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How Agency Trading Desks Can Give Your Brand More Transparency & Control

Self-service trading platforms have become trendy for companies purchasing online display advertising via programmatic media. More and more agencies are opting for these platforms as opposed to the conventional demand-side platform because of the numerous advantages they offer.

Here’s an overview of primary reasons for the shift toward self-service, along with insights on whether it makes sense for your business or agency to make the move.

What Are Self-Service Trading Desks?

In the demand-side display model, advertisers have somewhat limited control over the final placement of their ads. Servers leverage data and artificial intelligence to create ideal match-ups between advertiser, publisher and audience, but gaps exist because of the lack of human involvement.

With self-service, the advertiser has more manual control over data, targeting decisions and optimizations. For instance, the advertiser makes decisions on site categories that best align with the brand and its message. For instance, a sporting goods retailer would likely pinpoint relevant sports content sites. The advertiser makes choices on the categories to exclude and include in a campaign.

Primary Self-Service Trading Desk Benefits

Faster and more granular optimizations are the main reason for going self-service. By running through a self-service platform, an agency can optimize media in more ways than ever.

In addition to category selections, self-service platforms allow the agency to update bid factors, which makes granular optimizations possible in the following areas:

  • Site
  • Supply vendor
  • Frequency
  • Creative asset and ad format
  • Location
  • Time of day
  • Day of week
  • Device
  • Browser

Agencies are also able to generate more granular reports to derive additional insights on the target audiences. These insights allow you to build more thorough buyer personas to develop ideal messaging strategies. Agencies can also share more detailed data with clients, which is imperative for making strategic recommendations on advertising investments.

Optimizations are much faster to identify and execute with detailed reports as well. Agencies can more easily identify areas for improvement such as eliminating wasted investments and amplifying successes.

Other important ways in which the self-service platform is optimized differently than partner-managed buys include:

1. Consolidation of tactics into one platform, which allows for cross-channel optimizations. The team working within the platform not only plans but also executes and optimizes the campaign.

2. Self-service platforms, such as The Trade Desk, have hundreds of pre-negotiated deals with publishers, which allow clients access to premium inventory at a fraction of the cost of a direct deal. Thus, you can optimize to the best-performing inventory outlets.

A Shift Towards Self-Service

It is clear from this overview of core benefits why more advertising agencies are moving to self-service platforms for programmatic display buys. Leading agencies are already successfully leveraging the advantages of self-service trading desks. Talk with your digital agency to determine whether it is taking these steps to develop and execute the most effective strategy for its clients.

For more insights on programmatic advertising and other digital topics, read Inside Programmatic: Agency vs. In-House Management!

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