In-house Trading Desk Success: These 5 Brands Benefit Big

In-house Trading Desk Success: 5 Brands That Benefit Big From Taking Programmatic In-house

As more advertisers choose to set up an in-house trading desk to increase their digital marketing effectiveness, the diversity in approach also proves to grow. These five brands all have a different angle but have one thing in common: having increased their marketing effectiveness, big time.

The reason for the differences in approach is straight forward, the solution complex: every advertiser has a unique set influencing factors like available data, ad stack, in-house skill level, advertising budget and goals. Adequately addressing all these factors will increase chances of success significantly, so best practices and one-size-fits-all solutions will most likely be of little help. In our new blog series ‘In-house Trading Desk Success’, we set out to highlight three main topics:

  1. Identifying the challenges and opportunities of taking digital media buying in-house
  2. Understanding how an in-house trading desk can increase the relevancy of advertising efforts
  3. Defining what steps advertisers can take to get there

In this article we will highlight five brands that have successfully made the switch, looking at how they do it, what works for them, and why.



This year, is betting big on bringing their digital media buying in-house. The travel giant hired data scientists, data researchers, and other digital media buying experts by the flocks. By the end of this year, Booking will have consolidated all of their digital media buying activities under one roof: their own.

Two reasons for this change exist, according to CMO Pepijn Rijvers: “speed and data.” The more external parties are involved, the less capable you are of adjusting your digital ad campaigns on the fly, which ‘ultimately costs the company money.’, Rijvers told Business Insider recently.


2. Airbnb

Hot news from another big travel player, as Airbnb hires former Unilever executive Geoff Seeley as their first Director of Global Connections and Media Activation. In an earlier interview, CMO Jonathan Mildenhall labeled it “a critical function for a 21st-century marketing role”. He added needing his marketing department to build an “almost real-time point of view” of how their media spend is performing. Seeley’s primary task will be to drive more value from the company’s media investment, an important step in further professionalizing the travel service provider.

Taking a different route than Booking, Mildenhall chooses not pursue an entirely in-house media solution just yet. Instead, the focus will lie on increasing the internal knowledge and skill level, while working alongside existing agencies, partners, and independent data auditors.


3. Foxtel

As one of the first in-house trading desk success stories, Australian broadcaster Foxtel’s decision to bring digital/programmatic in-house dates back to 2014. CMO Ed Smith did the maths on the fees the Australian broadcaster was paying its agencies and began by in-housing their performance advertising activities. This quickly turned into programmatic, following up with digital video and, later on, search.

As one of the biggest advantages of Foxtel’s fully in-house solution, Smith praises the immediacy of marketing investment effects. Having to wait weeks for campaign results was not uncommon in the past, Smith notes. Today, results and audience insights are available on-demand: “It’s great because you can create an audience in literally 24 hours and then look back 90 days – which is amazing”.

Buying everything programmatic, and having cheap access to remnant inventory, Foxtel can publish campaigns across exchanges, partner publishers, and networks, all completely in-house “And the whole thing is incredibly cost effective,” Smith adds.


4. Spotify

Spotify made it to this list as a publisher, not as an advertiser. That said, their efforts in keeping their advertising operations team updated on both internal and external industry updates are highly applaudable. Global head of digital audio monetization Les Hollander has set out to continuously educate their ad ops team in programmatic. The main reason for this is to be more adaptive to the traditional, manual process of buying audio ads.

Every Tuesday, Spotify provides in-house programmatic workshops hosted by Greenhouse, the music service provider’s internal training team. Topics range from integrating third-party data into programmatic deals, to how to’s for brands on serving programmatic video ads on Spotify. “’Training Tuesday’ keeps our direct sales teams up to date on new capabilities,” according to Hollander.


5. L’Oréal Canada

The Canadian operation of the beauty brand first started to take serious steps towards in-house programmatic media buying after bringing in chief digital officer Lubomira Rochet in 2014. As the world’s third largest advertiser in 2015, their focus on media effectiveness makes total sense.

According to Khoi Truong, L’Oreal’s global director of precision advertising and digital analytics, combining advertising data the brand’s first-party data already caused a big impact on how consumers would engage with their advertisements. More importantly, this impact would also be visible in product sales. “We’re using first-party data from our website to inform how we purchase media, but it’s also very important for us to think about what content or product consumers are going to see when they visit our website,” Truong tells AdExchanger. “That’s why we’re also trying to understand purchase intent. “

Need help sketching up your roadmap towards more relevant advertising, or have questions about programmatic advertising in general? Feel free to drop us a line. Our Consultants are happy to help!.