What is an agency trading desk?

Agency trading desks are still relatively new, so if you haven’t wrapped your head around this member of the growing online advertising family tree, that’s OK. In this post, we’ll get you up to speed on what trading desks are, why they’re becoming more popular and why more clients are opting to use them.

What are they? Digital ad trading desks are centralized management platforms used by ad agencies that specialize in programmatic media and audience buying. They are typically layered on top of a DSP or other audience buying technologies.

Why all the hype? Trading desks attempt to help clients improve their advertising performance and receive increased value from their display advertising. Trading desk staff don’t just plan and buy media. They also measure results and report audience insights to their clients. All the major holding companies have agency trading desks, including Havas, IPG, WPP and Omnicom.

Why are they becoming more popular among advertisers? Trading desks were created in order to give the client and the agency more control over the ad placement. When working with an ad network, the client often has limited say over where the ad is placed. Working with a trading desk allows the client to direct where ad dollars and spent and more closely examine the results to optimize if necessary.

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