Centro builds a DSP just for independent agencies

Service designed to help small agencies and brands bring programmatic in-house

Centro has launched a new programmatic demand-side platform called Centro DSP, targeting independent agencies and mid-size brands that want to take media buying in-house.

The company says Centro DSP is geared towards mobile and hyperlocal programmatic buying, and unlike the self-serve SiteScout buying platform that Centro also operates, Centro DSP will offer a flexible range of service levels that help independents build up internal expertise, at a price point they can afford.

Although independent agencies have been enthusiastic about adopting programmatic, many of them have struggled to build the in-house expertise they need, according to Ratko Vidakovic, vice-president of programmatic product marketing at Centro.

“They are struggling with finding programmatic talent. They need vendors that have programmatic expertise to help them, and they’re not getting the attention they deserve from the more traditional DSPs because they don’t have the same clout as the big boys,” he said.

Centro’s focus is on providing the education and support services that smaller shops need to get started in programmatic, without the hefty pricetag for extra services that larger DSPs like Turn or MediaMath often carry.

Centro DSP offers a range of service options, from full self-serve to a fully managed option with observer access to a “co-piloting” program it’s developed where a programmatic expert assists on buys. One of its big differentiators will be a heavily-staffed customer success centre, offering both support and in-depth education material.

Among Centro DSP’s first adopters is Toronto’s Stone Canoe, which has been testing the platform over the past several months. In a statement, agency president Scott Bryson said he’s found Centro DSP offers the features and cross-channel functionality of an enterprise platform, but is nonetheless well-suited to a small, fast-growing agency like Stone Canoe. “Although centralization is a key directive for our programmatic media buying, we will not compromise on capabilities, scale and flexibility,” he said.

Vidakovic, who was an executive at SiteScout (the Toronto-based programmatic platform Centro acquired in 2013), led the development of the platform. He made it clear Centro DSP isn’t a rebranded version of SiteScout, but a new platform with a range of added features like cookieless mobile device ID targeting, placement-level transparency, and discovery tools for private marketplace deals. SiteScout will continue to operate as a separate service within the Centro portfolio, catering to e-comm SMBs with ad budgets as small as $500.

Centro is known primarily for its automated guaranteed digital buying solutions and access to hyperlocal publisher inventory. It employs 600 people across North America, with its third-largest office is in Toronto.

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