Private marketplaces and why they matter

Just a few years ago, online advertising was sold in the least-digital way — with paper contracts. Getting an ad from its initial creation to placement on a website involved a lot of back and forth between advertisers and publishers...

By Rachel Parkins

Just a few years ago, online advertising was sold in the least-digital way — with paper contracts.

Getting an ad from its initial creation to placement on a website involved a lot of back and forth between advertisers and publishers or publishers’ ad management firms — with requests for proposals, detailed media plans, and price negotiations.

Now, most ads are sold in real-time auctions that make it possible for advertisers to place a buy on any site across the web. This makes the universe of publishers far more accessible to advertisers, but even in this age of easy automation, there are still some strong reasons why advertisers prefer to run campaigns on a select group of premium sites.

Building relationships with ad buyers is just as essential as ever to securing dedicated budgets, so our agency sales team focuses on explicitly steering opportunities to CafeMedia sites!

Private Marketplaces (PMPs)

The most common way to establish a direct connection between buyers and publishers is through private marketplaces (PMPs). A PMP establishes a unique access point for an advertiser to buy a specific publisher’s ad inventory at an agreed-upon price (that is much more than a regular “open auction” price). 

PMPs bring advertisers the security of working with known partners, clear fee-structures, enhanced ad performance, and unique data overlays and ad unit opportunities. These partnerships focus on curation, driving better results for advertisers and increasing their willingness to pay a premium as a result! 

A known entity

PMPs provide advertisers with the safety net of knowing exactly who they are dealing with. Buying across the open web without any guardrails can also lead to purchasing fraudulent inventory or running on poor quality or inappropriate content.

With a PMP, advertisers get the certainty that they are actually buying ad impressions where they want – not from someone masquerading as that site – and on content with quality that fits their brand. As brands select fewer, bigger partners to work with, our CafeMedia sales team advocates for our family of publishers to make the list.

A true partnership

The structure and partnership that goes into setting up a PMP also establishes a level of intention and buy-in from agencies and advertisers. PMPs take time and effort to set up, with the benefit of improved performance and gaining an ally in troubleshooting and optimizing.

That investment means everyone involved in the process is engaged in making PMPs work and supporting their growth. On the advertising agency side, the full media team plays a role. These planning efforts translate to commitment in terms of execution and often an allocated budget that helps CafeMedia sites secure a bigger slice of the digital advertising spend.

Beyond the basics

The real advantages of PMPs go beyond what an advertiser can buy off-the-shelf in the open web. A partnership is essential to accessing an inventory package tailored to a buyer’s specific campaign goals. 

Advertisers are always looking for deeper ways to break through with consumers. PMPs allow them to focus on curation around a specific audience (such as Millennial Women), context (like Food or Holiday Shopping), or performance (like viewability, ensuring a consumer sees the ad). PMPs also provide a way to transact unique ad units that aren’t typically offered by most publishers. These can range from units that are larger-than-average to interactive mobile units or custom native placements. 

Our agency sales team infuses exclusive audience and contextual data into these PMP deals to provide advertisers with value they can’t get elsewhere. These unique benefits that CafeMedia publishers bring to the table make PMPs a win for everyone!

CafeMedia publishers and PMPs

PMPs let us play matchmaker between premium content creators and premium advertisers. You create high-quality content every day that meets the needs of internet users and makes their lives better — and we love that we can share your stories to help you see the biggest return for that hard work. 

Showing the numbers

Since PMPs require significantly more effort to set up than open-market buys, brands evaluate potential partners based on scale using Comscore. The CafeMedia community represents 151 MM monthly unique visitors (#11 on the Comscore top 50 digital media list), which lets us grab the attention of the biggest spenders.

Proving influence

As we’re having these conversations, one of our favorite ways to build an immediate connection with your content and demonstrate the influence of CafeMedia publishers is to ask for a topic — any topic. Then, we type that topic into our internet search bar and share the results.

The top results feature CafeMedia publishers just about every time, reinforcing that our community holds the go-to resources to answer the questions people are asking.

What’s next?

Over the last two years, we’ve seen PMPs become a substantial part of ad spend in our community, bringing in tens of millions of incremental dollars through CafeMedia-exclusive deals! We’ve focused on hiring for our sales teams (we’ve already quadrupled the size of our sales team this year), so we can further grow our share of this valuable PMP pie on your behalf.

More and more, even the advertising world beyond PMPs — the open exchange — is operating on “white lists”, where specific sites are approved one by one. Our sales team works hard to make sure CafeMedia sites earn a well-deserved spot on these approved lists to be eligible for all campaigns from the best brands.