How a Better Understanding of the Digital Media Supply Chain Can Give Brands a Leg Up

Complexity is the name of the game, but that can be used to a competitive advantage

Jounce founder and president Chris Kane spoke with Anheuser-Busch's digital media director, Laurel Van Tassel, at Adweek's NexTech 2020 Virtual Summit. Adweek
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Chris Kane’s job is to take a look at a brand’s digital ad buys to see where there are overlaps that can be eliminated to improve the efficiency of the entire strategy. But in order to do that, brands have to understand exactly what they’re buying through each exchange.
Kane, founder and president of supply chain optimization firm Jounce Media, talked about how that can be accomplished during Adweek’s NexTech 2020 Virtual Summit today. Joining Kane on the virtual stage was Anheuser-Busch digital media director Laurel Van Tassel, who shared how the brewer has cracked the code on how to buy effectively.
When Van Tassel first started looking into the brand’s programmatic ad buys, she said that the company was buying across more than 50 exchanges, a number of which “were completely unknown,” she said.
“That was completely leading to inefficiency and overlapping inventory, which really caused us just to overpay for exchange fees,” said Van Tassel. Knowing that, the team worked to build long-term partnerships with supply-side platforms to look into things like path transparency, fraud refunds and data targeting capabilities so that AB’s ads are only being served to legal drinking age consumers.
While there’s an initial assumption on the part of buyers that limiting the number of exchanges cuts off access to certain inventory, that doesn’t happen when the approach is transparent and strategic, said Van Tassel. “Once you start to understand the inventory that each of the SSPs have available, you can start narrowing them down and strategically place them based off of your media buys.”
Understanding exactly what’s in your ad buy also gave Anheuser-Busch more flexibility to work through a specific SSP if they choose to, in order to ensure they can partner with a high-value publisher if need be. The more targeted approach has allowed the brand to cut its sell-side take rate but almost 5%, said Van Tassel.
Looking forward, Anheuser-Busch is working with Jounce to optimize supply paths within its negotiated SSPs, turning off inefficient paths and turning on the more efficient ones. “That process kicked off about two weeks ago,” said Van Tassel, “so we’re excited to see how that improves our KPIs and go from there.”
Watch the full discussion below:

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@klundster kathryn.lundstrom@adweek.com Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.