Human Element Will Be Vital in Driving Ad Spend in RTB and Private Exchanges

Study by Index Platform and Advertiser Perceptions Shows Half of Buyers and Sellers Participated in RTB, Budgets Are Expected to Grow Significantly, but Concerns Continue

NEW YORK, NY – Index Platform (, a global sell-side platform operated by Casale Media (, today revealed that advertisers and publishers are relying on the human element in programmatic ad buying and selling to drive the growth of RTB and private exchanges. With half of advertisers and publishers trying RTB, both sides expect significant spending growth in this segment over the next 12 months.

RTB and Private Ad Exchanges: What Works (What Doesn’t) and What’s Needed,” is a report based on an August 2012 survey conducted by Advertiser Perceptions for Index Platform. Giving visibility into what RTB will look like in a year, in addition to providing guidance on growth drivers, the report is available at: It outlines the following takeaways:

    • The ‘Human Element’: One in four publishers who are concerned with RTB eliminating the ‘human element’ in ad selling feel that face-to-face negotiations and dedicated account management are extremely important if they are to use RTB in the future.
    • Buy-side concerns: Media buyers want to see greater emphasis on inventory quality, more guarantees for brand safety, and greater transparency in reporting.
    • Sell-side concerns: 84% of publishers are concerned that RTB will devalue or commoditize their inventory, while approximately 75% fear sales channel conflicts and eroding relationships with media buyers.
    • Wide-scale acceptance: About half of buy-side and sell-side parties already actively participate in RTB. Almost all expect the market for RTB and private ad exchanges to grow significantly over the next 12 months.
    • Education is needed: A keener understanding of market mechanics and more control over the processes will encourage greater participation from both buyers and sellers.

“In the emerging programmatic environment, we hear time and again that relationships still matter,” said Andrew Casale, VP of strategy, Casale Media. “Buyers and sellers increasingly want to do deals by interacting directly with each other, and this is just one point of clarity that we in the industry need to communicate. All the players in this segment need to collaborate around market education for the industry to thrive. The innovations have advanced even just in the past year, and we need to articulate how technology has vastly improved the experience for buyers and sellers.”

Concerns About RTB
According to the study, buyers want greater emphasis on inventory quality, more guarantees for brand safety, and greater transparency in reporting. More than three-quarters (77%) of buyers surveyed say they would spend more through RTB platforms if there were greater emphasis on quality or viewable impressions. Sellers are concerned about how to monetize through RTB without cannibalizing current sales efforts. More than half of publishers fear that using RTB will eliminate the ‘human element.’ Furthermore, there are questions about what DSPs are doing with inventory.

Market Needs
Respondents want a clearer explanation on differentiators between RTB, private ad exchanges, supply-side platforms (SSPs), demand-side platforms (DSPs), agency trading desks (ATDs), and data-management platforms (DMPs), and how these are different from ad networks. There is also a disconnect between what publishers and marketers feel are important attributes and their satisfaction with current offerings. For example, control, ad quality and reporting/insights are extremely important to publishers, yet level of satisfaction on these characteristics hover in the 30% range.

The research brief was created based on data collected via online interviews and qualitative responses collected via phone. The survey includes 105 senior-level respondents from leading US publisher, marketer and agency organizations.

About Index Platform
Index Platform is a global digital advertising technology provider offering enterprise grade solutions, intelligence and support for publishers to maximize advertiser demand for their cross channel media. Through the Index Platform exchange or a publisher’s own private marketplace, publishers receive fully transparent real-time bidding (RTB) management technology and access to premium demand. Its parent company, Casale Media, continues to establish a strong presence in digital advertising, working directly with premium media organizations, while focusing on brand-safety and control for advertisers and publishers. Headquartered in New York and Toronto, the award-winning company is guided by its dedication to need-based development and a quality-focused culture.

About Advertiser Perceptions
Advertiser Perceptions is the world leader in providing the media industry with research-based advertiser insight and guidance necessary for strengthening brands and increasing advertiser satisfaction. The company specializes in determining, analyzing and communicating what advertisers think — their plans, opinions and motivations. Advertiser Perceptions proprietary database of media decision makers is one of the largest in the world. The advertiser survey and questionnaire development process that they employ ensures optimal response. Focus and media industry expertise enables Advertiser Perceptions to effectively analyze and accurately interpret the research that they conduct on behalf of their clients who represent many of the largest international media companies.