Is programmatic trading the solution for publishers' online financial model conundrum

FTBe it paywalls, native advertising or every trick in between, publishers are still stuck in trial and error mode. And the industry’s relationship with programmatic trading is no different, with publishers jostling to find the right strategy and squeeze the biggest benefits, and in turn looking inwards to establish exactly what they can offer advertisers that bigger sites, such as Facebook with its envious number of page impressions, can’t.

Take the Financial Times, for example, which is on a more solid ground with its programmatic strategy than some publishers have managed so far. The FT sits confidently behind its paywall, and when it comes to advertisers, brand quality matters. The benefit of being a high quality publication is that high quality – and better paying – advertisers will be interested. For programmatic to be a real benefit for publishers, the key is filling unsold inventory for a good price, not for rock-bottom scraps.

“We approach programmatic from a sales perspective on a par with directly sold campaigns,” says Anthony Hitchings, digital advertising operations director at the Financial Times. “That means the same level of audience targeting is available – it’s the same price and it’s the same quality of service. Our focus is on private marketplace deals and basically guaranteed buys.

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