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Download the whole WTF Programmatic guide from Digiday, which includes 11 explainers that go over all the specifics of programmatic advertising.

Online advertising has altered due to programmatic ad buying, although it is still unclear exactly what it is. Here’s an introduction in simple language:

What is buying programmatic advertising?

“Programmatic” ad buying often refers to the use of software as opposed to the conventional method, which entails RFPs, human discussions, and manual insertion orders, to purchase digital advertising. Basically, it’s buying ads with machines.

Why is programmatic marketing important?

Efficiency. Prior to programmatic ad buying, human ad buyers and salespeople, who may be costly and unreliable, were responsible for purchasing and selling digital ads. By eliminating humans from the process wherever possible, programmatic advertising technology promises to make the ad buying system more effective and, thus, less expensive. People feel sick, need to rest, and have hangovers when they go to work. Not machines.

So humans are being replaced by robots? Great.

No and yes. Sending insertion orders to publishers and dealing with ad tags are two examples of more mundane chores that technology is replacing. However, humans are still needed to create strategies and improve campaigns. There will definitely be fewer ad buyers in the world, but programmatic technology may also free up marketers and sellers to spend more time creating smart, tailored campaigns rather than getting bogged down in red tape.

Then, is real-time bidding the same as programmatic purchasing?

Not at all, no. Although it is one kind of programmatic ad buying, real-time bidding is not the only one. RTB stands for real-time bidding, although programmatic software also enables advertisers to pre-purchase guaranteed ad impressions from particular publisher websites. The term “programmatic direct” is often used to describe this purchasing strategy.

Is “the future of ad buying” programmatic?

Most likely, yeah. It’s impossible to estimate the percentage of advertising that is presently traded programmatically, but it’s growing. As more and more of their marketing budgets are spent through programmatic channels, several agencies now claim to be keen to purchase as much media as possible using these channels. Some major companies have even established in-house teams to handle their programmatic ad buying. Currently, programmatic trading primarily involves internet advertising, although media businesses and agencies are rapidly looking into ways to offer “conventional” media, such as TV spots and out-of-home advertisements.

Liesel Johns

Liesel interned with us but now runs a startup in Los Angeles. She still regularly contributes on topics like OOH, Marketing or Technology. You can always find her near the beach in LA.

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