What is Programmatic?

Mary Ann


November 9, 2020

Programmatic buying is taking over the media world across all tactics – display, video, social, and even moving into the OOH arena. Programmatic advertising is a key element of any media strategy I build for a client, but what exactly is it and how does it work?

Programmatic digital is a method of media buying in which the process of purchasing ad space is automatic – and sold to the highest bidder. The term programmatic digital can encompass a wide array of specific tactics: display, in-stream video, OTT, email, geofencing…and the list of capabilities is constantly expanding. We’re even watching as it starts to drift into once solely traditional fields like out-of-home!

Automatically bid for digital ad space where your target audience is.

Programmatic buying happens in real time and in milliseconds. You’re competing against others hoping to gain impressions with your same target audience, and the impression goes to the highest bidder – before you even have a chance to think about it. The ad is shown on the website, OTT program, streaming video, or streaming audio content your ideal user is on at that moment.

Granular and multi-layered targeting capabilities.

Programmatic has the distinct advantage of being able to not only target by age or location, but also by behaviors, interests, industry, and more. By layering these requirements, we’re able to segment down to specific pockets of users that can then receive personalized creative and messaging. It pays to be careful here, though; segmenting too far can eventually lead to you competing against yourself for ad space.

Save time, money, and a lot of headache.

While not all websites or other vendors allow programmatic placement, this opportunity still provides you a ton of saved time and hassle in comparison to direct placement. Set your budget, flight week, and targeting parameters, whip up some ads, and send it off for the media agency to do all the work. Can’t really get much easier than that.

When done well, programmatic digital can be the perfect addition to a strong media strategy. Especially during today’s social distancing measures where more users are logged into the digital sphere than ever before!


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