Q&A with Eric Litman: Medialets’ Move to RTB

Last week, Medialets, a mobile rich media advertising platform that currently supports more than 20 billion monthly impressions, launched Medialets Private Marketplace, a fully transparent buying platform that lets advertisers directly plan, buy, execute and measure brand advertising on the mobile properties of the world’s top publishers. The launch of Medialets Private Marketplace emphasizes the increasing importance of RTB in the mobile landscape. AdMonsters was fortunate to land an interview with Medialets CEO Eric Litman, who presented at December’s OPS Mobile, to discuss the impact of Medialets Private Marketplace. If you’d like to learn more about Mobile Advertising, be sure to stay tuned for our second AdMonsters OPS Mobile event in the works for April 19th in New York, and OPS Mobile London, scheduled for May 16th! Read on…


Hi Eric. To begin with, how does real time bidding (RTB) impact the marketplace?


Medialets Private Marketplace provides a new opportunity for publishers to augment direct, premium sales, with a low-friction path for agencies to execute buys in mobile. RTB plays an important role in this in that it opens up premium smartphone and tablet inventory to agency trading desks, but in in our Marketplace it does so in a way that takes into consideration the needs of premium publishers.


For example, Medialets Private Marketplace is “invite-only” which means that each publisher that chooses to participate controls which brands and agencies can view and buy inventory through the platform – at no time will publisher inventory be made available to purchase for any bidder that has not been pre-approved. Likewise, the ability to set pricing floors for inventory gives publishers additional control. Our goal is to make mobile inventory easier to buy without getting in the way of publishers’ relationships with agencies and advertisers. 


But RTB is only one piece of a much broader set of offerings in Private Marketplace. 


Why is now the time for RTB (as opposed to a few years ago or a year from now)?


RTB has gained momentum in recent years, but it’s largely for online buys. The difficulty of enabling mobile brand buys at scale – due in part to the dynamic landscape, but also just for the inconsistency of inventory and spec data – has made RTB a challenge for mobile. Medialets Private Marketplace changes that by giving agencies a much more comprehensive view into mobile inventory than has previously been available. 


What features does the Medialets Private Marketplace offer beyond RTB and how will these features affect the advertisers, agencies, and publishers involved?


In addition to RTB, Medialets Private Marketplace enables guaranteed, reserved inventory buys for premium smartphone and tablet inventory. For advertisers, these buys feel very much like a direct buy in that an advertiser will book a specific block of inventory over a defined time period for a set price.


But, because inventory availability, specs and insertion orders are all handled through a single point of contact, Medialets Private Marketplace makes it easier for advertisers to buy more mobile, more frequently. Fewer spreadsheets and phone calls make the process much easier and cost-effective for buyers.


For publishers, less complexity translates to more frequent buys. But it is important to note that publishers maintain granular control over how, when and to whom inventory is sold through Medialets Private Marketplace. Medialets Private Marketplace complements direct sales efforts–without asking publishers to sacrifice control over inventory, pricing or relationships.


Can publishers choose how they work with Medialets Private Marketplace?


Yes. Participating publishers can choose to participate in guaranteed buys, RTB or both. Moreover, publishers and advertisers can continue to work with Medialets’ rich media ad serving platform independent of the marketplace. 


Check out the full press release here.