that his team looks at IDs across tiers of signal strength. People talk about cookie deprecation as though it hasn’t happened yet, but “Apple wiped out third-party cookies on Safari, which in many markets is not a big deal. But in the United States, that’s about 40 percent of all browser activity,” he said.

Ash shared that Expedia has an incredible amount of travel data, and from a media perspective, there are complications for using the data. Expedia will be launching a loyalty program and managing and activating that program using identifiers by onboarding their first-party data to promote loyalty. That kind of process requires having the right solutions and partners to succeed, he added.

Targeting Directly On the SSPs Drives Performance

In response to an audience question about DSP targeting vs. supply-side targeting, Crystal shared that Experian has integrated with DSPs where targeting has lived traditionally, but there is increased adoption on the SSP side. While they don’t want to cannibalize, integrating on both sides gives buyers more choice and they can target audiences more effectively by layering targeting in multiple places.

To conclude the panel, Ben noted that the advantage with SSP targeting is that you’re not losing signal. “The reality is that technical details like QPS rate limits what the DSPs can see. “By targeting directly on the SSP side we can drive higher performance,” he said.

Contact us at

Share This