As programmatic evolves into digital out-of-home, TV and audio, it is more important than ever to get to grips with the basics in order to devise an optimised strategy.

One aspect of programmatic advertising is guaranteed impressions. A price is pre-agreed by the buyer and seller before the impressions go live on the website. When the brand needs to amplify the message, or reach a different audience beyond the continuous campaign, marketers can bid for real-time impressions.

The use of acronyms such as DSP and SSP, along with DMP (data management platform) and API (application programme interface), can make programmatic seem overcomplicated.

How to use data effectively for programmatic

Having an understanding of the behavioural insights that can be drawn from data is the first step to achieving an efficient programmatic strategy.

There are three tiers of data to consider. First-party data is the advertiser’s own data on their customers, while second-party data is collected by someone other than the advertiser, such as an agency, who shares that data with the brand to help structure the programmatic strategy. Third-party data is available to anyone at a cost and is usually sold on a rate card basis.

How to find the right programmatic model

Currently the most common method to buy programmatic is through media agencies, using a DSP to run the programmatic activity. The agency model is most prevalent in the UK, with more than 90% of companies opting for this approach. However, concerns around transparency and ad fraud mean increasingly brands are transitioning from managed buys to running programmatic in-house.

  • DSP – Demand Side Platform

  • DMP – Data Management Platform

  • CDP – Customer Data Platform

Header bidding

Header bidding is an advanced programmatic bidding technique that is said to be more profitable for publishers and offer a better deal for brands. The basic idea is that it allows publishers to offer ad inventory to multiple ad exchanges at the same time and only then does it call an ad server. Traditional programmatic works like an auction but there is only one buyer and one seller. In header bidding, all the buyers get to bid at the same time.

Post-bid programmatic

Post-programmatic technology is one of the big emerging developments in programmatic video particularly. It aims to improve the quality of inventory by allowing buyers to ensure what they have bought is up to standard.

It works like this. Currently when an impression is bought, the demand-side platform only gets between eight and 10 pieces of information on the audience before having to make a decision on buying. Only once the ad is served does it get information from the supply-side platform.

With post-bid, the impressions can be interrogated across hundreds of fields of information after the buy, with the opportunity to dump it if it turns out traffic is fraudulent or there are brand safety issues. The whole process takes fractions of a second but it allows the system to decide not to serve the ad if it turns out the impression isn’t good enough.

Data management platforms (DMP) have been used for some time in display advertising. According to a report by Oracle and Econsultancy, 20% of marketers have used a DMP. However, it is only now that they are now starting to be used in programmatic as well.

DMPs are basically software that brings together data, sorts it and helps to provide insights into what it shows. For marketers and their agencies they’re typically used to help segment audiences and show relevant ads using cookie IDs. In programmatic, they can draw in data from a DSP, ad network and ad exchange to help boost the effectiveness of advertising.

Publishers also use them to get more information on their audiences to improve targeting and, in the long run, profitability.

The idea is that a DMP gives both the brand and the publisher more control. And it can also help them work together to share data, improve targeting and reach more engaged audiences.