You don't need to know the origins of the automated guaranteed market to appreciate its benefits. Automated guaranteed solutions provide buyers and publishers of all shapes and sizes a powerful new tool to automate their direct sales processes—a tool that can quickly make the antiquated manual process of planning and buying a thing of the past.
One of the most interesting facts about the automated guaranteed market is that it didn't simply emerge as a solution to improve the direct sales process. Rather, it emerged from a long chain of innovations that, over the last few decades, has entirely reshaped advertising as we know it.
Back to the Beginning
The real origins of automated guaranteed, like the origins of all display advertising, can be traced to the early 1990s. In 1993, Global Network Navigator sold what is believed to be the first clickable Web ad to a California law firm, and soon the technology went mainstream. Back then, people liked online display ads because they were similar to a print publication ad but with the added benefit of leading customers directly to the company selling the product.
More and more publishers and buyers flocked to online advertising in the late 1990s. The Internet, a revolutionary new technology, had led to a revolutionary new form of advertising. However, even though the market moved to "digital media buying," the actual way these ads were bought and sold was not digital. The process remained more or less identical to the way ads had always been bought and sold in traditional advertising.
Ad Exchanges Now on the Radar
The emergence of advertising networks was the next critical development on the path to automated guaranteed. Advertising networks made it possible to pool inventory from many different sites, giving publishers a way to profit from inventory they weren't able to sell directly. While this meant that online advertising was no longer a one-to-one exchange between buyers and sellers, it was also the beginning of a movement toward the new world of automation.
The Programmatic Era
The emergence of ad exchanges brought us into the programmatic era as we know it today. With ad exchanges, the pool of inventory grew much larger. More importantly, it became possible to bid for impressions in real time. Real-time bidding, or RTB, fundamentally changed the equation of the marketplace because advertisers could use behavioral data to target individuals instead of reserving inventory on a given site.
Programmatic has made online advertising more efficient and has been a great success for publishers and advertisers alike. However, even as programmatic advertising continues to grow at a remarkable pace, the industry has come to appreciate something that perhaps isn't all that surprising: Advertising is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and open exchanges are not for everyone. Some premium publishers prefer private exchanges. Others have decided not to make the leap to RTB, either because they aren't yet familiar with the technology or because they equate RTB to only lower funnel tactics, which hasn't been the case for years given the advent of private marketplaces.
Automated Guaranteed, Not RTB
While publishers and advertisers may not want to play in the open market exchange buying world RTB can offer, they still want to take advantage of some of the benefits of automation. After all, they are still facing the same problem that has been there from the beginning: Buying and selling inventory one campaign at a time is time-consuming.
And here we come back to automated guaranteed, the technology that brings so much of the efficiency of programmatic to the world of direct sales. Since an automated guaranteed platform offers the ability to purchase forward-reserved inventory, publishers can guarantee placement for next month, next year or any time in the future—something not possible in the RTB world to date.
While the markets continue to grow around automated guaranteed, the direct buying and selling of online ads has finally caught up to the ad tech revolution.
About the Author
Adam Chandler is an experienced executive, scaling the revenue opportunity and operations of tech companies. He has consistently bridged the gap between new technology and the world's largest advertisers. In the process, he has led sales, marketing, communications and ad operations.
Most recently, Mr. Chandler launched the MMX mobile global exchange, a new programmatic revenue stream that attracted more than 300 advertisers in its first nine months and paved the way for Millennial Media's acquisition of Nexage. As senior VP-sales at Jumptap, he expanded the demand for mobile advertising prior to Millennial Media's acquisition of the company. As CRO of Martini Media, he turned a conventional rep firm into a multimedia platform for brand, performance and programmatic advertising. At Yahoo, he took three businesses—multicultural advertising, technology & wireless brand partnerships and off-network advertising—from niche to more than $100 million.
About the Sponsor
Founded in 2007, Rubicon Project's mission is to keep the Internet free and open and fuel its growth by making it easy and safe to buy and sell advertising. Rubicon Project pioneered advertising automation technology to enable the world's leading brands, content creators and application developers to trade and protect trillions of advertising requests each month and to improve the advertising experiences of consumers. Rubicon Project is a publicly traded company headquartered in Los Angeles.