Charting a Course for the Future of Trading: A Recap of Our Summit

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Just three months ago, some were speculating that AppNexus was planning to exit the buy-side. Speaking candidly, we understand where the sentiment was coming from. The fact is, we have been quiet on buy-side technology of late, but not because we were planning to sunset that side of our business – that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Our mission as a company is to build a better internet, which doesn’t just mean helping content creators monetize or creating a better experience for users – both are critical, but it’s equally important that we help advertisers reach their desired audiences in an effective, cost-efficient, brand-safe manner.

That’s why we’ve spent the last four years rebuilding our DSP from the ground up around powerful machine learning technology to create the AppNexus Programmable Platform.

Last week’s Summit on the Future of Trading was our chance to formally launch this exciting new tool. Beyond that, it was also our day to put the buy-side front and center and discuss the biggest issues advertisers face with programmatic today, such as:


  • Ad tech providers charging non-transparent fees
  • Brand safety and fraud issues
  • Uncertainty in audience targeting and performance measurement


Simply put, these are the biggest problems we face in our mission to build a better internet. Solving these issues will make programmatic a more reliable channel – and also make traders more effective in their day-to-day work.


So, what’s next for the buy-side?


At Summit, we brought together some of the most innovative minds in ad tech to brainstorm solutions to these issues. Below is a quick recap of what we discussed, along with links to videos of each main stage talk:


  1. How we built APP. AppNexians Suzanne O’Kelley, Ron Lissack, Megan Arend, and Rezwan Khan kicked things off by showing the crowd how we rebuilt our existing DSP around machine learning to create the world’s first ever programmable DSP. The result is a tool that can automatically hit traders’ defined performance goals while incorporating complex targeting parameters, all in a simplified, intuitive user interface.
  2. Fighting fraud and preserving brand safety. You may not know it, but AppNexus has an entire data science team dedicated to brand safety and fraud prevention. Two members of that team, Michael Misiewicz and Laura Yu, took the stage to share some of the cutting-edge techniques we use to keep non-human traffic and risky content off our platform.
  3. Cleaning up the programmatic supply chain. A panel of experts from Accordant Media, GroupM, and Amino Payments discussed the latest methods they’re using to ensure that more of the money advertisers spend goes directly to publishers, rather than to intermediaries.
  4. Making machine learning more than a buzzword. It seems like every company these days is touting their impressive yet vague machine learning capabilities. But in this presentation, our Chief Data Scientist Catherine Williams cut through the noise and told us exactly what machine learning is and how it can help traders improve campaign performance by optimizing allocation, impression valuation, bidding strategy, and creative choices. She then led a panel of experts from Affiperf, Amnet, Media IQ, and Xaxis to explore how these new capabilities will change the role of traders by taking repetitive tasks off their plates and enabling them to be more strategic partners to the brands they work with.
  5. Activating voters with people-based advertising. At our EMEA Summit in May, we announced the formation of an ad tech consortium whose goal is to create a standard identity framework to enable deterministic, people-based targeting across all channels and devices. This Summit, we got to show you the fruits of our labor. Joined by experts from LiveRamp and Programmatic Mechanics, Democracy Works co-founder Kathryn Peters walked us through a case study of how her organization uses IdentityLink to increase voter participation through digital advertising.
  6. The Future of Connected TV. Our resident video experts Eric Hoffert and Michelle Smith were joined by leaders from Turner, Tru Optik, and comScore to discuss the improved targeting, audience profiling, and measurement capabilities turning CTV into a more effective programmatic channel. We were also proud to announce a partnership with Tru Optik to improve CTV targeting and attribution on the AppNexus platform.


With minds like these building new tools to tackle the biggest issues in programmatic, we feel confident that the future is bright for the buy-side. In the meantime, be sure to download our latest white paper to learn more about how ad tech can address the changing needs of programmatic traders.

Filed under AppNexus Events, AppNexus Updates, Industry Perspectives.

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