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Agency Trading Desks (ATD)


Trading desks are media buyers and re-sellers within an ad agency that help advertisers execute programmatic media buys. They use either proprietary technology or a demand side platform to buy and optimize media campaigns on ad exchanges, ad networks and other inventory sources.

Agency trading desks

The entire process of exchanges selling inventories and DSPs buying them looks like a Trading Desk format. So let us look a bit more into it.

What is an Agency Trading Desk or shortened as ATD? Agency Trading Desk is an independent unit which buys and re-sells media/inventories on a massive scale. It helps manage programmatic media acquire through bidding system which intends to seek certain target audience.

What does an agency trading desk do?

ATDs allow real-time purchasing of media much like DSPs but in a slightly different way. They also follow an auction model system where they re-sell and trade these inventories/media, in a format as similar as our Stock Exchange. ATDs generally work in combination with DSPs.

Digital marketers use programmatic advertising obtained with ATDs and optimized results using DSPs especially when there is a need for retargeting the ad campaign is not up to the mark.

Agency trading desks provide the following services for their clients:

a) Buy large sets of digital inventory, mainly through real-time bidding auctions as a managed service;

b) Establish contacts with publishers, supply-side platforms (SSPs) and ad exchanges to get premium inventory upfront at a discount rate, apply audience and behavioral analytics, add markup percentage to the cost of media, and resell it to clients on demand;

c) Help advertisers plan, optimize and allocate marketing budgets;

d) Advise brands on how to reach target audiences efficiently both locally and globally;

e) Clarify business objectives and suggest optimal advertising strategies;

f) Track campaign performance and measure results and provide clients with audience insights drawn from data analytics;

g) Support common pricing models — CPM, CPC, CPI, and CPA — and might offer CPO, CPL or CPS.

Also Read: Demand Side Platforms, Data Management Platforms and Exchanges

ATDs are beneficial for the agencies because

a) They help in better audience targeting.
b) Provide better insights for the efficiency of marketing initiatives.
c) There is a better integration and clients get a good service.
d) Deliver a better ROI on the money spent, i.e. CPM, Cost per Acquisition etc.

By Ankita Mundhra


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