The Ultimate Private Marketplace Guide for Publishers

Naomi Khor
January 26, 2021
April 5, 2024

We know why you’re here. You’re trying to maximize the amount of revenue you get for impressions on your site and you just keep hearing about private marketplace (PMP) advertising and private marketplace deals. You have lots of questions, don’t you?

Well ponder no more, we have the answers you’re looking for packed into this blog.

Table of contents:

What Is a Private Marketplace (PMP)?

What Are PMP Deals?

Private Auction vs. Preferred Deal

How Do PMP Deals Differ From Other Programmatic Deals?

How Do Publishers Benefit From Private Marketplace Advertising?

How Do Advertisers Benefit From Private Marketplace Advertising?

What are Deal IDs in a Private Marketplace (PMP)?

What Are the Main Issues Media Buyers Have With the Private Marketplace?

What Are the Main Issues Publishers Have With the Private Marketplace?

How Does Publift Help Publishers?

What Is a Private Marketplace (PMP)?

A private marketplace is an invitation-only digital marketplace where exclusive parties programmatically buy and sell ad inventory.

PMPs are part of the programmatic advertising landscape designed to give digital publishers more control over their ad inventory. 

PMP advertising allows publishers to invite advertisers of their choice and organize real-time private exchanges of their ad inventory.

Why Advertisers Use PMPs

Ad fraud, concerns around violent and extremist content tarnishing brand reputations, and an increasing reliance on first- and second-party data, has seen advertisers move their programmatic spend from open exchanges into the premium placements offered by private marketplaces. 

Furthermore, with the advancement in PMP deals, their inventory discovery, campaign planning and management tools, it is no surprise that real-time bidding ad spend in PMPs has at times surpassed open exchanges, as advertisers seek to get the best bang for their advertising buck.

As of 2021, more than half of real-time bidding advertising spend in the United Kingdom was allocated to PMPs.

PMP (private marketplace) share of real-time bidding advertising spend in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2018 to 2021

Though private marketplaces are only for select inventory and brands, there are major benefits to using them.

PMP deals allows publishers to maintain the efficiency of programmatic, while ensuring their ad units are always filled with quality advertisements from reputable brands. This invite only marketplace protects the site's brand reputation and helps protect against ad fraud. 

Advertisers can also benefit from the efficiency that PMPs offer by purchasing space with a demand-side platform as they would on the open marketplace. Moreover, PMP offers advertisers the security of knowing whom they’re buying inventory from, thus increasing brand safety.

And since advertisers can get publisher data directly from the source, they can make more informed decisions about their messaging, placements, formats, and more.

US real-time bidding (RTB) digital display ad spending by segment 2015-2021

What Are PMP Deals?

Private marketplaces are customizable, invitation-only marketplaces where premium publishers make their inventory and audience available to selected buyers. Private marketplaces allow publishers to release select, premium inventory to a select group of advertisers willing to pay a higher CPM price tag.

Publishers curate a safe environment for buyers in exchange for a higher price. With private marketplaces, business intelligence is used to create the best of both worlds—the direct relationships between publishers and advertisers that are seen in traditional media buying, all while eliminating a lot of the manual work thanks to programmatic direct technology.

This means you get full site transparency, brand safety and programmatic buying efficiency. Buyers now have a priority buying option at a specific floor price before the inventory is open to the larger pool of advertisers.

Private marketplace deals

Private Auction vs. Preferred Deal

Private auctions are the essence of PMP advertising. They involve offering ad inventory on a publisher’s site to a selected pool of buyers and giving them priority access within a small auction before the ad inventory goes to the open auction.

They will bid above a negotiated minimum price in exchange for this but are not locked in to buy a certain volume of impressions and so can buy at their discretion.

Preferred deals, on the other hand, are usually a one-to-one deal where the advertiser is given priority access to a site’s ad inventory before others in exchange for a fixed, negotiated CPM. If the buyer decides not to bid or bids below the negotiated CPM, the inventory goes to the open auction. 

The amount of impressions isn’t guaranteed, but the audience is, as the buyers can use audience data to screen every impression before they buy.

How Do PMP Deals Differ From Other Programmatic Deals?

As previously noted, private marketplace advertising is just one branch of the programmatic advertising ecosystem. Other deals include real-time bidding (RTB) as well programmatic direct.

RTB features the sale of ad impressions via an instantaneous and automated auction.

Programmatic direct, meanwhile, involves publishers and advertisers negotiating direct deals with one another.

