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OMG UK reports less waste and more publisher money with Marketplace programmatic launch

This article was originally published in Campaign.

Omnicom Media Group has formally launched Marketplace, its new programmatic platform, which it claims has eliminated the amount of money that disappears into the unknown in the notoriously murky digital advertising supply chain.

OMG Marketplace, which came into fruition in April and officially launched last week, allows advertisers to see the full set of fees within the programmatic ecosystem.

It has been developed with the UK government since OMG agency Manning Gottlieb OMD successfully pitched for the UK media buying account in 2018. Since then, OMG has been running its own audit of the programmatic supply chain and has been putting into place a number of measures to make the ecosystem more transparent, with publishers receiving more ad revenue.

OMG now says that only no money spent on programmatic through OMG Marketplace is lost in the so-called “unknown delta”, due to the platform being 100% transparent. ISBA and PwC, which coined the term in their recent report on the programmatic supply chain, estimated the “unknown delta” to be 15%. It analysed the premium end of programmatic and estimated that the true discrepancy is even higher across the market.

Through its 18-month trial with the Government Communication Service, for which MG OMD has created a bespoke division called OmniGov, OMG has been able to reinvest 12% more working media that the current programmatic system would enable. It has already brought on board 10 “major” UK media publishers and plans to “aggressively” continue bringing 20 more on board this year.

By isolating and reducing technology fees that are typically integrated into the supply-side process, OMG says it can increase the portion of clients’ programmatic budget that makes its way to media owners, thus increasing the “working media” component of a programmatic buy. This, in turn, should allow for online advertising to reach better-quality media and for media buying to be more efficient.

One of the key ways it does this is by tackling the problem of “chicken and egg” permissioning that the ISBA/PwC report highlighted in May. PwC could only properly audit 11% of programmatic ad impressions because of how difficult it is to get the same quality of data from demand-side platforms and supply-side platforms when looking at what prices were bought and sold for the same online ad.

Mia Mulch, deputy managing director at OMG Programmatic, told Campaign that Marketplace has three pillars that operate together: SSPs are directly contracted by OMG (via Xandr); publishers are paid directly by OMG instead of sequential SSP publishers; and a dedicated team at OMG curates custom publisher inventory.

These measures, she said, have enabled OMG to double the matched rate of impressions that PwC was able to achieve in the report (11%), with 50% more budget going to publishers than what was shown in that report (49%).

“We have full access to the SSP platform – we’re the ones with keyboards pushing the buttons, for example, the same way that our agencies do with DSPs,” Mulch explained. “This allows us to conduct our own supply path optimisation, cutting out intermediaries and confirming that this is really genuine inventory coming from the publishers that are on board.

“This is effective immediately… we support industry-wide solutions and we are part of a number of entities, but we feel this is the most immediate answer,” she added.

OMG Marketplaces is already live in the Nordics, Spain and Germany and now the UK. It expects to complete the global rollout, including in the US, later this year. Alongside OMD Group (which comprises OMD UK and MG OMD in the UK), OMG is the parent of PHD and Hearts & Science.