The digital-ad market in Japan is ready for a “pivot” toward greater supply-chain transparency. That’s the view of Andrew Casale, president and CEO of Index Exchange, an independent North America-based programmatic exchange.
“We’re encouraged by publisher excitement to embrace header bidding and push toward greater supply-chain transparency,” Casale said in a conversation at Cannes Lions 2018.
Index Exchange entered the Japan market recently through an agreement with Dentsu-owned CCI, which will essentially function as a representative in the market. The company also opened an office in Sydney last fall and plans to open a Singapore office soon, Casale said.
Compared with western markets, APAC markets are lagging in terms of the percentage of budget invested in programmatic platforms, Casale said. There's also more reliance on the ‘waterfall’ than there is in western markets at the moment, he said, referring to the serial bidding mechanism that predated the overall move to header bidding and the greater optimization it promises for publishers. The Japan market in particular “reads as one that’s ripe and ready for a change away from the waterfall,” he said.
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The company believes digital advertising should have been far more transparent from the start than it was, Casale said. Automation can and should be synonymous with full knowledge of where ad dollars go rather than synonymous with black boxes that impact trust and enable fraud.
“Our ultimate bet is that every dollar will be automated,” he said. In both Japan and Singapore, education will be an important part of early operations for the company. “We find a well-educated buyer will find the most efficient route, and we like our chances there,” Casale said.
Platforms have come a long way, and they now do a good job of rewarding quality value propositions, he said. “Some of our publisher clients beat rate card every second of every day.”
Index Exchange also recently signed on with Dentsu Aegis Network to serve as an exchange for its M1 offering, which seeks to enable people-based buying across multiple publishers. “The agency wants to be able to buy all publishers, and the rest of the web, and all apps the same way they buy Facebook,” he said. Casale and his company are also advocates for the Open ID initiative, which along somewhat similar lines seeks to create deeper pools of people-centred data to help publishers mate advertiser CRM files with their inventory, thus "unshackling" media dollars that today only go to the walled gardens.