How AppNexus Balances Buy-Side and Sell-Side Interests


While demand-side platforms (DSPs) and supply-side platforms (SSPs) are locked in a back and forth of tweaking auction mechanics to generate better yields for their clients, AppNexus is in the unusual position of working with both sides. In the Q&A Nigel Gilbert, AppNexus’ chief market strategist EMEA, discusses how the company balances the interests of the buy-side and sell-side, and also discusses the impact of the recent AT&T acquisition.

Gilbert will be on stage at New Video Frontiers next Wednesday at 11.50am on a panel titled ‘Are Ads.txt, Brand Safety and GDPR Fuelling a Premium Revolution?’ Tickets are available via the website.

How will the AT&T acquisition affect AppNexus going forward?

We are excited to align ourselves strategically within AT&T because it presents opportunities to enrich our marketplace with their first-party data, premium content, and scaled distribution. In terms of video, the acquisition suggests the opportunity to access premium video and television content, with the benefit of AT&T’s consumer insights and distribution, that was previously unavailable. That’s a great alternative to what is currently available in the broader market.

AT&T values our deep relationships with the world’s leading publishers, advertisers, and technology companies, including across Europe, and we remain committed to working with digital publishers, advertisers, technology and data companies around the world. With the benefit of AT&T, we can make the inventory of our clients and partners, across Europe and globally, more valuable to the premium marketers and agencies.

AppNexus started enforcing ads.txt earlier this year to ensure compliance — have all publishers complied or are there still some lagging behind?

We have seen a critical mass of publishers have adopted ads.txt—over 85 percent of the top 1000 domains available within the AppNexus marketplace have an ads.txt file. Due to the scale of inventory in AppNexus’ marketplace, buyers have continued to hit goals with little change to how spend was allocated.

Are buyers using the Guaranteed Views part of the AppNexus marketplace? And what sorts of results are they seeing?

AppNexus is seeing adoption of Guaranteed Views from innovative advertisers including Group M and Operam.

Previously, transacting on 100 percent viewable inventory was only available through Facebook and Google’s Display Network. The open internet required optimizing with viewability thresholds based on historical averages that restricted the inventory available for campaigns. Now, with Guaranteed Views, buyers can target the entire open internet, use viewability as a given outcome, and focus on optimizing campaigns to other KPIs. As a result, buyers have seen an improvement in cost per click up to 48 percent.

Both SSPs and DSPs have always tweaked auction mechanics to get the best results for their clients. As a company that works with both the buy-side and sell-side, how do you balance the interests of both sides?

AppNexus is in a truly unique position to ensure integrity across the whole supply chain because of our work with both buyers and sellers. Our default position is that efficiency and transparency, in all areas, and especially around auction mechanics, benefit both buyers and sellers of digital advertising. By working with the buy- and sell-side, AppNexus creates a more transparent auction and compresses the supply chain, thereby reducing the portion of advertising dollars lost to intermediary actors.


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