Making Sense of Programmatic Digital Media

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Programmatic digital media is becoming more and more popular among marketers in the outdoor and agriculture industries because of the success many companies have had implementing programmatic digital advertising programs. We’ve been asked several times, “What is programmatic digital advertising, how does it work and why should we be doing it?” If you’ve found yourself asking the same questions, this blog post is for you.

What is programmatic digital advertising or programmatic digital media buying?

To gain a better understanding of what programmatic digital advertising is, let’s talk first about the terms “programmatic” and “RTB” or “real time bidding.”

Programmatic means automated, so programmatic media buying is buying media through an automated fashion. Automated or programmatic media buying reduces time invested researching online advertising platforms and reduces time invested in developing insertion orders and proposals, making the media buying process much more efficient. As a result, you get more value for your investment.

 RTB (real time bidding) is the “stock market” for selling and buying digital media in real-time, one ad impression at a time. This allows every online ad impression to be evaluated and purchased based upon a previously established programmatic digital media buying plan and budget.

So programmatic digital advertising is the real-time buying of digital media in an automated fashion through a network of digital platforms. This network of digital platforms consists of websites, apps and social media platforms like,, The Weather Channel app, Facebook, etc. across multiple types of devices.

How does programmatic digital advertising work?

Programmatic digital media advertising utilizes an online ad exchange, often referred to as a trading desk. This online ad exchange is a technology platform that facilitates automated digital media buying. This ad exchange hosts the auction-based pricing and buying of individual impressions between multiple advertisers in real time.

The online ad exchange consists of a supply-side platform and a demand-side platform. The supply-side platform is used by web publishers such as Google, Yahoo and OpenX. It is used to sell advertising in an automated fashion. It manages digital advertising space inventory, fills it and then delivers revenue to the participating web publishers. The demand-side platform allows digital advertisers (like us) to purchase display, video, and social ad inventory available through the network of web publishers in the supply-side platform and serve it to our target audiences on any of their devices.

So how does the online ad exchange determine the “who” and “where” for serving our ads? Answering this question is where it starts to get really exciting, but first one more definition. A data management platform is software that houses 1st and 3rd party data and translates it in a way that’s useful for marketers like us. We can set the parameters of our programmatic digital advertising campaign to target potential customers according to location, income level, demographics, and buying behaviors for a data-driven campaign. Simply put, it allows us to place the right ad in front of the right person at the right time in the right way.

Why should we care about Programmatic Digital Media?

Digital media buys placed programmatically make our digital ad buying very efficient and effective. Programmatic RTB identifies ad opportunities way more efficiently than making individual ad buys across a multitude of web properties.

The most exciting part of programmatic digital media is that we can target new customers based on their buying behaviors. This means our ads are served to new customers who we know will be interested in our products because they have purchased products in our category or products in a related category. This “super-targeting” allows us to maximize our digital ad spend and create more conversions, leading to increased sales and revenue.

To learn more about behavioral targeted programmatic digital media and 5 reasons why now is a great time to get started with it, read our blog post NOW IS A GREAT TIME TO GET STARTED WITH BEHAVIORAL TARGETED PROGRAMMATIC DIGITAL MEDIA.