What to expect from your trading desk?

Expertise, support and technology: here is a breakdown of trading desks’ role to help you choose yours wisely

Digital keeps offering new opportunities for brands to address their targets : advertisers count endless channels, formats, datas and measurement indicators to manage their digital campaigns. But it is as much of a blessing than it is a curse, since as the ecosystem gets richer and more diverse it also becomes complex and hard to grasp. So how can advertisers differentiate false promises from real opportunities? How to choose a partner that will manage your campaign in full transparency while assuring the best results? Most importantly, what should you expect from a trading desk ? Here is a list of the must haves: Human expertise, trading desk’s corner stone

  1. Complementary skills.

Expertise is key when it comes to media buying and programmatic.  That is why it is essential to question your partner about its organisation and assigned resources to guarantee your campaigns’ success. Beyond the emblematic media trader, the service provided by a trading desk is based on many talents and compentencies :

  • The media buyer: defines the optimal deal IDs and has a strong knowledge of media inventories. Negotiation skills are valuable too.
  • The developer: enhances the trading desk technological solutions and plugs the advertiser’s ecosystem to it.
  • The data scientist: develops specific algorithms for each campaign.
  • The data analyst: provides insights based on the analysis of the campaign’s data.
  • Last but not least, the account manager : makes sure the advertiser is updated and understands the campaign management. They play a central role in the client relationship by offering a daily follow up, detecting and sharing useful insights and providing relevant media devices.

a. A dedicated support system.

Programmatic is too often considered as an opaque lever. Trading desks must now educate and reassure advertisers by offering more transparency on how the campaigns are managed and therefore  building trust. For successful programmatic activations, the support team needs to be easy to reach and the dialogue quite steady (weekly call, monthly reports and regular workshops). This can be achieved simply by assigning a dedicated contact to do the campaign follow up and providing reporting tools available anytime.

b. A personalised support for each step of the campaign.

With the rise of technologies and buying automations, the trading desk has to be more than just a buyer. Your partner must know how to guide you before you start you campaign and challenge your results and goals while it’s running. Thus, the trading desk not only has to be able to answer all your questions but also encourage you to ask yourself the right questions: are the selected KPIs adapted to the campaign objectives? Which levers match best the chosen KPIs and the allocated budget? How to position programmatic in the media mix? On ad exchanges, which broadcasting context should be privileged?

  1. Mastering the market tools.

a. A multi-DSPs approach.

The chosen DSP (Demand Side Platform) is another decisive criteria to evaluate the expertise of the trading desk. Does it work with one or several DSPs? Does it use a primary solution or market references? Providers giving priority to primary solutions are unable to compete with tech major actors, their armada of engineers and developers allowing them to always provide the latest innovations. Furthermore, some formats like native or DOOH call specific DSPs as well as closed environments imposing specific purchase plateforms like Amazon, Facebook or Snapchat.

b. Other solutions.

Besides a multi-DSP activity, the trading desk should know how to connect external tools to those buying plateforms. It can be advertisers’ solutions to deepen the result analysis (attribution, drive to web, ROPO measurement) or partners’ solutions to ensure the smooth functioning of the activation (brand safety, fraud detection…). Naturally, to activate campaigns on these different platforms and hedge all the client’s issues, the trading desk needs human resources trained to use those DSPs and other solutions.

  1. Innovation at the heart of the activity.

a. Proprietary technologies.

Among important DSPs on the market, the analysis should be pushed further since only a few of them allow buyers to integrate their own algorithms, which benefits the advertiser. It is therefore essential to check that the trading desk develops its own technologies to improve media buying, for example audience scoring, bidding or real time personalization messages (DCO: dynamic creative optimization). Once again, the expertise of the trading desk and its capacity to offer solutions adapted to your specific needs are essential to achieve better performances.

b. Innovative partnerships and offers

In a constantly evolving market, trading desks must regularly renew and adapt their offer in order to provide innovating and exclusive activations. To this end, it is important to create synergies with complementary actors: audience datas providers, inventories providers or omnichannel technologies (ROPO measurement, digital TV convergence,…).


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