What is an Agency Trading Desk?

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Agency Trading Desk Lumascape

Understanding the Lumascape: What is an Agency Trading Desk?

The Lumascape and other infographics about programmatic tell the story of a separate, yet united ecosystem of digital advertising. DigitalAdBlog is embarking on a journey to educate the world how each piece fits together in this ever expanding digital universe. Let’s Start with the Agency Trading Desk definition.

Agency trading desks were a product of creation from digital advertising. Agencies Such as Omnicon, Publicis, and WPP had to embrace programmatic buying during its rise to prominence and buy media in real time. Media buying on the internet was and still is truly a wild west where traditional methodology must to be thrown out the door to be successful. Data, relationships and web traffic all have to be fully understood and innovated upon in order to be successful in programmatic trading.

Nobody really knew the true power of advertising on the internet, but it was clear that the world was becoming an integrated hub of mass commerce and communication. These specialized trading desks buy media through various digital channels and platforms on behalf of brands, spending their dollars to from agencies into Demand Side Platforms known as DSP’s. DSP to SSP Examples of DSP’s include Turn, Invite and MediaMath. Demand side platforms plug into ad exchanges such as the late Right Media Exchange (RMX) AppNexus, FaceBook Exchange (FBX) and many more. Agency trading desks are the opening passageway for a publisher to ultimately see money from the brands that are seamlessly advertising on their websites, with a whole bunch of players in between taking a cut.

In an ideal real time bidding scenario, a publisher ultimately wants all of the major Agency trading desks dumping brand dollars into DSPs, which get funneled to ad networks (some are referred to as Supply Side Platforms or SSPs) that house a large majority of publishers both large and small who power the digital ecosystem.

When are ATD CPM’s the highest?

In Quarter 4 during each fiscal year, advertiser demand skyrockets due to the holiday season, when consumers spend much more compared to the other times of the year. This is very lucrative for the whole industry and leads to extremely high CPM’s on their ad impressions. Ad networks reach out to many publishers to buy their display, mobile and tablet inventory as well as custom rich media units to ramp up on the amount of supply they have for their advertisers to spend money on.

List of Agency Trading Desks:

Here is a list of the most well know ATD’s.

Accordant Media Small LogoAccordant Media
Cadreon Small LogoCadreon
Digilant Small LogoDigilant
Impaqt Small LogoImpaqt
Run Small LogoRun
Varick Media Small LogoVarick Media
Vivaki Small LogoVivaki
Xaxis Small LogoXaxis

To learn more detail about programmatic ad exchanges see:

The Mini-Ecosystem of a Programmatic Ad Network