Companies don’t typically start centered around a mission of advertising or marketing revenue, unless they’re specifically building a marketing technology platform. For the most part, they start to distribute informative content, sell goods, experiences or services, enable transactions or something in between. This core business is what companies build their brand around and hopefully make revenue from. As companies build their business, they begin to grow assets such as differentiated data or inventory sources. These assets are extremely valuable to brands who want to advertise and target consumers on relevant content, which creates an opportunity for a new revenue stream. 

Historically, companies have monetized their assets through third parties who bring demand to their ad inventory or sell their data to other parties. Over the past decade, a trend has emerged as the walled gardens, Google, Facebook and Amazon, monetize their intent, behavior and purchase data, respectively, across their websites and apps with their own martech platforms. The trend of building in-house platforms is spreading as Walmart, Target, LinkedIn, Twitter, Ebay, Wall Street Journal and others start to build their own platforms. Working with a Platform Service, like NextRoll, enables any company to build their own marketing platform through enabling monetization of data and inventory assets via APIs. 

So a company wants to build their own martech platform, where do they start and how can a Platform Service help? Typically companies start with three initiatives to bring their marketing revenue stream in-house: 1.) Inventory Monetization 2.) Audience Extension 3.) Data Reselling

Inventory Monetization

What is it? When building an ad business, the most likely first step is to monetize first party data across owned and operated inventory, such as a website or app. Before generating demand directly, companies typically source demand from a third party. In order to properly service demand and brands directly, a company needs to onboard or build ad serving functionality and campaign set up and optimization tools, ideally within a self-serve platform.

Initially, a company usually builds a managed service team of ad ops specialists, who manually create and optimize campaigns. This seems easier to set up because it requires less technology and UI work. Unfortunately, it’s less scalable especially when working with mid-long tail brands. Building a self-serve platform allows for greater scale by putting the controls in the advertisers’ hands, but it requires technical components like automation. It also allows for greater transparency and controls for advertisers, often increasing turnaround times, while allowing customer teams’ to focus on relationship building, customer support and system improvements opposed to doing the basic campaign set-up and optimization work. 

Why use a Platform Service? A Platform Service provides the brain behind a self-service user interface. It can enable ad serving functionality to properly monetize supply with features like ad rotation, contextual and audience targeting and reporting. It also includes machine learning that dynamically serves the best creative, content and products to the right user, predicts the optimal bid price and smartly paces campaign budgets to reach your advertisers’ KPIs without humans having to optimize campaigns. In addition, machine learning gets smarter over time, which in turn delivers better performance for brands, so they’ll keep coming back.

Audience Extension 

What is it? Once companies’ begin monetizing their own inventory, a common and best-case scenario is that they run out of inventory to fulfill brands’ budgets. Instead of turning that budget away, companies can extend their audience onto other inventory sources. These inventory sources can be other websites, apps, social platforms, connected TVs and more. For example, a company with a listing website for local businesses has a pizza shop that wants to advertise to users that have searched for “pizza” in the last 4 hours with a $500 budget. This audience is relatively small and the listing company can only deliver $200 of the budget on their website. So they extend their inventory and target this audience across thousands of publishers and drive users back to their site where users can order pizza from that specific pizza shop.

Extending inventory sources allows a company to reach their first party audiences in more places. A martech platform that has audience extension built in allows for more control to optimize campaign results and show the best KPI outcomes for first party audiences, instead of leaving it to outside sources who may not effectively manage campaigns and therefore lessen chances of renewals or increase cancellations. Audience extension campaign formats tend to be native or dynamic creative ads that drive users back to the company’s site or app opposed to the brand’s website.

Why use a Platform Service? The basic technical infrastructure of audience extension is not very challenging, but getting access and building relationships with a variety of inventory partners can be difficult. Social inventory APIs are cumbersome and utilizing a DSP can be costly and require manual campaign set up. A Platform Service provides access to thousands of websites and platforms with just one or two APIs, like NextRoll’s Channels-as-a-Service, and an anonymized audience segment sharing mechanism, like our Audience-as-a-Service. When additional inventory is needed, a company can simply call the API to automatically create a campaign and run across this extended inventory without managing hundreds of inventory relationships and integrations. In addition, utilizing a platform services machine learning can help hit advertisers’ KPIs across this extended inventory, leading to more renewals and budget from brands.

Data Resell

What is it? There are certain brands that would really like to use a company’s audience data, but not necessarily on that company’s inventory. This occurs when the mindset of users on the company’s inventory doesn’t align with the brand goals or if they want to deliver ads across different formats. For example, they may want to use the company’s data to advertise on connected TV devices, but that company doesn’t have connected TV content. 

A data resell business enables brands to advertise solely outside of a company’s inventory with their own creative. This is a big opportunity for companies to open up new ad budgets from enterprise brands, who wouldn’t normally advertise directly. 

Why use a Platform Service? Typically, companies package this data up and put it in a DMP where they get paid a flat rate for any usage. This limits the engagement with the end advertiser utilizing the data and lessens the ability to ensure the data is effective in reaching campaign KPI goals. Using a Platform Service not only allows access to other inventory sources, but it can segment, quality score, enrich and activate audience segments and attributes while utilizing machine learning to deliver views, engagements, clicks and actions. Building a data resell program in-house ensures a company’s data will be secure, increases margins by eliminating third parties, leads to better performance outcomes and enables a direct relationship with the existing and new brands. 

These three initiatives are where most companies start when bringing a martech platform in-house. From here companies can build attribution and measurement offerings to tell brands’ a holistic customer journey and enhance their machine learning to deliver better outcomes. They can open up more complex overlapping audience segments and attributes along with new ad formats. If the company’s data and inventory is highly valued and the platform is easy to use, demand comes relatively easily.  

To learn more about bringing your marketing technology platform in-house, reach out to NextRoll Platform Services.