Demand-Side Platforms in 2020: Part 1, Overall Trends

Due to the tech-neutral ethos of Matterkind we regularly vet, utilize, and build relationships with a vast array of addressable buying platforms. This provides us with a comprehensive and relatively unique view of the industry. Furthermore, through our DSP scorecards, UI feedback sessions, and roadmap conversations we are an active participant in driving the evolution of the addressable space. So what overarching trends do we see dominating DSP sales pitches and roadmaps so far in 2020?

The Evolution of SPO

“Supply path optimization” became a big topic last year but mostly focused on the manual whitelisting of exchanges by clients/buyers. In 2020 the phrase has expanded to describe a DSP’s suite of buying levers, bid shaving algorithms, throttling of duplicative bids, custom reports, and business deals designed to maximize media budgets by eliminating reselling and exposing hidden fees. Most major DSPs are now treating SPO as importantly as “brand safety” and are touting their specific approaches as value props.

  • What this means for Matterkind: We encourage all efforts to clean up the space and create efficiencies, but we must be careful to ensure that a DSP’s SPO suite does not conflict with our internal SPO strategy curated by the Kinesso Marketplace team. We have been working closely with most of the major omnichannel DSPs to coordinate efforts wherever possible but when in doubt please reach out to [email protected] especially when working with new/specialized platforms that may not already be incorporating our in-house guidelines.

The Death of the Cookie

Chrome’s announcement to end fingerprinting and 3rd party cookies threw gasoline on the fire that Safari and Firefox started in 2019. Despite an unclear deadline, many DSPs are already emphasizing their 1st or 3rd party contextual solutions and CTV/OTT inventory as these provide a means to target audiences in a more general way. Most of the biggest DSPs are confident that overall spending in their platforms will remain stable (and probably increase) despite an inevitable shift away from “old school programmatic” efforts such as direct-response display campaigns. Some DSPs are also developing proprietary user IDs for use within their ecosystem and are rolling out cross-screen planning tools which can utilize these IDs across various inventory types.

  • What this means for Matterkind: It is clear that addressable advertising will continue to thrive regardless of what the future holds for cookies. We are already ahead of the curve due to our ability to leverage Acxiom and Kinesso but we will continue to vet and test intriguing 3rd party solutions, not just on their own but also in how they complement the Kinesso product suite.

Each of these subjects will continue to be major topics throughout the remainder of 2020 and we can expect further evolution as the industry reacts to CCPA developments, the economic fallout of COVID-19, and the potential antitrust investigation of the Google ad suite to name just a few. We will continue to investigate and issue POVs and best practices as our industry develops.