Historically a Private Auction-heavy market, Canada has recently seen a growing trend toward Preferred Deals — and Kijiji, an online classified advertising service, is at its forefront.
With 14 million unique visitors a month, Kijiji is not only Canada’s most popular marketplace, but also one of the most successful market leaders when it comes to Preferred Deals. Preferred Deals are publisher controlled, non-guaranteed buys with pre negotiated prices (fixed CPMs) that can win ahead of the Open Auction and all other line item types except Sponsorship and Standard line items. Kijiji turned to Preferred Deals when they saw the opportunity to streamline their buyers’ access to inventory. Today, Preferred deals represent 30% of Kijiji’s revenue from their direct deals business, and have grown 138% year over year.
Increasing advantages for buyers
Preferred Deals provide priority access for buyers before the impression goes to auction, adding flexibility and transparency to the process. “Immediately, we saw the advantages that our buyers could leverage,” says Chris Quinn, Head of Display Advertising at Kijiji. “Our goal was, and still is, to provide our partners with opportunities for success on our platforms.” Quinn and his team were also interested in the improved personalization capabilities and simplified troubleshooting that Preferred Deals offer.
Advertisers have also recognized the benefits of using a variety of deal types depending on their objectives.
"The greatest advantage of Preferred Deals has been the increased priority for our demand. We have seen higher win rates from Preferred Deals compared to Private Auction."
, Group Director, Digital Platforms, Omnicom Media Group
Rahaman also mentioned that certain deal types work better for accessing premium inventory, “we rely more on Preferred and Programmatic Guaranteed deals when we access inventory that is more competitive or limitedly available like full episodic video or French content.”
Internal strategies for success
Kijiji began investing in Preferred Deals by first allocating resources to personnel and training. The company trained Programmatic sales teams on the benefits of Preferred Deals, what they meant for a marketplace like Kijiji, and how to communicate these benefits to buyers. “Our team is trained to understand the nuances of the platform, and the unique data sets that come with having access to such a large marketplace,” says Quinn.
Direct deals are an important part of Kijiji’s advertising business, and the team works side-by-side with clients to strategize on meeting key performance indicators (KPIs) and optimizing performance. In early 2019, the company set Preferred Deals as their default new deal type and worked closely with buyers from past deals to ensure a seamless transition. Kijiji also decided to price Preferred Deals and Private Auctions at the same rates, further incentivizing buyers.
A priority advantage, and a range of personalization opportunities
When they speak with buyers, the team at Kijiji always highlights the two key advantages that come with Preferred Deals: higher priority and better personalization opportunities.
Compared to Private Auctions and Open Auctions, Preferred Deals are set at a higher priority tier in the Google Ad Manager auction.
“Right out of the gate, buyers get that priority advantage through Preferred Deals against other transaction types."
, Head of Display Advertising, Kijiji
Preferred Deals also offer a wider range of personalization opportunities for buyers. A publisher can set up “AND” statements with their key-value segments, gaining additional flexibility to reach people by context or by audience. Kijiji leverages contextual data to package audience segments, and through Preferred Deals, sells this inventory to buyers.
As Kijiji is a large horizontal marketplace, consumers engage with Kijiji’s platforms across categories, such as Automotive or Real Estate. This type of behavior means that advertisers have more room and flexibility to engage with customers while they’re in a shopping mindset.
Kijiji’s first-party audiences play a crucial role in their offerings. At the highest level, the company’s audience segmentation is arranged by four types of user actions across platforms: those who browse, those who search for specific terms more than once, those who engage directly with sellers, and finally, the sellers themselves. Given the scale and breadth of these segments, most deals include audience data, which is high-value for advertisers. “We always use audience data when we can, and measure how these audiences respond to a brand’s creative messages,” says Rahaman. “Determining which audiences to reach and measure is critical to any brand’s success.”
A cornerstone of direct deal strategy
As Kijiji transitioned its direct deal strategy between Q1 2019 to Q3 2020, their ratio of Preferred Deals to Private Auctions shifted from 30:70 to 70:30. The marketplace saw an average of 80% viewability for Preferred Deals in 2020. “Viewability has become table stakes,” says Quinn, adding that the team is now able to focus more deeply optimizing for other KPIs with partners. Preferred Deals have grown tremendously for Kijiji, increasing 138% YoY within Programmatic deal types, and today represent 30% of the company’s Direct business revenue.