Discover the differences between programmatic advertising and more conventional media buying strategies to better target your audience with your advertising.

Programmatic advertising has been a buzzword in the marketing industry for quite some time. But what does programmatic actually do? And how does it differ from traditional display marketing?

Read on to learn everything you need to know to be successful at programmatic advertising.

What Is Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic advertising uses automated technology and algorithmic tools for media buying. The term programmatic relates to the process of how ads are bought and sold in the advertising space.

Programmatic advertising differs from more traditional media buying methods in its use of automation.

It analyzes many user signals to ensure that ads serve the right person, in the right place, at the right time.

Think of programmatic as the umbrella in this category, where different types of programmatic buying are categorized beneath it.

What’s The Difference Between Programmatic And Display Ads?

It’s easy to confuse display and programmatic ads, especially with the strides that Google has made in its automated and real-time bidding capabilities.

Programmatic refers to the buying of advertisements.
Ads’ presentation style is referred to as their display.
The capability to purchase advertisements across platforms is the second significant distinction between display and programmatic.

When displaying advertisements within a single ad network, such as the Google Display Network, display advertising are more frequently used as a term.

On the other hand, programmatic advertising advances the use of display media.

Programmatic uses a variety of platforms, including demand-side platforms (DSPs) and sell-side platforms (SSPs), which enable advertisers to purchase ad inventory over an open network of platforms.

Advertisers often have control over the following with programmatic and display:

Bidding tactics.
assets and creativity.

Programmatic Advertising Platforms

Platforms for programmatic advertising
Over the years, automated technology has advanced significantly.

Programmatic platforms come in a wide variety of formats.

There are three primary categories of platforms:

Sell-side platform: This platform, also referred to as a “supply-side platform,” enables publishers to instantly sell their ad impressions to advertisers. DSPs and ad exchanges are both included in this platform.

Demand-side platform: Through this platform, advertisers can buy ad space from several platforms at once.

Ad exchangers: SSPs flow their ad inventory to DSPs in this manner. Ad prices fluctuate on an ad exchanger where DSPs are connected, depending on how competitive the inventory is.

Let’s look at some of the key participants in each area so you are familiar with the various platform kinds.

Sell-Side Marketplaces

A comprehensive list of SSPs for publishers includes:

  • Google Ad Manager.
  • Amazon Publisher Services.
  • OpenX.
  • Google AdMob.
  • Yahoo Ad Tech.
  • TripleLift.
  • PubMatic.
  • Verizon Media.
  • Xandr (Microsoft).
  • Index Exchange.
  • Sovrn.
  • Magnite.
  • Criteo.

If you’re looking for a video SSP, some of the leading companies include:

  • SpotX.
  • Teads.
  • AdColony (now DigitalTurbine).

While there are many more available to publishers, these are companies you may have heard of but might not have associated with programmatic technology.

Demand-Side Platforms

Similar to SSPs, these company names may ring a bell and offer DSPs.

Some of the top DSPs include:

  • Display & Video 360 (Google).
  • The Trade Desk.
  • Amazon DSP.
  • LiveRamp.
  • Adobe Advertising Cloud DSP.
  • StackAdapt.
  • Amobee.
  • Yahoo Ad Tech.
  • AdRoll.
  • Basis (formerly Centro).
  • RhythmOne.
  • Choozle.
  • BrightRoll.

Some of the larger DSPs for Connected TV and video include:

  • TubeMogul.
  • OneView (Roku).
  • MediaMath.

Again, there are many more DSPs available to advertisers. It’s important to choose a DSP with the features and inventory you are looking for.

Some DSPs offer self-serve advertising, while others offer both self-serve and full-managed service (likely to larger advertisers or agencies).

Ad Exchangers

Publishers can use some of the most well-known ad exchanges, such as:

Xandr (Microsoft).

Media by Verizon.



Search Engine Exchange.

Index Trading.



Ad exchanges vary widely in quality.

Publishers should carefully consider their alternatives and select platforms that support their objectives.

The price of programmatic advertising

Simply said, the cost of programmatic advertising depends on your budget.

We’re trying to dispel the widespread myth that small businesses can’t profit from programmatic technologies.

Cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) is the common pricing model for programmatic advertising.

CPMs often fall between $0.50-$2.00.

CPMs, however, might be considerably higher depending on things like:

  • Which DSP you choose.
  • Your target audience.
  • The level of competitiveness.

A good rule of thumb for programmatic ad cost is: The more niche your audience, the higher CPM you will pay.

So, whether you’re a multi-million dollar advertiser or a small business just getting started, you can likely fit programmatic into your advertising budget.

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