Buying Display Media in Advance or in Real-Time: What You Need to Know

July 8, 2016 — by Amarita Bansal    

In the past decade, programmatic buying has gained popularity —  allowing marketers to purchase ad space in real-time. A Marketing Land article by Grace Kaye breaks down what it means to buy ad space programmatically via a Demand Side Platform (DSP). Below is an excerpt:

Online display marketing is confusing. It’s a never-ending list of platforms, funnels, features, acronyms and measurements to get your head around. To make matters more complicated, a new type of buying has risen in the past decade that lets you purchase ad space in real-time: programmatic buying.

Before you dive into the online tutorials and start on-boarding programmatic for your marketing team, let me give you a quick summary of what it is and some guidelines to help you determine whether it’s worth your investment.

What is reservation buying?

Reservation buying, or direct buying, is the traditional way of buying media. It’s basically where you speak directly with a publisher and “reserve” a minimum number of impressions in advance for a specific run length at a predefined price — just like how you would buy media offline in print and TV.

What is programmatic display? 

In programmatic buying, instead of speaking directly to a publisher, you buy ad space via a Demand Side Platform (DSP) such as MediaMath, AdRoll or DoubleClick Bid Manager. You use the interface to set what type of ad space you want to buy, and when an ad space becomes available that meets your criteria (such as what device, time, day, content), you enter an auction, and the highest bidder serves the ad.

This all happens in real-time on an impression by impression basis, while a page is loading.

How do they differ? 


Real-time changes vs. booked impressions

Buying ad space programmatically means you buy ad space on an impression-by-impression basis. This means you have complete control of your ad buying to optimize appropriately in real time.

If one type of targeting is underwhelming, you can pause it, and if you discover a specific niche that is working well — e.g., tablet targeting between 7 pm and 10 pm — then you can expand that targeting.

On the other hand, buying ad space via reservation means you have a different type of control. You can guarantee a certain number of eyeballs will see your ads and that your ad will always appear on a specific page for a predefined running time — e.g., the homepage of Time Out.

Which you choose depends on whether you want the flexibility to progress a campaign using real-time optimization or whether you need the security of a guaranteed appearance on specifically chosen sites.

Read the rest of the article at Marketing Land.

Amarita Bansal

Amarita Bansal is Senior Content Manager at MediaMath. In her role, Amarita provides thought leadership in the adtech space by fostering relationships across every team at MediaMath, producing content for the blog, demand generation initiatives, media placements and bylines. She also guides the content strategy for our account-based marketing efforts. Born and raised in West London, New York City is now her adopted home town. An alumna of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Amarita has produced content across all digital platforms, previously working at Associated Press in the London bureau. She's a pilates enthusiast and loves to go giggin’.