Understanding the Programmatic Buying Environment

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Understanding the Programmatic Buying Environment

You have already learned all about the most common terms and definitions within programmatic buying in the last article; today we continue our journey by explaining some of the terms used in this fascinating new world, which will give you a deeper insight into the environment where programmatic buying happens.

Open Auction
The Open Auction environment allows publishers to sell their inventory publically to everyone who is using a DSP (demand side platform) that is connected to a SSP (supply side platform) or an ad exchange on which the publisher is offering its inventory.


Premium Inventory 01


The publishers can decide how they want to offer their inventory to the interested buyers. Their presentation on the market is usually part of a well-thought-out strategy.


Fully Transparent Inventory
The publisher’s inventory is fully transparent and RTB domain names are fully submitted. This is the optimum case for you as buyer because it allows you to run full-scale domain optimization.


Semi-Blind Inventory
In this case, multiple RTB domains are masked with a single URL. This is the preferred way for ad networks and marketers to offer their portfolio inventory. While this doesn’t allow you to optimize on single RTB domains, it does at least allow you to optimize the networks and marketers’ URL.


Blind Inventory
Even if programmatic buying promises full transparency for your media buying, some publishers have unfortunately decided to remain anonymous on the market. However, this does not automatically mean that you are buying low-quality media when you bid on this inventory: it does mean you don’t know where you are buying from. It’s your decision to buy this inventory keeping in mind that domain optimization will not be possible.


Preferred Deal/Direct Deal

Bussines Deal 01


Buyers can reach out directly to ask publishers for specific inventory they want to buy. Buying conditions (volumes, target groups, prices, etc.) are negotiated directly between buyer and seller. Upon mutual agreement, the publisher creates a Deal ID that the buyer can use to exclusively access the negotiated deal through a DSP connected to the publisher’s SSP.


Preferred Deals/Direct Deals usually run with fixed prices where the typical RTB mechanism is not used. These are basically the direct bookings you are used to, with the significant difference that the whole buying process is fully programmatic. You can negotiate your deal, get your deal ID, start buying and sit tight while watching your campaign.


Private Auction



Private Auctions are open to several buyers who can bid on the available inventory, like Open Auctions, except available to selected buyers only and not the public. Depending on the floor price set by the publisher, you have to bid accordingly in order to buy the offered inventory.


Private Market Place (PMP)
Private Market Places allow publishers to connect directly to buyers circumventing the classical SSP. Many DSPs, like Adform’s DSP, offer Private Market Places with exclusive access for their clients. This means that you need to use a particular DSP in order to access the corresponding Private Market Place.

If you have long-term relations with publishers from your direct booking campaigns, it might be worth asking them to connect to the Private Market Place you are using. The inventory that the publisher usually does not offer in Programmatic Buying can be made available exclusively for you in your RTB campaigns through a Private Market Place.


Finding Your Way
With all these different ways of buying media, you must ask yourself which way fits the best for your campaigns.


Open Auction: High Scalability - Reach with Limited Audience Targeting
If your campaign goals are to quickly scale your traffic intake without having precise audience targeting, you should opt for Open Auction buying. Please note that some inventory sources still require prior approval even if you are in an Open Auction. Furthermore you will encounter traffic sources that remain anonymous or are hidden behind networks’ URLs, making your campaign optimization a little more difficult.

  • Pros: High scalability
  • Cons: Limited transparency and targeting options, other buyers participating
  • Area of use: Performance campaigns with strict CPC, CPL or revenue goals. Brand safety recommended


Private Auction: Medium Scalability - Reach with Advanced Audience Targeting
Private Auctions allow you to target your audience more precisely and give you high transparency at the cost of decreased reach and scalability. Even though you can run your performance campaigns through Private Auctions, branding campaigns are most suitable for these.

  • Pros: High transparency and visibility, advanced audience targeting
  • Cons: Medium scalability, other buyers participating
  • Area of use: Performance campaigns with strong audience requirements, branding campaigns with strong transparency and visibility requirements


Preferred/Direct Deal: Low Scalability - Reach with Precise Audience Targeting

  • Pros: Full transparency, highest possible visibility, precise audience targeting, exclusive participation
  • Cons: Low scalability, high pricing
  • Area of use: Branding campaigns with strict transparency and visibility requirements


Confused 01


As you can see there are several sources from which to buy media: perhaps all these possibilities are a bit confusing! Don’t worry! After properly evaluating the product you want to advertise, you can simply find the right working mix of media you want to buy programmatically. Don’t forget to consider brand safety, available in Adform’s DSP, especially if you are fishing in open waters.


Now, take advantage of the benefits of programmatic buying: instant control and full flexibility!


Follow our blog for the upcoming third related article, where you will get all the tips and tricks to succeed with programmatic buying! 


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