The Rundown: The Trade Desk’s take on the next year in ad tech

Media buyers and publishers yesterday packed the halls of New York’s The Times Center, where The Trade Desk laid out its vision for alternatives to third-party cookies.

Dubbed Forward ‘24: TV’s Tipping Point, the event was hosted the same month as the industry’s largest independent demand-side platform revealed GAAP revenue of nearly $2 billion for 2023, up 23% from the previous year.

Although it is in the coming year, with the industry at a crossroads for the future of ad targeting and campaign measurement both on TV and online, where the answers to some of the industry’s most crucial questions lie.

Sharing a stage with leading media executives from PepsiCo, Samsung Mobile, and Unilever, leading execs at the DSP shared their vision for the year ahead.

Industry dynamics are getting more complicated

Speaking on stage with veteran media executive Lou Paskalis, The Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green was quizzed on whether or not the evolving dynamics between marketers, media agencies and tech platforms meant they may go “more client direct” in future?

Green’s answer was nuanced, but he did acknowledge how the traditional dynamics of the industry are in flux. “I want to be clear, we have never been interested in disintermediating agencies,” he said, but, “it is going to get more complicated… the need for agents and advisors is greater than it’s ever been before.”

Per Green’s assessment, as more marketers take more direct control of their first-party data operations, and while others may continue to opt for an outsourced model, the role of tech-providers will evolve.

“Some will use agencies – and I think the most of them will – so it’s important that we have a relationship with both agencies and clients,” he said, adding how continued relationships with agencies are critical to the company’s future.

SPO is coming to CTV

Digiday recently revealed how The Trade Desk is rolling out direct integrations with CTV publishers such as Vizio and Cox Media Group with sources in the sector, who wished to remain anonymous due to commercial sensitivities, also confirming they are in similar talks with The Trade Desk.

Of course, all of this is an extension of its pre-existing supply-path optimization program OpenPath, a program where it integrates directly with media owners, instead of via traditional supply-path partners, a program that it is now bringing to its CTV operations.

Identity and interoperability are key to its rollout

In what is billed as the last year of the third-party cookie given the planned sunsetting of its support within Google Chrome, the entire sector turning to a series of bespoke replacements, or identifiers.

Arguably, The Trade Desk-led UID2 is the most high profile version of such offerings with the DSP’s chief commercial officer telling Forward ‘24 attendees most of the major CTV streaming platforms support the identifier.

Appearing on stage with Green was also Disney svp of addressable sales Jamie Power who explained how the company began building its own first-party datasets, or “identity-graph,” in order to boost match rates with advertisers.

Over the last two years, this has included an interoperability partnership with UID2 in a bid to bolster addressability, with Power informing conference attendees how it intends to use such techniques to make 75% of its operations automated within the next three years.

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