Programmatic Ads the Focus of New Publishing Alliance

5 industry leaders come together with programmatic ads service to take on the likes of Google and Facebook

Programmatic ads, which give brands the option for automated buys in place of more traditional human interaction and negotiation, occupy a growing segment when it comes to publishing revenue.

According to eMarketer, “U.S. programmatic digital display ad spending will grow 137.1% to eclipse $10 billion this year, accounting for 45.0% of the U.S. digital display advertising market.” Based on audience algorithms, analysis, and optimization, programmatic systems use software to secure online ad space.

But as popular as programmatic ads are, some publishers are seeking to better capitalize on them in an effort to protect their share of the market. After all, search and social platforms – with their massive audiences appealing to advertisers and their strategies resembling those of publishers more and more every day – are dominating digital advertising.

Google, in particular, looks to be unstoppable for the time being, generating more than $61 billion last year – more than Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, The New York Times, the Guardian, and BuzzFeed combined.

How are publishers responding? In April, the Pangaea Alliance will debut its programmatic ads service in beta. The Pangaea Alliance is a publishing supergroup that includes the Guardian, the Financial Times, Reuters, The Economist, and CNN International. 

Boasting a potential combined audience of 110 million, the Pangaea Alliance will pool their data and try to lure advertisers with quality traffic targeted across multiple properties.

“When we began thinking about the next wave of the Guardian’s global expansion, we thought there was gap in the market we could solve for in collaboration with other publishers. We’ve come together to ensure the quality that’s represented by these publisher brands is now available at scale,” Guardian Global Revenue Director and Pangaea Alliance project leader Tim Gentry told The Wall Street Journal.

“The data is crucial. One thing we can do together is share first-party data with each other and create unique, compelling audience segments. The essence behind this is it will give us a greater degree of strategic control over the direction of our business. Five heads are much better than the Guardian’s on its own.

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“As the world becomes more complex and networked, Pangaea will give advertisers one single programmatic solution for driving influence at scale, allowing them to get cut-through in an increasingly fragmented market using the latest ad serving technology,” Gentry added in a statement.

“Pangaea’s uniqueness lies in the quality of its partners. We know that trust is the biggest driver of brand advocacy, so we have come together to scale the benefits of advertising within trusted media environments, which are geared towards delivering cutting-edge creative campaigns in technically advanced formats.”

The Rubicon Project, an adtech platform, will partner with Pangaea and power the service, which is meant to supplement rather than replace existing ad staffs and models. Also, the membership won’t remain exclusively of the five founding publishers if all goes according to plan.

Of course, that’s no guarantee, as this isn’t the first time such a gambit has been tried: QuandrantONE, which included The New York Times, Hearst, Tribune Company, and Gannett folded in 2013.

Do you offer programmatic ads to buyers? Would you ever join a collective like the Pangaea Alliance? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

To read more about the new programmatic ads mega-group, visit The Wall Street Journal.

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