January 25, 2021

Programmatic Advertising Company


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A programmatic advertising company is a digital marketing agency that uses machine learning, artificial intelligence, and related advertising technologies to automate and optimize advertising campaigns for its clients. Programmatic advertising includes display, mobile, video, and social advertising. 

More than 70% of online ads in America are now served programmatically. Businesses that have been unable to keep pace with the rapid pace of technological change, however,  may not be sure what programmatic advertising really means. So, before we discuss whether you need a programmatic ad agency and the services that Josh Meah & Company can provide, let’s take a closer look at this automated advertising beast.

What is Programmatic Advertising?

Simply put, programmatic advertising is the automatic buying and selling of online advertising space in a network- and publisher-agnostic environment. Programmatic advertising replaces human interactions with publishers and platforms with machine learning and AI-driven optimization. As a result, both advertisers and publishers benefit from increased efficiency and transparency.

The objectives of programmatic advertising include:

  • Advertisers can place their ads on multiple networks and websites without having to inquire and negotiate manually.
  • Publishers can reduce unsold inventory or ‘backfill’ and sell ad space to advertisers that are willing to pay higher.

Programmatic advertising provides significant benefits:

  • Real time auction, bidding, and measurement increases efficiency and reduces time wastage
  • Greater transparency and control
  • More accurate real-time targeting capability
  • Greater audience reach

How Programmatic Advertising Works

Programmatic advertising is enabled by an ecosystem of ad exchanges, demand-side and supply-side platforms (DSP and SSP, respectively), data exchanges, and ad servers. Most programmatic advertising uses a process of real-time bidding (RTB), in which dynamic bids for each impression are calculated after a user logs on to a website connected with the exchange. The user’s segmentation and behavioral data is automatically compared with the advertisers’ targeting data and bidding ranges and the ads are served to the webpage.

Illustrating the different components of the programmatic advertising network structure.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Ad Exchanges

Ad exchanges connect multiple ad networks and publishers with advertisers through supply- and demand-side platforms. Ad exchanges also interface with ad servers and other exchanges as well as data exchanges or data management platforms (DMP) that store and serve customer and publisher data. Ad exchanges use real-time bidding (RTB) to determine optimum bids and serve ads in a more controllable and measurable way. Examples of ad exchanges include Google AdEX, Microsoft AdECN, AdMeld, PubMatic, The Rubicon Project, and Open X.

Homepage of OpenX ad exchange.

Ad Servers

Ad servers automatically serve ads across a particular network based on the user data. Examples include Google Ad Manager, Facebook Ad Manager, SupersonicSDK, OpenX, Smart Ad Server, Kevel, and Broadstreet. 

Homepage of Kevel ad server.

An ad server stores the ad data and serves it when the data matches a particular webpage and the predefined bidding criteria are met. Ad servers can be connected with an ad exchange through a demand or supply side platform to enable real-time bidding.

Ad servers do not calculate bids in real time, so there’s a chance a high-priority ad with a lower CPM bid may get displayed and a higher CPM, low-priority ad may get skipped. As a result, the publisher may not get the optimum revenue and the advertiser may miss optimal placements. 

Demand-Side Platform (DSP)

DSP is the advertiser-facing side of an ad exchange. It allows companies to access real-time auctions and analytics and automated optimization features that take the pain out of ad campaign management. The platform enables advertisers to define the bidding criteria. A DSP may focus on either mobile or desktop ad delivery, but mobile ads are in higher demand these day--most people now use mobile to browse the web or interact with apps. Some of the top mobile DSPs include Jampp, Bidease, Splicky, Appreciate, and SmartyAds.

For example, you visited a website that sells motorcycle helmets but left without buying a particular helmet. You go to a dog food website next and see an ad of the same helmet. You’re being shown this ad because the advertiser has configured the DSP to display its ad on that website, but only to people who previously visited its own website first.

Supply-Side Platform (SSP)

A Supply-side or Sell-side Platform (SSP) is a reverse tool for publishers to manage and optimize ad inventory. As soon as a user clicks on a link to visit a website, the SSP sends the potential impression data to the ad exchange, where they are purchased by the DSP. Some of the best SSPs in 2021 include MoPub, AppNexus, BounceX, and RhythmOne. 

Many automation tech companies offer SSP, DSP, and DMP as a unified solution.

Example of a supply side platform's site.

Real Time Bidding (RTB)

RTB is a technology that allows advertisers and publishers to buy and sell ads through real-time auctions. It means that the transactions are made within the time it takes a webpage to load—around 1/10 of a second. Here’s how it works:

  • A user visits a website.
  • A request is sent to an ad exchange along with the webpage and visitor data.
  • The ad exchange matches the information with the advertisers that meet the criteria and a real-time auction is conducted.
  • The highest bidder that meets the criteria gets to display its ad.

