Lowdown Series: Programmatic Advertising Beginner’s Guide


Programmatic Beginners' Guide

What was once…run by humans is now run by machines.

Simply put, “programmatic” means automated. Programmatic Advertising technology has revolutionized the online advertising world by automating the buying of online ads in real time, making it more efficient, cheaper and quicker. No more human ad buyers, negotiations, manual insertion orders, RFP’s, mistakes.

The Programmatic Ecosystem

Programmatic ad buying is the purchase of ad impressions on web or mobile using bidding technology either by buying it directly or bidding for the space. Programmatic Direct and Programmatic RTB fall under the Programmatic ad buying umbrella.

  • Programmatic Direct or another name, “programmatic guaranteed” is an automated buying process of guaranteed ad inventory that isn’t auction based  and is similar to a direct buying process.
  • Programmatic RTB (Real time bidding) is the programmatic ad buying and selling of advertising placements that involves auction pricing mechanisms in real time. As a page loads, if ad space is available for RTB, information about the webpage and the user viewing it is passed on to an Ad Exchange.

Ad Exchange

An Ad Exchange brings together advertisers (generally through a DSP) and publishers (generally through an SSP) to facilitate the buying and selling of mobile advertising. It matches the needs of buyers to ad sellers to determine the optimal price and auctions off the available ad space to the highest bidder.

The Ad Exchange sends out a bid request that provides potential advertiser bidders with a set of information needed about the consumer. This information is then used to determine what will be the best ad to show the potential consumer based on the advertisers targeting criteria and the one that will be most likely to convert.

The winning ad will appear on the webpage when it’s finished loading.  This available ad space is also known as an impression.

What’s the cost of an impression?

It really depends on how much the advertiser/buyer is willing to pay in real-time, which is when a DSP (Demand Side Platform) and an SSP (Supply Side Platform) come into play.

SSP is a technology platform that allows publishers to ‘plug into’ an ad exchange to make their online impression inventory available to advertisers.

DSP automates the online advertising purchase process, most often used by advertisers and agencies to help them buy display, video, mobile and search ads. It’s a fully automated system that bids on impressions from an Ad Exchange.

Wait a minute. Ad Exchange and DSP’s sound very similar, so what’s the difference?

DSP’s do much of what Ad Exchanges do like access to inventory and targeting. But the big difference is that DSP’s offer the ability to buy, serve, track and optimize ads from several ad exchanges in one place, which is what the Bucksense platform offers our brand and agency clients.

And there you have it, the lowdown!  Programmatic Advertising is the way to get the right ad to the right person at the right time and to ensure the ads being served are highly relevant and personal and Bucksense offers advertisers the tools and team to do just that.

We love visuals, so here’s a bird’s eye view of the Programmatic Advertising flow. Let’s imagine you are an e-commerce app selling women’s winter coats on the East Coast:


Programmatic Marketing Flow - Bucksense
Programmatic Marketing Flow – Bucksense