PubMatic adopts Adelaide’s attention metrics to create ‘supply chain 2.0’

Illustration of two people in a meeting.

In the never-ending search for more efficient and effective advertising, it’s no secret attention metrics have taken root as a viable option for buyers and demand-side players. Its proponents tout its ability to secure better outcomes and generate more efficient buys. 

Now the sell side is buying into attention, by way of an exclusive deal between attention metrics firm Adelaide and programmatic vendor PubMatic, Digiday has learned. Pubmatic is a month or two into incorporating Adelaide’s AU attention metric into its offerings. 

As a reminder, Adelaide’s AU attention metric measures an ad’s likelihood of attention and subsequent impact using a machine learning algorithm trained to proxy outcomes. The algorithm evaluates hundreds of media quality signals, eye-tracking data and outcome data to generate what Adelaide and other attention metrics firms say is a precise but nuanced quality score for each placement. 

As Jeff Giacchetti, programmatic lead for Colgate Palmolive North America, noted, having attention metrics on the sell-side of the buy-sell equation enables brands to now look left and right, proverbially, along the supply-path optimization trail. 

“Over the last couple of years we’ve seen an encouraging relationship between attention metrics and positive qualitative outcomes, from the demand side of programmatic activation, so this was an exciting opportunity to observe attention metrics within inventory across the supply side,” said Giacchetti, who is working to incorporate attention metrics into the brand’s use of inventory accessed via PubMatic. 

“We know that path optimization is critical to performance and realizing our ambition of maximizing consumer brand experience,” he added. “Seeing this metric at both sides of the transaction allows me to understand the full potential of attention metrics.”

PubMatic’s vp of addressability, Peter Barry, sees the advance as a step toward building “supply chain 2.0,” as he put it. “When you push metrics like this to a DSP [demand-side platform], the issue you have is there are plenty of buyers who don’t use that particular DSP, so you’re limiting your reach and scope and maybe leaving money on the table,” said Barry. “The value prop of our company is that we work with 150-plus DSPs, so by pushing it to the supply side, you can allow any buyer to access that.”

Marc Guldimann, Adelaide’s founder and CEO, sees this is as a key step to better curation of inventory. “This is the beginning of the sell side platforms adopting and trying to figure out the best way to apply attention metrics to programmatic,” he said. “This is the application of attention metrics to what SSPs are good at, which is curation and creating marketplaces that have been customized to the needs of an advertiser or set of advertisers.”

On the buy side, the use of attention metrics has been about filtering inventory to bid on the most effective ads, said Guldimann. And PubMatic’s Barry added that having it on both sides of the supply path ultimately can lead to better efficiency for brand spend. 

“It’s very complementary to other kinds of KPIs that they might have like cost per acquisition,” said Barry. “This would essentially drive their costs down because it’s more effective and gets a better return on investment.”

Looking at it from the brand side, Giacchetti said it’s too early to tell the impact of attention metrics on SSPs. He said he plans in the coming months to generate a case study on the effects of applying attention, once it’s been in market long enough.

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