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MediaMath Unveils Partner Program as DSPs Face Heightened Competition

Indie DSPs Look to Innovate To Keep Up With Google

By Published on . 7

Marketers are still having trouble navigating the ad-tech landscape. MediaMath says it has an answer.

Today, the demand-side platform launched a vendor-partnership program aimed at integrating all kinds of ad technology providers into its platform in an effort to simplify digital media buying.

On one hand, MediaMath is attempting to ease a buying process for agencies and marketers that 's still often fraught with waste -- both in dollars and time. The company is also attempting to differentiate its offering and consolidate its power within an ever-shifting online ad ecosystem.

"What we're hearing increasingly from marketers is the oft-repeated frustration with the complexity in ad tech," said Joe Zawadzki, MediaMath's CEO. "We saw the opportunity ... to normalize the complexity and provide entry points and on-ramps to integrate all those [technologies] with a focus on stuff that 's best in class."

The partner certification program -- dubbed MediaMath Open -- is launching with more than 100 initial partners from just about every category in Terry Kawaja's display-ad Lumascape. It signals a drive by DSPs to consolidate power within their platforms amid severe ad-tech market fragmentation. The hope is that when the great market shakeout occurs, those that make life easiest for agencies and marketers will be left standing.

MediaMath has steadily added technology partners as well as data and media sources during the past few years. The first wave included partnerships with third-party data companies and ad exchanges. Later, the company began integrating with ad-verification, creative-optimization and privacy-compliance technologies. And in the past few months, MediaMath has added some non-exchange inventory and made it possible for brands that have relationships with some publishers that operate premium private exchanges to access that fenced-off inventory through the MediaMath platform -- an evolution considering that most DSP inventory up to now has been large-exchange inventory.

Still, MediaMath is not alone in its quest to streamline the buying process of digital ad inventory. Competitor Dataxu, for example, lists more than three dozen partners on its website. And AppNexus, an ad exchange that is said to be building out its demand-side capabilities, recently launched its App Marketplace, where users select technology partners from a menu rather than being forced to ink separate deals with each vendor.

But while in the App Marketplace, AppNexus' partners control the look and feel of their apps, MediaMath says its partners' technologies are integrated directly into MediaMath's buying platform via APIs. As a result, buyers can easily switch on and off vendors and inventory sources for a given campaign or let the system's algorithm comb all the possible vendors to make the decision for them, Mr. Zawadzki said.

Mr. Zawadzki said the company has built up its initial base of partners through client referral, inbound inquiries and some selective outreach. Going forward, he said MediaMath will strive to balance embracing an open ecosystem while still focusing on partners it deems to be at the top of their respective categories.

"Part of the appeal of walking into Barneys is that the selection is curated for you," Mr. Zawadzki said, by way of comparison.

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