What Is Programmatic Advertising and Why Should You Try It?

In 2019, digital advertisers will spend nearly 48 billion dollars in display ad placements.

But there’s more to digital advertising than most marketers realize. Programmatic advertising is an upgrade to standard digital advertising.

What is programmatic advertising?

Take a look at this quick overview and learn how it can help take your campaign to the next level.

What Is Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic advertising is, in short, the automation of media buying.

With programmatic advertising, you cut out the middleman. No sales negotiations. No waiting hours or days for email responses on bids.

This fact may seem unsettling for some whose marketing relationships yield good returns. But this approach offers benefits for media companies and marketers alike.

Let’s take a look at the key players involved in a digital advertising transaction.

Transactions involve an advertiser, a publisher, and an audience.

  • Advertisers are companies looking to promote their product or service
  • Publishers are web sites, online publications or apps with ad inventory available
  • The audience includes groups or companies advertisers, and their stakeholders want to reach

In the early days of advertising, tangible forms of media made media buying between these three players fairly simple.

But with digital advertising, the ability of publishers to manage an almost infinite landscape is almost impossible.

Enter programmatic advertising.

Networks can ensure they are maximizing profits by using an automatic buying and selling process for ad space.

Advertisers can ensure their messages are sent to the most appropriate place for their audiences.


Standard media companies place time and attention on handling customer transactions.

Programmatic advertising allows ad platforms to focus on analytics services instead of operations.

Digital marketing campaigns become more accurate when analytics improve.

Volume Guaranteed

Every campaign needs effective measuring tools.

Programmatic advertising can take your digital advertising campaign to the next level by helping you estimate the number of impressions your campaign will generate.

Knowing the number of impressions in advance allows you to budget with accuracy. This feature is not available for traditional display campaigns, search, or paid social.

Audience Insights

Programmatic ad campaigns need data management platforms to run. These platforms analyze each user who clicks on your campaign ad.

The storage of the audience data gives advertisers the chance to make better decisions with each campaign launch. Expect programmatic advertising to offer detailed data on your audience.

Boosts Creative

Even in it’s most hilarious form, good advertising is strategic.

Understanding your audience better means have a stronger opportunity to make a connection.

You have the chance to tailor your messages so that you connect much easier with potential customers.

This gives you the chance to produce more creative ads that make an impact.

Real-Time Reporting

Billions of users frequent publisher sites every day.

Programmatic advertising allows you to track this enormous volume of activity in real-time.

Programmatic advertising allows you to check real-time results on bidding. With standard digital advertising platforms, data is delayed for hours.

Publishers and advertisers can check within seconds whether a placement is earned. You can toggle your review process between live analysis of your campaign and trendspotting.

Where Can I Use Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic advertising can replace or supplement standard ad campaigns.

Here’s a shortlist of outlets where you can use programmatic advertising.

Traditional Display Ads

Programmatic advertising can replace some or all of your traditional display placements.

It’s a tactic that doesn’t require a specific network to function.

This means companies seeking a high volume of impressions have lots of real estate at their disposal. Without specific networks attached, the ad spaces might not include the top quality sites.

The pricing of these placements is much cheaper to reflect the lesser traffic. Some placements can equal less than a cent using programmatic advertising to account for the low quality of web placements.


Video is one of the most valuable tools for marketers looking to launch full-scale campaigns.

Video consistently delivers on emotionally connecting with viewers.

It accounts for more than three-quarters of how all digital video is spent.

With programmatic video, you have the option to choose instream or outstream.

Instream video includes pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll advertising placements. It’s considered one of the most reliable systems for video ad placement making it more popular than outstream.

Outstream video ads play in non-video environments such as on a social media feed or on a website when a user begins to scroll.


Programmatic ads can blend in with a website’s content, such as on a social media feed.

Sometimes this content displays as sponsored content to alert viewers of the presence of an ad.

To avoid being intrusive, it’s important to tailor your ads using contextual targeting withing your programmatic advertising campaign. Social media feeds can easily become cluttered causing users to increase privacy settings that could restrict delivery of your ads.


Digital out-of-home advertising is also programmatic.

Replacing the standard production process of an advertiser, agency, media seller, and printer all working to create an ad is an integrated platform with real-time tracking.

It’s possible to change creative and messaging in real-time when digital out-of-home ads perform poorly.

Diversify Your Digital

What is programmatic advertising if not a more advanced opportunity to manage digital display ad campaigns?

Programmatic advertising offers you the option for large volume impressions without canceling your existing campaigns.

With programmatic ad tactics being platform agnostic, you can phase out your current media spend or test a programmatic campaign to see whether it works for your brand.

Real-time reporting and audience data mean you get immediate feedback on whether you’re going in the right direction. For more information on getting started with your next media campaign, check out our blog for updates.

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