Recently we held a special edition of our global educational forum, PubAcademy, in the Netherlands. The event was special for two reasons: first, because it was our inaugural PubAcademy in the Netherlands, and second because it was the first PubAcademy we’ve held in a country where we don’t have a physical presence. I’m very happy to report that the event was a huge success and left us with three key takeaways that we’d like to share with you.
The Dutch Market is Very Unified
Publishers, and to some extent buyers, are very unified in their approach to monetisation of their digital assets, and there is a refreshing degree of trust and sharing among publishers that we don’t necessarily see across many other markets. Frequently, a leading Dutch publisher will decide to take a particular approach to an issue, and then the majority of other leading publishers follow suit in adopting the same approach. One particular example of this behavior that was shared during our session was when publishers don’t dictate floor prices, instead letting the market decide the value of their inventory.
Additionally, there is a level of collaboration between publishers and buyers that’s fuelled by their collective desire to develop a more open, transparent and fair marketplace. A key driver behind this desire is recognition of the threat posed by the Google/Facebook duopoly and the fact that the only way to be successful in this environment is by working together.
As a consequence, whilst the market in terms of size is smaller than many other markets in Europe, this approach has made it easier for it to mature and punch above its weight in terms of programmatic development and adoption.
Publishers Prefer Using Unified Tech Solutions
Using a plethora of tech partners—one for ad serving, one for SSP, one for mobile, one for analytics, for example—is not the approach that leading publishers in the Netherlands have adopted when it comes to implementing and managing their programmatic tech solutions.
Our audience articulated an overwhelming belief in finding a technology partner who can deliver a full stack solution–such as our comprehensive monetization platform, SEVEN. This was clearly the preferred route for most, if not all, of the publishers in attendance.
The Market is Still Very OpenRTB Focused
When questioned about the slow adoption of programmatic direct solutions in the Netherlands, it became very clear that this is a market that’s still heavily skewed towards open market RTB. When we dug deeper into the reasoning behind the perceived reluctance to adopt programmatic guaranteed solutions, one response we received was, “If it’s not broken, why fix it?”
The buyers in the room felt that the transparency provided by publishers and their approach of having a level playing field – i.e. the ability for everyone to access the same inventory through fair auction pricing – coupled with publishers’ willingness to try and evaluate different buying strategies and tactics meant that they are able to access the best inventory without having to use private marketplaces (PMPs) or programmatic direct solutions.
That said, there was a definite understanding in the room that in order to gain access to large branding budgets and high-demand formats such as video moving forward, buyers will need to be open to adopting programmatic direct solutions and publishers will have to alter their ad decisioning strategies to accommodate these shifts.
Our PubAcademy Netherlands event made it clear that although this is a complex and sometimes contradictory programmatic market—open, transparent and progressive on the one hand, but happy with the status quo on the other—they are open to change and will continue to exceed growth expectations for some time to come.
PubAcademy is a global industry education initiative PubMatic established to help ensure our customers and partners are in the best position to achieve their individual business goals and address the unique set of challenges that they face in this ever-changing world of programmatic.