Ad exchanges are all the rage on Madison Avenue as many major ad holding companies are jumping into the game. Publicis is launching an Audience on Demand Network which plugs into Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, and Platform-A (AOL) and Havas and WPP are partnering with Yahoo!’s RightMedia. All of these deals have been announced in the past 60 days, so what are you going to do if you are a media sales executive who has purchased a Maserati Gran Turismo, house in the Hamptons, and supporting 2 kids through college? Aren’t all of the agencies now going to by-pass you and go straight to the exchanges through their newly minted partnerships?
That could certainly be the case, but I don’t think it’s going to play out that way. Ad exchanges and Madison Avenue are going to grow close together in many different scenarios, but media sales executives are going to still have jobs and honestly, could blossom. Here is why:
While ad exchanges currently supply Madison Avenue with inventory such as 300X250, 728X90, and other IAB standard impression units, you cannot purchase integrated/custom campaigns. While what you can do in a banner/button unit can be extremely creative and unique, you are not able to purchase page takeovers, custom content, or any other unique placements.
I believe Media Sales Exec’s lives are going to become much more efficient. Let agencies and marketers buy standard ad-units through exchanges layering on different targeting data (not just technologies), but when the phone rings to publishers, it’ll be for the custom/highly integrated media opportunities: where the sexy dollars are.
In my experience, some clients use traditional ad-units as the sole basis of their campaign and are able to do very well based on their KPIs; and for others, we build out highly integrated opportunities. Media Sales Execs do not want to be bothered for a small $20,000 media buy for 300X250s and 728X90s as servicing the account takes the same amount of time as a $250,000 buy for page takeovers and custom content integrations. Which would you want to service if they took the same amount of time? Thought so.
So, while many publishers are trying to figure out how to build their sales team to account for ad exchanges, don’t be scared. The business you receive from the exchanges may make your company much more efficient and add to your bottom line to account for less overhead (staff to cover simple buys). If you’re a Media Sales Exec, start tracking your leads and watch the size of your deals increase over time if you’re participating with exchanges.
If you are an ad network trying to figure out your role in this environment and have lots of data, please reach out to me as I’d like to talk to you.