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The Trade Desk Tests Its Agency Legacy; Google’s Agency Relationships Change, Too

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Trade Punches

In 2016, The Trade Desk cracked open the DSP market by sticking with agencies. DSPs such as Turn and TubeMogul attempted to go brand-direct but were dropped by agencies and AppNexus, the top dog DSP at the time, refashioned itself as a developer platform for programmatic specialists.

These days, The Trade Desk is as big as any agency holdco – and agencies and ad tech vendors chafe under TTD’s incumbency, Digiday reports. 

For example, although The Trade Desk shares log files and is ostensibly open, advertisers are hit with more nontransparent fees when using The Trade Desk.

And other TTD products, including its Data Alliance, Koa and OpenPath, demonstrate how much the company has transformed.

Data Alliance is a data white-labeling service that functions as an optimization feature. It dips into data on the marketplace when advertisers haven’t self-selected a data seller but could use the boost. Koa is a machine learning product that gives The Trade Desk more control over campaigns, such as data purchases, if it achieves a cost-per-conversion metric. 

OpenPath is a supply-path optimization program that launched a year ago and plugs into publishers. Alongside The Trade Desk’s broadcaster-direct partnerships, OpenPath particularly underscores how far into the SSP and publisher side TTD has ventured – a big change from its pure-play DSP roots.

A Sense Of Agency

Not unlike The Trade Desk’s simmering tensions (we won’t call it “beef” quite yet) with agencies, things are changing for Google, too, but perhaps more so in the opposite direction. 

Agencies, particularly SEO firms, have fumed for years about Google poaching their clients. But with the…


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