The difference between open auction, private auctions, preferred deals and guaranteed deals

The difference between open auction, private auctions, preferred deals and guaranteed deals.

How Do Publishers Benefit From Private Marketplace Advertising?

Publishers get to decide which buyers are invited into the private marketplace, giving them control over which buyers have access to premium inventory. PMPs also let publishers sell complete inventory packages priced at a better price.

Here are five key ways publishers can benefit from a private marketplace deal:

  • Higher CPMs. It’s so exclusive! There is a big demand for premium, high-performing inventory for top advertisers as brand safety and other quality issues like viewability continue to grow. This means more competition within your private marketplace and a higher price for your impressions.
  • Programmatic efficiency. It’s not quite as plug-and-play as an open auction, but they are still automated within DSPs and SSPs which means less work than direct sales.
  • Better relationships. You can get to know who is buying your packages and can offer them deals and first look privileges.
  • Transparency. Brands are in a better position to share their first-party data than on the open marketplace.
  • Removes the need for a direct sales team. PMPs can replace a very expensive sales team with technology.

How Do Advertisers Benefit From Private Marketplace Advertising?

Buyers get increased transparency and control. Buyers can ensure things like viewability and can make sure they are showing up against relevant and brand-safe content. Buyers may even get to use additional valuable information, like a publisher’s first-party data and the right of first refusal over impressions. Both parties get to leverage programmatic buying, much like in an RTB auction, improving efficiency for everyone.

Here are four key ways advertisers can benefit from a private marketplace deal:

  • Premium Inventory. Private marketplaces only offer high-value premium inventory space. Access to premium ad space leads to increased lead generation and conversions and as a result, buyers get a high ROI.
  • Programmatic efficiency. Instead of relying on a human team to broker deals, advertisers can purchase space with a demand-side platform.
  • Brand safety. Advertisers can be sure their brand won’t suffer a reputational hit.
  • Transparency. Advertisers get publisher data directly from the source and can make more informed decisions about their ad strategy.

What are Deal IDs in a Private Marketplace (PMP)?

Unlike in the open market, a deal ID is needed for a private marketplace deal. It is a unique string of characters defining things like priority, transparency, floor pricing, or data (depending on what platform you’re using). A deal ID is assigned to the inventory package which allows it to be purchased programmatically through a DSP.

Handshake over a deal

What Are the Main Issues Media Buyers Have With the Private Marketplace?

Insufficient inventory in the PMP advertising worlds is a big issue. It could be because inventory is reserved for guaranteed deals, sponsorships or takeovers. It could be because of excessive data overlays for audience targeting on both the buy side and the sell side which reduce scale dramatically so a buyer can only see a small piece of inventory.

Further to this, while PMPs are exclusive and offer protection against ad fraud, they are not entirely immune. While in the early days of PMPs, bots were relatively immature and easy to detect, botnets are now able to piggyback on existing malware-infected computers, reverse engineer detection solutions, and mimic human behaviors, including copying IP addresses, cookies, keystrokes and more. 

What Are the Main Issues Publishers Have With the Private Marketplace?

There are two key problems publishers have with the private marketplace:

  • Bidders could take advantage of publishers. Bidders can estimate what they think they need to bid on the open auction to get the impression, and with the PMP being fixed, they will just choose whichever is cheaper and buy it there.
  • Sales overhead. To start a PMP, the publisher needs to reach out to advertisers. They need to spend time and energy creating and setting up these deals with their selected advertisers.

However, there are effective solutions on the market that can help publishers overcome these pain points.

How Does Publift Help Publishers?

When you join the Publift community, you gain instant access to pre-existing buyer deals and private auctions which are usually only available to large publishers. We take care of setup, troubleshooting and reporting for you.

The benefit to you? Well, you get more premium ads which, in turn, generate more revenue for you.

‍Making the most of the PMP deals can be a challenge, particularly for smaller publishers who lack the reach for larger premium sellers. But, by joining the Publift network, you are automatically included on pre-existing deals with premium advertisers. So what are you waiting for?

Publift helps digital publishers get the most out of the ads on their websites. Publift has helped its clients realize an average 55% uplift in ad revenue since 2015, through the use of cutting-edge programmatic advertising technology paired with impartial and ethical guidance.

If you’re making more than $2,000 in monthly ad revenue, contact us today to learn more about how Publift can help increase your ad revenue and best optimize the ad space available on your website or app.

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