Get to know...iSocket

As you probably know,  we’re launching a programmatic initiative in,  where we will be publishing programmatic guaranteed-direct and private marketplace inventory from various third-party buy-channels, such as SSPs and other vendors that facilitate the automated buying of premium publisher inventory. One of those guaranteed direct platforms is iSocket. Today on the blog, we’d like to share an introduction to iSocket, including specifics around the platform and what makes it unique. Thanks to Caroline Watts, Head of Marketing for iSocket, for speaking with us.

Founded in 2009, iSocket is a programmatic direct platform that helps publishers and buyers automate the buying and selling of guaranteed media. In 2011, the company integrated with Google’s DFP and in 2012, launched the first API-based platform designed to automate reserved media sales. Since 2012, iSocket has focused on broadening its technology to better serve the publishers who rely on iSocket for Publishers (iFP) for sales automation and to meet the needs of the sophisticated buyers who use iSocket for Advertisers (iFA).

iSocket’s media-buying tool, iFA, is used by agencies and brands to automate reserved media buys. The current version of iFA, which launched in January 2014, and offers buyers a faster, easier way to buy well-defined, guaranteed inventory directly from top publishers, without sacrificing the inventory and placement quality that buyers expect from direct deals. Through automation, iSocket eliminates many of the errors and overhead costs that plague the manual media sales process.

iFA is unique in that it gives buyers programmatic access to well-defined, high-impact ad units that were traditionally only available through direct sales. These include homepage, above-the-fold, section-specific and rising stars – many items you may not find from other programmatic partners or in a private marketplace environment.

Further, one of iSocket’s main value propositions is its publisher catalog. Publishers must apply to sell through iFP, and only a few hundred have made iSocket’s exclusive roster. Buyers can access and buy high-quality inventory from publishers, such as Microsoft, Condé Nast, and Forbes. iSocket plugs directly into publishers’ primary ad servers, which is how it accesses reserved inventory. Within iFA, planners and buyers can maintain individual relationships with each publisher and can access their inventory in one place.

iSocket also provides a free account management service layer to all the buyers in its system to help them get the most out of the platform. The technology makes the buying process dramatically easier but, the account management service takes things a step further.

Within iFA, buyers have the ability to customize many aspects of a campaign that they’d typically be able to do in a direct buy. They can send an RFP to a publisher or group of publishers, or send an offer to a publisher for the number of impressions they’d like at a price that they’d like to pay . Buyers can also select campaign dates, the types of ad units they want to buy and if a publisher offers custom targeting, such as geo or their own first-party audience data, a buyer can add those layers within the interface. iFA also simplifies optimization and budget reallocation through digital change orders. Further, iSocket also facilitates negotiations between the buyer and seller. When an advertiser submits a proposal, the publisher approves the details, including creative, before it goes live.

To find out more about iSocket, click here.

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