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What Is Programmatic Advertising? How Does It Work?

Discover the power of programmatic advertising and learn how it works. Revel in the dynamics of programmatic advertising in this post. The digital world revolves around data, and programmatic advertising has emerged as the frontrunner that is helping businesses leverage this data to their advantage.

What is Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic advertising is a method of buying and selling digital ad space through automation. But that’s just scratching the surface. And it goes deeper with facets that involve real-time bidding, direct dealings, and more.

In simpler terms, it circumvents the conventional means of acquiring digital advertising by enlisting the assistance of machines and algorithms. The pivotal idea behind it is to refine the process by eliminating unnecessary manual inputs and negotiations, making it more seamless and efficient.

The use of automation in programmatic advertising sets it apart from more conventional media buying techniques. To make sure that advertisements are serving the appropriate person at the right time and in the right location, they examine a variety of user signals. In this area, consider programmatic as the umbrella under which various forms of programmatic buying are grouped.

The Underlying Structure of Programmatic Advertising

An interesting insight into how programmatic advertising functions can enhance your understanding of this phenomenon. To facilitate real-time digital transactions, the process uses algorithms and data insights.

The process starts with a user clicking on a webpage that has space for programmatic ads. The webpage then sends back user information and a request for an ad to appear. This information is analyzed by an ad exchange that selects the best ad based on the data received, and the ad is then shown to the user—all within milliseconds.

How Does Programmatic Advertising Work?

An inviting feature of programmatic advertising is its flexibility and applicability across multiple platforms, be it social media, mobile apps, video, or even television.

The operation of programmatic advertising can be categorized into two primary types: real-time bidding (RTB) and programmatic direct.

RTB sets the stage for auctioning ad impressions. It processes user data and determines which ads are most relevant to the potential viewer. Here is where the real-time aspect comes into play; the entire bidding and ad display happens in a fraction of a second while a page is loading.

Programmatic Direct, on the other hand, allows you to purchase ad space in advance. In this approach, pricing is fixed, and there’s no bidding involved. It’s more streamlined, presenting a more predictable option for advertisers who prefer stability.

Programmatic Advertising: The Game Changer

Programmatic advertising has the potential to transform the advertising world with its promise of precision. It helps advertisers reach their target audience more accurately and efficiently, saves time and resources, and optimizes ad spend.

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It offers a unique opportunity to customize your outreach and allows you to measure the impact of your advertising campaigns more accurately. As we shift towards more data-driven strategies, programmatic advertising stands as a vanguard in this burgeoning field.

Difference Between Programmatic And Display Ads

With the advancements Google has made in automated and real-time bidding, it is simple to mix up display and programmatic ads. The primary distinction between display and programmatic is:

  • Ad purchasing is referred to as programmatic.
  • Display describes the layout of advertisements.

The capacity to purchase advertisements across platforms represents the second-biggest distinction between programmatic and display.

The term “display ads” is most frequently used for placing ads within a particular ad network, like the Google Display Network. On the other hand, programmatic advertising elevates display media. Programmatic advertising enables advertisers to purchase ad inventory over an open network of platforms through a variety of platforms, including demand-side platforms (DSPs) and sell-side platforms (SSPs).

When it comes to programmatic and display advertising, advertisers usually have the following control:

  • Viewers.
  • Budget.
  • Spending plan.
  • Creative and Assets.
  • Placements.

Programmatic Advertising Platforms

Software tools for programmatic advertising include Publift’s Fuse platform and other programmatic platforms. Publishers have access to several platforms that help them locate services and advertisers that meet their requirements.

The entire system needed for the programmatic advertising process includes the top platforms for programmatic advertising. Every component of the system functions in tandem to benefit publishers and advertisers alike. The demand-side platform (DSP) supply-side platform (SSP), data management platform (DMP), and ad exchange are a few of the platform types mentioned above.

To better understand what each type of programmatic advertising platform accomplishes and who it’s for, let’s examine each one.

Supply-Side Platform (SSP)

The publisher’s inventory is kept in an SSP. The publisher submits an advertisement on a webpage to the SSP, which then connects to one or more ad networks, ad exchanges, and DSPs. To track visitor behavior, the SSP will add a pixel code to the page.

Anonymous information about visitors and their activities is provided by the code. The SSP’s programming aims to optimize the value that publishers obtain from each impression—a showing of the advertisement to a person.

Publishers can define the cost of their advertising by using an SSP to filter ads based on the advertiser and other criteria. They can also set different rates for ad spaces.

The following is a thorough list of SSPs for publishers:

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

Demand-Side Platform (DSP)

For their part, advertisers use a DSP, utilizing the platform to place bids on their behalf that adhere to the campaign’s specifications.

