Programmatic Direct, RTB: What it is and why you should care

Mojn_blog-Programmatic Direct, RTB

If you already feel like you’re in enough meetings to fill five diaries, we’ve got good news: programmatic buying allows you to make well-rounded decisions that contribute to your ROI without having to speak to another human. Of course, if the people person in you is grimacing at the thought, you theoretically can – but you don’t have to. So what is this time-saving technique introverts and time-pressed marketers everywhere are going on about?

While some people lament this automated process as the beginning of the end for manual digital advertising, you should really view it as another tool in your box. Or, really, tools. There are two types of programmatic buying, Programmatic Direct and RTB.

Programmatic buying is an automatically-purchased ad space on a web page. The purchase process can be done directly, or through a bidding process.

Oftentimes, marketers go to DSPs (demand-side platforms) for help determining what impressions to purchase. DSPs then automatically bid on impressions from the ad exchange.

1. Programmatic direct

Programmatic direct, also known as automated guarantee or programmatic premium, is a process through which there is no auction, and thus no need to bid. The buying of ad space is done automatically, and surfaced without the need for an exchange or DSP.

2. Programmatic RTB (or real-time bidding)

Programmatic RTB is a little more convoluted, but one definition that often helps is to think of it as the ‘Google AdWords of display advertising’ (rather than search results). As a webpage loads, if there is space on the page for advertisements, information about the page and user viewing it is transmitted back to an ad exchange. This exchange auctions off the space to the highest bidder, surfacing the winning advertisement to the viewer as the page loads. Auctions are done in sheer milliseconds.

How they’re used

Both programmatic buying and RTB often report on impressions. An impression is counted every time a page loads and the ad is surfaced. The price of the impression, which is what the advertiser is paying for, is determined by what you’ve noted you’re willing to pay – in real time. That’s how you win (or lose) the automated bid process. You can use the data about the website and users to determine how valuable impressions are to you, and thus what to bid.

Oftentimes, marketers such as ourselves go to DSPs (demand-side platforms) for help determining what impressions to purchase. DSPs then automatically bid on impressions from the ad exchange. Since the highest bidder wins, this process removes the need for sales staff and really any human interaction. The good news is that this cuts down on the inefficiencies of human-driven advertising practices, from the research to the RFP to transactional orders and manual additions of advertisements. From where we’re sitting, there’s actually very little bad news (unless you’re a people person, in which case you can still interact with client services reps on the DSP side).

Programmatic buying is here to stay. It’s efficient, and gives you access to tons of analytics to refine your strategy as you go along. It’s time to get programmatic – you’ll save time that you will more than likely spend in other meetings, perhaps teaching others all about the value of programmatic for your business.

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