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CtrlShift partners 7 leading Malaysian publishers to launch private marketplace

CtrlShift, an audience solutions company, has tied up with seven leading publishers in Malaysia to launch the region’s first independent private marketplace for digital advertising called “AMP”, an Asia’s by-invitation marketplace for premium inventory.

These seven publishers include MediaPrimaDigital, Star Media Group, RevAsia, MalayMail Online, SinChew Online, Tantannews.com and Cari.my. The marketplace offers marketers access to over 11 million monthly unique visitors in the country.

After Malaysia, CtrlShift said it plans to roll out AMP in other markets beginning with Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

AMP basically gathers these leading publishers and media companies, to offer premium ad inventory (the most high-performing advertising space) and audience segments to marketers. It packages specific audience segments, for example digitally savvy moms seeking food products for their families – by allowing marketers to purchase brand safe ads (ads guaranteed to appear in well-known websites) across multiple websites, based on the audience segment they want to target.

To further explain, publishers are invited to a private virtual auction platform where they offer their premium (best performing and most valuable) ad inventory, packaged together with audience data. These data include the audiences’ interests, intent, habits and demographic information. CtrlShift does this with the help of a technology stack that includes data management platforms (DMP) and supply-side platforms (SSP).

Meanwhile, brand advertisers, trading desks or agencies have access to the inventory through their own trading platforms, where they bid for the inventory starting with a given floor price. The inventory goes to the highest bidder. Bidding for the inventory and audience segments is also available via The Hub, CtrlShift’s media management platform.

Reza Behnam, co-founder and executive chairman at CtrlShift, said: “AMP is the answer to a strong call from Asia Pacific marketers to have access to audiences through a curated pool of high quality inventory from leading publishers. With AMP, they can be assured that they are getting a competitive, auction-derived price for brand-safe inventory while having the benefit of targeting nuanced audience profiles.

“The premium inventory, until recently mostly purchased by marketers directly from individual publishers, is now available in a secure, scalable and automated environment. While we are meeting marketers’ needs, we are also championing the interests of premium publishers in our region, offering a competitive alternative to the current duopoly (Facebook and Google),” he said.

In France, Spain and the US, publishers’ alliances have been formed to address the challenges faced by marketers such as data transparency, brand safety and fake news. For publishers, it’s the undervalued inventory and competition from bigger publishers, duopoly of Facebook and Google. However, these alliances can be complex to run and use as they require consensus of all publishers, CtrlShift said.

With AMP, CtrlShift said it manages the inventory of the different publishers in a neutral and unbiased manner. This allows premium inventory of multiple leading publications to be pooled together, offering a wide range of ads in different formats to marketers, without the need for publishers themselves to set up such complicated formal alliances.

Building programmatic expertise

CtrlShift said it also working with publishers to build their programmatic expertise around the AMP platform, and with agencies to facilitate the integration of the platform with agency trading desks. AMP can also generate insights such as details on audience value and demand, yield analysis and individual campaign learnings.

Diana Boo, head of publisher solutions, said: “AMP offers publishers a new sales channel for their premium ads, ensuring all premium ad inventory is fairly valued and providing higher yields compared to open real-time bidding (RTB) environments. AMP is also the solution to the widespread issue of brand safety, knowing that ads will appear in select websites and delivered to real audiences. We ensure this by maintaining AMP as a “invitation only” PMP, carefully selecting participating publishers.”

For marketers, the use of audience data to target ads at specific audience segments ensures that the ads are being delivered to relevant viewers. This increases the likelihood of viewers converting into buyers, resulting in better campaign outcomes. An alternative for marketers is to purchase inventory directly from the different publishers – a costly and time-consuming process as brands have to negotiate prices with each publisher individually.

Programmatic is increasingly recognised as an efficient way to buy digital ads. With the persistent issue of poor inventory quality, opportunities abound for private marketplaces, particularly in Southeast Asia where there is currently a lack of providers. Adweek also estimated that the private programmatic industry to be worth US$8.6 billion last year.

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