Outdoor advertisement hoardings in Dubai. The ‘demand side platforms’ model is the new trend on the advertising tech block. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News Archiv

Dubai: Digital is going wide in the Middle East. And with it new digital platforms are being created offering advertisers and marketers an opportunity to get across to their audiences without them having to break a bank.

Welcome then to the world of ‘demand side platforms’ (DSP). “The whole ethos of the DSP is to connect agencies and advertisers with our premium site traffic via a direct online access,” said Jamie Atherton, commercial director at AdZouk, which has partnered Google to go live with AdZouk DSP. (The AdZouk network currently features more than 700 websites.)

“Through real-time bidding (RTB), agencies and advertisers can bid for this traffic via a private auction, giving the most sought after traffic to the highest CPM (cost per mille) bidder.”

On the new platform, advertisers can either buy fully managed or self-serve modes, optimise their campaigns using RTB tools from Google, and use newer features to buy media such as ‘guaranteed minimum CTR (click through rates)’ and CPA (cost per action) models.

“The element of RTB which is most interesting is that you can pay the right price at the right time for an impression — bidding for the audience that you want,” said Atherton.

“At present, the bidding environment among DSPs is fairly solid, yet I’m a big believer in evolution as long as it continues to bring RoI for the client and doesn’t impact on the supplier or publisher revenues.

“The immediate advances in RTB lie in data capture; there’s a huge amount of data that can be pulled from RTB buys, but without the technology behind it the buyer is losing out. Our tie-up with Google gives us this technology.”

Not that the DSP model is the new trend on the tech block. While it has done the rounds in the past, it is now that advances in technology have made them more relevant to advertisers.

“Regionally digital media has focused on the big CPM and standard banner formats and we’ve been behind the advances made in Western Europe and the States,” said Atherton.

“More importantly, the acceptance of online advertising within the region has taken time.”

“In 2012, digital ad spend was up 12.5 per cent to $2.2 billion in the UK; in the Gulf we do see growth, but it’s not at that level and that’s hampered advances. Whether its format-based or buying-based, the region is catching up and DSPs are one such way we’re becoming more aligned with other more established market places.”

For the digitally uninitiated, these might all sound like a lot of acronyms which do not offer the simplicity of an ad insert in a print media or the 30-second TV commercial. But, Kassem Raidan, senior account manager at Quisma, a subsidiary of WPP’s GroupM division, look closer and there is value to be had. (Quisma has its own proprietary format — Qisma Media Platform — in this space.)

“Demand side platform has a great impact on the value of the investment with its real time bidding,” said Raidan. “We have the ability to bid for the right space to show the right ad to the right person at the right time. As a direct response technique with online users, RTB will have the chance to identify potential customers to drive them to advertisers’ website to increase purchases.

In addition, DSPs will achieve long-term value for advertisers with a more accurate pool of insights about potential customers, making it easier to retarget them with different call to actions or messages. Real-time bidding also eliminates wastage of ad impressions as it will optimise the cost per impressions towards accurate results on the advertisers website.”