Programmatic Advertising: A Comprehensive Guide

Programmatic advertising is the process of buying and selling digital ad inventory using automated software and data. It allows advertisers to reach their target audiences across various channels and formats, such as display, video, mobile, social, and digital out-of-home (DOOH).

In this post, we will explore the different types of programmatic advertising, how they work, and what benefits they offer to advertisers and publishers. We will also look at some of the key trends and challenges in the programmatic ecosystem, and how to choose the best programmatic ads platform for your needs.

What are the different types of programmatic advertising?

There are four main types of programmatic advertising:

  • Programmatic direct: This is a type of programmatic advertising where advertisers and publishers negotiate the terms of a deal directly, such as price, inventory, and targeting. The deal is then executed through a programmatic platform, such as a demand-side platform (DSP) or a supply-side platform (SSP). Programmatic direct offers more control and transparency for both parties, as well as guaranteed inventory and premium placements.
  • Programmatic guaranteed: This is a subset of programmatic direct where advertisers buy a fixed amount of impressions from a specific publisher at a fixed price. The inventory is reserved for the advertiser and delivered through a programmatic platform. Programmatic guaranteed is similar to traditional direct sales, but with more efficiency and automation.
  • Programmatic preferred: This is another subset of programmatic direct where advertisers get priority access to a publisher’s inventory before it is made available to other buyers. However, unlike programmatic guaranteed, the inventory is not reserved or fixed. The advertiser can choose to buy or pass on the impressions based on their performance goals and budget.
  • Programmatic real-time bidding (RTB): This is a type of programmatic advertising where advertisers bid for each impression in real-time through an auction. The highest bidder wins the impression and delivers their ad to the user. The auction takes place on an ad exchange or a SSP, which connects multiple DSPs and publishers. Programmatic RTB offers more scale and reach for advertisers, as well as more revenue opportunities for publishers.

What is programmatic DOOH?

Programmatic DOOH (digital out-of-home) is a type of programmatic advertising that applies to outdoor digital screens, such as billboards, kiosks, bus shelters, and airport displays. Programmatic DOOH allows advertisers to buy and sell DOOH inventory using data and automation, similar to online advertising. Programmatic DOOH offers more flexibility and relevance for advertisers, as they can adjust their campaigns based on factors such as location, weather, time of day, and audience behavior. Programmatic DOOH also offers more measurement and attribution for advertisers, as they can track the impact of their ads on online actions, such as website visits, app downloads, or purchases.

What is programmatic open marketplace video dimension?

Programmatic open marketplace video dimension is a metric that measures the size of the video ad inventory that is available for programmatic RTB on the open marketplace. The open marketplace is where any advertiser can bid for any publisher’s inventory without any prior agreements or restrictions. The video dimension refers to the format and quality of the video ad, such as standard definition (SD), high definition (HD), or ultra-high definition (UHD). The programmatic open marketplace video dimension indicates the level of supply and demand for video ads on the open marketplace, as well as the potential reach and performance for advertisers.

What is programmatic ecosystem?

Programmatic ecosystem is the network of platforms, technologies, and stakeholders that enable programmatic advertising. The main components of the programmatic ecosystem are:

  • Advertisers: They are the buyers of ad inventory who want to reach their target audiences and achieve their marketing goals.
  • Publishers: They are the sellers of ad inventory who want to monetize their content and audience.
  • DSPs: They are platforms that allow advertisers to buy ad inventory from multiple sources using data and automation.
  • SSPs: They are platforms that allow publishers to sell ad inventory to multiple buyers using data and automation.
  • Ad exchanges: They are platforms that facilitate the auction process between DSPs and SSPs.
  • Data providers: They are platforms that provide data about users, such as demographics, interests, behaviors, and intents.
  • Ad networks: They are platforms that aggregate ad inventory from multiple publishers and offer it to advertisers.
  • Ad servers: They are platforms that store and deliver ads to users.
  • Verification vendors: They are platforms that verify the quality and performance of ads, such as viewability, fraud, brand safety, and attribution.

What is programmatic advertising map?

Programmatic advertising map is a visual representation of the programmatic ecosystem that shows how different platforms and stakeholders interact with each other. A programmatic advertising map can help advertisers and publishers understand how programmatic advertising works, what options they have, and what challenges they face. A programmatic advertising map can also help identify the gaps and opportunities in the programmatic ecosystem, and how to optimize the programmatic strategy and performance.

How to choose the best programmatic ads platform?

Choosing the best programmatic ads platform depends on several factors, such as:

  • Your goals and objectives: What are you trying to achieve with programmatic advertising? Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, drive conversions, or retain customers?
  • Your budget and resources: How much are you willing to spend on programmatic advertising? How much time and expertise do you have to manage and optimize your campaigns?
  • Your target audience and market: Who are you trying to reach with programmatic advertising? Where are they located? What are their preferences and behaviors?
  • Your ad formats and channels: What types of ads do you want to run with programmatic advertising? Do you want to use display, video, mobile, social, or DOOH? Do you want to use native, rich media, or interactive ads?
  • Your data and analytics: What data do you have about your audience and campaigns? How do you collect, store, and analyze your data? How do you measure and report your results?

Based on these factors, you can choose the best programmatic ads platform that suits your needs and expectations. Some of the criteria that you can use to evaluate different programmatic ads platforms are:

  • Inventory quality and quantity: How much and what kind of inventory does the platform offer? Is it relevant and compatible with your goals and audience? Is it verified and compliant with industry standards and regulations?
  • Pricing and transparency: How much does the platform charge for its services? Is it clear and fair? Does it provide full visibility and control over your spending and performance?
  • Features and functionality: What features and functionality does the platform offer? Does it support your ad formats and channels? Does it provide advanced targeting and optimization options? Does it integrate with other platforms and tools that you use?
  • Service and support: How reliable and responsive is the platform? Does it provide technical and strategic guidance and assistance? Does it offer training and education resources?


Programmatic advertising is a powerful and efficient way of buying and selling digital ad inventory using data and automation. It offers many benefits to advertisers and publishers, such as more reach, relevance, performance, revenue, and insights. However, it also comes with some challenges, such as complexity, fragmentation, competition, fraud, privacy, and regulation. To succeed with programmatic advertising, you need to understand how it works, what options you have, and how to choose the best programmatic ads platform for your needs.