SAN FRANCISCO, March 3, 2014 (ADOTAS) – iSocket, the leader in programmatic direct and sales automation, today announced that it has launched iFA (iSocket for Advertisers), an automated way to buy premium, guaranteed inventory that saves both buyers and sellers time and expense while dramatically reducing the chance of errors.
“iFA is a powerful, but easy-to-use media-buying tool for premium, fixed-price reserved inventory,” said Richard Jalichandra (pictured), CEO, iSocket. ” iFA is unique in that it gives buyers programmatic access to the same well-defined, high-impact ad units available only through direct sales such as homepage, above-the-fold, section-specific, and rising stars. In short, iFA preserves the inventory and placement quality that buyers are accustomed to with direct sales, while making it easier and more efficient to buy premium, guaranteed inventory.”
In 2013 alone, $14 billion was spent on directly sold digital media, and almost all of it was executed manually through spreadsheet proposals, paper contracts, IOs, emails, and faxes. When executed manually, the average direct sale can take as many as 50 steps to complete, and can require as many as a dozen people. iSocket’s technology automates many of those steps, dramatically increasing the productivity of buyers, sellers and operations personnel, while reducing delays, discrepancies, and the potential for human error.
Buyers such as agencies, media planning platforms, and direct advertisers can browse iFA’s publisher catalog and buy well-defined, reserved inventory directly from any of iSocket’s publishers, which include Microsoft, Condé Nast, Reuters, and Forbes, all in a simple interface that can be seamlessly integrated with other enterprise systems.
“iFA is a perfect complement to our iFP sales automation suite for publishers,” said Jalichandra. “Direct media buys are faster and easier to execute when buyers have access all our high-quality publishers in one place. Publishers set up their best inventory in iSocket, because there’s no opportunity cost for working with us. We plug directly into publishers’ primary ad servers, unlike SSPs, which is how we can access reserved inventory. Automation means publishers can set lower minimum buying thresholds or execute even the largest orders with little effort.”
iSocket recently announced $5 million in new funding led by Time Warner Investments, with participation by Condé Nast.
What distinguishes iSocket from its competitors?
“iSocket is almost entirely unique in our approach to programmatic direct, with the key technical distinction being that they’re directly integrated into publishers’ ad servers,” said Jalichandra. “Ad server integration allows iSocket to provide fixed price, reserved PD, while SSPs and other platforms provide fixed price, unreserved programmatic direct.
“Here’s the distinction: SSPs and exchanges employ a bid/ask protocol and are not directly integrated into the ad server. Deal ID enables publishers to set direct deals at a fixed price, but that inventory isn’t guaranteed or reserved — a deal ID is created, then an ad tag created and manually provisioned into the ad server before inventory is actually sold. iSocket’s platform — iFA and iFP, for advertisers and publishers, respectively — mirrors the traditional direct sales model where three quarters of display ad spend occurs. Because their technology is directly integrated into the ad server, iSocket allows a media buyer to plan and execute a truly fixed price, reserved ad buy programmatically.
“Ad server integration has other benefits as well. Because of direct integrations, iSocket buys are prioritized in the ad server at the same level as traditional direct buys. Most premium publishers sell only a fraction of their inventory in private marketplaces or exchanges, and those exchange impressions are only served if there is no directly sold ad impression available. Ad server integration also means iSocket can present 100% of a publisher’s inventory at prices set by the publisher. (Publishers have control over what’s presented, and have the option to keep inventory private. That said, most of their publishers are comfortable showing all or most of their inventory because it’s priced at rate card, and they aren’t obligated to accept any offers that come through the platform). When an advertiser/agency/DSP buys, that inventory is reserved in the ad server, whether the deal is starting now or in two months — making iSocket a forward market vs. the RTB spot market.
“Lastly, because iFP so clearly mirrors the way publishers really sell to clients, many publishers are now looking to iSocket for sales automation: i.e. having their sales reps use iFP to automate the tedious, manual steps that go into completing a direct sale. This is a huge distinction for iSocket: a sales team can still sell their clients high value sponsorships, get compensated accordingly, while automating much of the manual work that keeps them out of the field.”
iSocket (www.iSocket.com) is a technology platform purpose-built to simplify the buying and selling of fixed price, premium, reserved inventory. iSocket For Publishers (iFP) sales automation and programmatic direct tools allow top publisher sales teams to focus on relationships and strategy, while iSocket For Advertisers (iFA) makes it easier for agencies, brands, and buying and planning platforms to execute orders of well-defined, guaranteed inventory directly with top publishers. Through automation, iSocket is able to eliminate many of the errors and overhead costs that plague the manual media sales process.