What better way to gain feedback from the marketplace than to gather both the buy and sell sides of the industry and listen to what they are saying about current market trends? It is something that we like to do on a regular basis at 24/7 Media.
To get a clear vision of the local programmatic and RTB market in France, we organised a conference during the summer, selecting a panel that included representatives from the buy side(1) of the digital industry. We had one representative from a retargeting company (SocioMantic), one from a trading desk (Vivaki) and the final panellist representative was from an independent agency (Agence 79). The event was organised six months after the launch of our French Private Marketplace and was an additional way for us to provide publishers with top tips to better embrace the RTB world.
Undeniably, the French RTB market has seen a meteoric rise. 24/7 Media saw revenues from RTB on our 24/7 Connect marketplace quadruple. Additionally, in just the past two months we saw the available RTB inventory more than double with the arrival of new Premium publishers. In terms of the quality of the inventory, we now reach 54% of the French audience across more than 60 Premium sites with 100% above-the-fold inventory. All this has been achieved over the past 10 months alone, an indication of how rapidly the market is developing.
However, let’s get back to the panel where discussions were very lively, proving that RTB is now a big part of our industry in France. Here are the five main trends that were discussed:
Private marketplaces are clearly an important topic for the French market, as last year saw the development of alliances between media sales houses and publishers that created their own private marketplaces. As the French are evermore embracing the RTB trend, demand is growing and we see room for further RTB players that can truly offer an alternative for the marketplace.
For example, last year 24/7 Media launched the 24/7 Connect marketplace. This offers a qualitative monetisation platform for Publishers that is open to all major high-quality demand sources, creating a unique combination of private and public exchanges.
The major benefit that private marketplaces bring to the digital ecosystem is that ‘first-looks’ can be set up and proposed to a few select demand players. As a result, through private marketplaces, it can be seen that ‘first-look’ inventory allows for higher CPMs for publishers. The ‘first-looks’ are also important in building relationships with the trading desks that are always looking for that crucial freshness. The emergence of Deal IDs (identifiers) is also an important trend and more and more buyers are now ready to set them up, effectively acting as the automated equivalent of an IO.
Granularity and Verticals
Many French Premium publishers are still asking what type of inventory is best for RTB. Of course, all kinds of inventory works well for RTB, but what is most important for buyers is the level of visibility that they can get — and the more transparency they can get, the more value they see in the inventory and the more they will bid on it. As a result, the industry standard of full transparency in France is getting a lot of attention and we are seeing great traction across RTB.
Additionally, gathering several websites together on dedicated verticals is an important piece of the RTB puzzle, as this provides advertisers with pre-packaged qualitative audiences. Within 24/7 Media’s own marketplace, we have segmented our Premium offering according to audience and now offer agencies pre-packaged audiences in several verticals/channels: i.e. e-commerce, Women, Family, Entertainment, Travel… This is what agencies are looking for and they see more value in an aggregated audience rather than individual sites.
Pricing and average eCPM
The average eCPM is experiencing a growth spurt and has been increasing since the beginning of the year. Within our own marketplace, we see that RTB is more qualitative and eCPM is quite high with an average eCPM of €2. We have even recorded eCPMs of up to nearly €6 within the most strategic channels. This is due to the fact that there are an increasing number of buyers, more above-the-fold inventory, and more creative formats, such as Rich Media.
Video and Mobile
In France, compared to other markets, there is not a huge amount of qualitative Video inventory available for RTB for brand campaigns (in-stream and pre-roll). As a result, buyers remain apprehensive about buying video through RTB and so are continuing to buy a mix of video inventory via the traditional route. We can see the same trend for mobile, but a few dedicated local exchanges are starting to emerge, which could make all the difference in the next few months as the potential and demand for mobile is obviously here.
With the increased reach that marketplaces are now experiencing, players do have the ability to create stronger user data segments, tracking all the events that occurred across the sites with which they work. This means that a lot of education needs to be done at the publisher level. However, we see that publishers are now less reluctant to embrace this when all privacy, brand safety measures and data security are provided.
This is an exciting time of growth for the programmatic and RTB marketplace in France.
(1) To view a video summarising the panel and Q&A, watch the content in French.