The Inadvia Insights Series: Overcoming Closed Loop Programmatic Platform Challenges Inflight

In this installment of Inadvia Insights, Inadvia co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Arthur Cole, takes us through how Inadvia created a new marketplace in the sky for programmatic buyers. Arthur shares his thoughts on how Inadvia overcame the challenges of connecting two very different advertising systems to bring real innovation to the inflight advertising sector for the benefit of passengers, brand and airlines.


Inadvia was founded on the idea that programmatic advertising could help drive greater advertising revenues for the aviation sector. Complementing existing sponsorship-led activities by focussing on the shifting digital advertising dollars that are being driven by automated technologies. The problem though, is how to connect a real-time transactional process, to an offline environment like the airline cabin.

It is true a lot of planes are getting connected, which shows promise for the future of inflight and real-time bidding, but the truth is that in many cases today connectivity is far too constrained, or costly, to send a video file up on the fly and fire all reporting back to the ground.

So the challenge, the one that piqued my interest as a product lead to join the founding team of Inadvia, was to connect these two different eco-systems. The first and easiest solution was to remove the buying methods that didn’t make sense for inflight. The Open Exchange only makes up less than 20% of programmatic buying globally, but it’s usually the buying channel at the forefront of people’s minds when anyone talks about programmatic. For key reasons like control of premium brands, and scarcity of supply, it makes no sense to focus on the Open Market. Instead we focussed our attention to the creation of Private Marketplace Deals (PMPs).

Still, with PMPs, the challenge exists of how to connect a Demand Side Platform (DSP) to our tech and to the airline, when the flight is offline. The solution was for Inadvia to create patent-pending technology and workflows that enabled routine injection of ad delivery manifests to the airline adserver. It was important that Inadvia had enough historical data to predict the usage of passengers by route and by airline, so that the communication between DSP and Inadvia tech would transact appropriately. Never over promising on something it could not deliver upon.

The key to a fully automated (but with offline components) workflow is to ensure that all systems are in sync with the need. It is not possible for a supply side system like Inadvia’s to operate this way alone, the DSPs need to be anticipating this change. As anyone who has worked with an agency knows, the trader will be monitoring the reporting data and making revenue-altering decisions constantly. In the case of inflight, it is often only possible to deliver reporting when the plane has landed, so the systems and the users need to be aware of this and expectations set on how we manage an inflight PMP.

What was key early on is that the technology needed to adapt to support the workflow, but an equally heavy body of work in talking to each DSP, each agency and the heads of trading teams, was required to build trust in these systems.

Inadvia, now 4 years into this journey, has done all of that heavy lifting to enable traded PMPs from regular DSPs, to transact with airlines in the sky.



This article was originally published on LinkedIn here