Gregory Fortune
Sep 20, 2012

Opinion: The Asian DSP dance

Gregory Fortune, head of digital and client leader for Mindshare Singapore, points out the weaknesses in Asia's existing demand-side platforms (DSPs) and suggests ways to make them better.

Gregory Fortune
Gregory Fortune

The first DSP Asia disco is nearly over, and a collection of shy, nervous clients have tried a few moves on the dance floor.

It’s already clear that the bold DSPs don’t have the moves like Jagger, in fact the performance is somewhat lacking the grace and complexity we had hoped for.

First we find that DSPs don’t come fully loaded with a range of targeting filters, and the wealth of data behind these filters is lacking the depth and accuracy required. In fact we end up optimising placements and reducing non-performing inventory like a standard network buy, which is a million miles away from the promise of demographic and category data, built and delivered in a holistic do-it-yourself platform.

Luckily the volume of long-tail sites and relatively inexpensive placements allow an agency to optimise quickly, so as to show a potential ROI within the test phase. However, what went wrong and where does it leave the promise of a hyper-targeted world?

First we must remember that a huge amount of data does still exist, and with the launch of agency entities built to manage this process, clients and publishers can (with practice) perform that award-winning dance. Clients need to start being serious about their own data and reduce the red tape around internal process and data collection. Secondly, agencies need to act smart when it comes to picking their partners; it's time to select the promising stars and work together to invest in the relationship.

So what can clients do to help this process? First, the link between the Webmaster and the marketing team needs to be strengthened. That way we can use the clients’ data to improve the targeting filters and improve the efficiency of our media dollar. Secondly, clients need to embrace the shared cookie pools, so that they can leverage more data that might be relevant to their target audience. In other words, two brands that don’t compete could be targeting the same audience, so by sharing cookie data, both brands can enhance their media reach and targeting accuracy.

Having this data however, is only the first step, and that’s where the agency steps in to help manage the process. Agencies have invested heavily in a range of technology, which can collate the data and plug it into the right exchange. With a background in optimisation and the ability to manage private and shared cookie pools, agencies are well placed to support a brand's ambitions.

It’s clear that the road to success is full of mistakes and a few late nights, but the potential for data-based buying and planning is a true game changer. So fingers crossed that the group of forward-thinking clients and excited agencies can start getting serious and work smarter to support this inevitable change.

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