Havas Media Is the First Agency to Join Prebid

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Marketers will now have a larger voice in Prebid, a coalition of ad-tech companies that standardizes programmatic monetization.

Havas Media Group is the first media agency to join the coalition’s ranks. Prebid is mostly made up of sell-side ad-tech companies and publishers, so adding a buy-side member can help guide the design and implementation of new products, said Prebid chair Tom Kershaw.

“If Havas can help us get to something that’s real and actionable that a buyer can really use easily, that’d be a huge gain for the industry,” said Kershaw, who is also chief technology officer at Magnite, a supply-side platform. 

Prebid has bolstered its ranks lately, as independent ad-tech and publishers look to stay competitive with walled gardens. Index Exchange, an SSP, joined the group in July, and The Trade Desk became the first demand-side platform to join the group last November. 

There are multiple product management committees (PMC) within Prebid that focus on building standards in specific areas such as mobile, video and identity, which is a new group within Prebid that’s developing ways to implement alternatives to third-party cookies

Buyers will also have their own PMC to discuss and work on their own initiatives, which can ultimately be brought to the Prebid board for further support and development. Andrew Goode, evp, head of biddable media at Havas North America, said two main focuses will be around standardizing transparency and identity. 

Goode said there’s a loss of granularity as information gets passed along the digital advertising supply chain, making it hard for marketers to track the effectiveness of campaigns, so joining Prebid can help start a conversation to resolve that. 

“We need an ID that can pass all the way through,” Goode said. “How do we make sure that there is a clear tunnel, or a clear view from advertiser to publisher?”

Last year, Havas Media Group slashed the number of supply-side platforms it worked with down to seven for failing to provide the required levels of transparency.

Havas joining Prebid doesn’t mean the agency will direct more spend through the group’s header bidding tool and away from Google and Amazon’s products. Goode said it’s important to maintain an “agnostic” approach.

“We’re looking for the best, most meaningful routes to market, wherever they might be,” he said. “It’s more a question of, ‘How do we raise the standards across the board, rather than favoring one over the other?’”

There is increasing collaboration within the industry to build new standards as both regulators and Big Tech make it harder to track people online and ultimately serve targeted ads. 

The Trade Desk is in the process of building an open-source ID to replace third-party cookies. Meanwhile, six major trade bodies and five major brands are among a host of stakeholders in the The Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media, a new group looking to maintain targeted advertising.

Goode hopes other holding companies join Prebid to help push the digital ad industry forward in a serious time of change.

“Given that transparency and identity are two such big topics at the moment—there are decisions being made and there are ideas being spread—I think it’d be a missed opportunity if other holding companies are not participating and joining the conversation,” he said.

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