Publishers can generate audience segments by using the data provided by the pixel on their website, which is sent to the DSP. Advertisers are prepared to place bids automatically through the DSP, allowing the best ad to be displayed to the right audience.

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Publishers profit when the highest bidder prevails, and advertisers profit from precise ad placement. The SSP is informed when the DSP and ad exchange determine which ad to match on which page.

The following is a thorough list of DSPs:

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

SSPs send their ad inventory to DSPs in this manner. DSPs link to an ad exchanger, where the competitiveness of the inventory determines how much an ad is worth. Some well-known ad exchangers available to publishers are as follows:

  • Xandr (Microsoft).
  • PubMatic.
  • Verizon Media.
  • OpenX.
  • Index Exchange.
  • Google Ad Exchange.
  • Magnite.
  • Smaato.

The Benefits of Programmatic Advertising

For Advertisers

Advertising companies had a hard time getting access to ad inventory before programmatic advertising. Large portions of the ad space were therefore unsold. Automation made it much simpler to comprehend and purchase ad inventory, which contributed to the problem’s resolution. The following are some advantages of programmatic advertising for advertisers:

Scalability: Rather than being restricted as they would have been in the past, programmatic advertising enables advertisers to access a large audience by purchasing ad space from any available ad inventory.

Flexibility in real-time: Advertisers can leverage a wide range of targeting parameters and make real-time changes to their ads based on impressions.

Targeting capabilities: An advertiser’s budget can be used more wisely and effectively with programmatic targeting.

Efficiency: Through targeting, more pertinent ads are served and the process is more streamlined. With access to a vast publisher pool, both publishers and advertisers may increase their revenue and receive a higher return on their investment.

For Publishers

By showing audience-relevant advertisements, programmatic advertising enhances the user experience (UX) while safeguarding publishers with the appropriate tools. In addition, publishers have access to transactions that optimize their earnings through header and exchange bidding, among other forms of bidding.

Simplicity: Programmatic advertising makes it much simpler to sell ad space. By using automated solutions to discover advertisers more quickly, publishers can maximize their ad sales.

Communication: It is easy for publishers to interact and work together with advertising, which benefits both parties.

Relevance: Because they belong to the advertiser’s target audience, users of a publisher’s website will see ads that are appropriate for them. Programmatic advertising eliminates the need for back-and-forth phone conversations, emails, and other sluggish forms of negotiation by giving advertisers access to a variety of publishers.

Efficiency: Publishers can increase their revenue from their available ad space by reducing expenses and increasing margins through programmatic advertising. ‍

Examples of Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic ads might take many different forms. Customizing the content to your preferred target demographic is one of the best things about employing programmatic ads. Several proficient programmatic campaigns include:

The Economist

The Economist, a well-known UK publication, adopted programmatic advertising to break through a subscription plateau and reach new consumers.

The publisher created a marketing plan centered on presenting several target audience segments with its material in a novel way. The objective was to generate leads from interested parties, give them access to relevant content, and eventually turn them into subscribers.

The Economist

In the first nine days of its advertising effort, The Economist achieved 50% of its target; five weeks later, it doubled that amount. 3,617,000 retargetable contacts were produced, and completed subscriptions and additional revenue totaling GBP12.7 million ($15.6 million) were earned.

Amanda Foundation

In the Los Angeles region, The Amanda Foundation is a nonprofit animal hospital and shelter rescue organization. It launched a program to assist animals in shelters that are at risk of euthanasia in finding a permanent home.

In particular, it used programmatic signals to target particular animal images to its audience based on factors like geography, demographics, and browsing habits. A banner ad featuring large dogs rather than smaller dogs would be displayed to a person who expressed interest in large dogs.


As you can see, the messages and graphics were customized based on the interests and behavior of the individual.

Geico Insurance

You have likely heard or seen a Geico advertisement. But have you ever given any thought to the various advertisements that Geico displays to you?

To establish a real cross-platform awareness campaign, Geico uses a variety of marketing forms, including social media ads, website banner ads, TV commercials, and more. The brand selects its content carefully, taking into account the platform it is intended for, the target audience’s demographics, and other factors.

Geico’s advertisements are so well-liked that the company has a resource page on its website where customers can watch their top spots.

FAQs on Programmatic Advertising

1. Is programmatic advertising cost-effective? Being data-driven, it offers maximized returns by reaching the right audience at the right time.

2. Is there transparency in programmatic advertising? With the right platform, advertisers can see where their ads are being placed and how they’re performing, ensuring transparency.

3. Is programmatic advertising only for digital? Not at all. While its roots were in digital media, it is rapidly expanding to traditional forms like TV, radio, and also out-of-home advertising.

Programmatic advertising is not just a buzzword in the advertising circuit but is rapidly transforming how businesses connect with consumers. Embrace this revolution and keep your business abreast of this data-driven world.

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