Welcoming transparency, efficiency to programmatic advertising

Media buyers are optimising supply paths to ensure every dollar of ad spend is impactful, making room for supply-path optimisation (SPO).

Amelie Grenier-Bolay PubMatic programmatic advertising
Amélie Grenier-Bolay, country manager – Italy and MENA, PubMatic

In the quarter-century since the inception of online advertising, the dynamics between buyers and sellers have undergone significant transformations.

Digital advertising spend in MENA reached $6.25 billion in 2023, marking a 13.6 per cent increase over the previous year and adding over $700 million to the market, with projections for continued growth in the region.

As more brand advertising dollars flow into the programmatic ecosystem, industry players on both sides are increasingly demanding greater transparency and efficiency throughout the supply chain.

Media buyers have begun optimising their supply paths to ensure every dollar of ad spend is impactful. As a result, the concept of supply-path optimisation (SPO) has evolved.

Yet, despite SPO’s global reach and adoption, misconceptions about its definition, impact, and implementation persist.

Understanding SPO

SPO is an evaluation process in media purchasing that allows buyers and traders to assess the effectiveness of supply chain partners. It identifies opportunities for enhanced transparency and innovation in bidding processes. There are several key benefits of having such a process in place.

At its core, SPO ensures higher efficiencies across the supply chain, from costs, win rate, to yield, through a greater reach in quality inventory and audience. The simplification and transparency gained from SPOs improve decision-making and accountability, ultimately maximising advertising spend and ROI.

Setting up an SPO strategy

For SPO to be beneficial, these four steps have to be considered:

1. Assess

It is essential for buyers to have a comprehensive understanding of both their supply mix and their own pillars for success. To achieve this, buyers should analyse their total spend across supply-side platforms (SSPs) and publishers. This analysis will provide a clear picture of where their media budget is currently being allocated.

2. Evaluate

With a clear understanding of their supply landscape and the unique factors that drive their ROI, buyers can begin evaluating their partners. Before initiating outreach, buyers should ensure internal alignment and clearly define their supply strategy. Key questions to address include:

  • What are my supply goals?
  • What key attributes do I seek in my sell-side partners?
  • Do they have access to audience addressability solutions?
3. Consolidate

Leverage insights gained from the previous phases to refine your consolidation strategy. Focus on forming partnerships that can support sustainable, long-term growth.

4. Optimise

Continual evaluation and refinement are crucial to maintaining an optimal supply path. Given that supply-path optimisation (SPO) decisions often factor in future actions by selected partners, it is important to track their progress and ensure that campaign performance metrics are being met.

Lastly, it is important to cultivate strong relationships with selected SSPs to adapt to evolving industry needs. The benefits of getting your SPO strategy right can have a significant impact in terms of detecting excessive fees and inefficiencies.

In MENA’s actively maturing programmatic market, adopting SPO can provide an immediate competitive edge in the short term and significant advantages over the long haul. The region has seen rising omnichannel innovations from brands across industries over the last few years.

By adopting SPO, buyers can ensure that each advertising dollar is well-spent, while publishers can unlock unique demand and better understand buyer preferences. SPO can be a lever for industry players in MENA to double down on making a robust, trustworthy ecosystem that supports sustainable growth and innovation.

By Amélie Grenier-Bolay, country manager – Italy and MENA, PubMatic