Data Management Platform (DMP)

A DMP is used in combination with either a DSP on the advertisers’ side or a SSP on the publishers’ side. The job of the DMP is to collect, store, and sort data and then serve it to the DSP or SSP as requested. A DSP or SSP needs customer and website data to buy and sell ads. For example, when a specific visitor clicks a link to visit a website, the DMP reads and segments the incoming cookie data and sends it to the DSP or SSP, where the data is used for conducting a real-time auction.

Some of the world’s best programmatic DMPs include Lotame, Salesforce DMP, OnAudience, Snowflake, Cloudera, Mapp DMP, and Nielsen.

DMP webpage

Does Your Business Need Programmatic Advertising?

The tremendous growth of AI, machine learning, and advertising technologies have given a huge boost to programmatic advertising and placed it within easy access of even small and medium businesses. It is now possible for your business to run near-perfect ad campaigns with minimal effort. After all, who wouldn’t like to run more profitable advertising that takes less effort? That’s why programmatic will account for 88% of all digital display advertising in the US in 2021. 

Programmatic advertising has the potential to fulfill every marketer’s dream of running the perfect ad campaign—a campaign in which your ads are seen only by the people who are most likely to convert and none of the impressions are wasted. Working with an experienced programmatic ad agency, you have a higher probability to run your dream campaign that delivers unprecedented results. 

The Role of a Programmatic Advertising Company

‘Okay, so the whole process of programmatic advertising is automated. Why would I need an agency?’

That’s like asking, ‘I have the best racing car, why would I need a driver?’

Just as you need an expert driver to negotiate the twists and turns on the track and win the race, your business needs a programmatic advertising agency to configure and operate the programmatic tools in a way that places you ahead of the competition. 

Here are the services that a programmatic ad company delivers to make your job easier and get you an advantage over competitors.

1. Selecting the Programmatic Technology Stack

By now you know you need a DSP (or SSP if you’re a publisher), an ad exchange, DMP, and ad server to go for programmatic advertising. The problem is which one? There are so many tools and software available that you can’t try them all and select the best one. Each ad exchange, DMP, DSP, and ad server has slightly different features, fees, and learning curve. An expert programmatic advertising company can help you select the most suitable programmatic tech for your business.

2. Audience Segmentation and Targeting

Programmatic ad tech displays ads to the right people at the right times by running algorithms on customer data. The data is stored and supplied by DMPs and the computations are conducted by DSPs (or SSP for publishers). Between them, these technologies have the ability to serve ads to a virtually unlimited array of highly granular customer segments, defined by each customer’s demographic, location, behavior, time of usage, and tons of other attributes. 

There are millions of data sets for optimizing your campaigns. A programmatic ad agency helps you handle the overwhelming amount of data and target your campaigns more precisely,reducing wasted exposures and achieving more conversions.

3. Running Platform Agnostic Advertising Campaigns

Digital display is not the only type of advertising that can be programmed. A programmatic ad agency like Josh Meah & Company can help you with all types of programmable ads including display, mobile, video, audio, digital TV, social, direct, and PMP (Private Marketplace) advertising campaigns. We track real-time analytics to determine which type of advertising and media channels are performing better and help you allocate more resources with the particular type of programmatic ad that delivers the maximum return on your investment.

4. Attribution Tracking

Attribution tracking is a key area we focus on because it’s critical to provide your DSP with the right attribution data. We track viewability daily to determine the real conversion rates and cost per conversion, allowing us to place realistic bids that deliver the maximum exposure at a lower cost. We also compare pre- and post-bid viewability to optimize the ad spend moving forward.

5. Ad Creative, Design and Optimization

Most Americans view between 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day. Your ads must be extraordinary to get noticed and excite the viewer. A programmatic ad company like Josh Meah specializes in creating highly effective display, video, and mobile ads that break the clutter, build brand awareness, and generate sales. The agency designs highly targeted ads, tests different versions of the ads, and tracks performance to measure and improve click-through rates, conversion rates, impression share, and other key metrics.

6. Remarketing Strategy and Implementation

Remarketing is an important part of every digital ad campaign including programmatic campaigns. Remarketing ads have a better conversion rate than original campaigns and must be deployed to woo visitors who left your website without making a transaction. Planning and implementing an effective remarketing strategy and designing attractive remarketing display ads are also parts of a programmatic ad company’s job description.

7. Helping with Endless Data Analytics

Programmatic advertising is driven by and produces virtual tons of data. Advertisers and publishers must track and understand this data for optimizing their programmatic advertising campaigns.  Your programmatic ad agency keeps close watch on the detailed reports that your ad exchange provides. Being experts in digital advertising, the marketers at a programmatic advertising company understand which metrics are critical and what changes to make to your campaigns to achieve the best results. Without an agency, it would be overwhelming for a small business to analyze the incessant flow of data and take actions that improve performance.

The Way Forward

A perfect advertising campaign would put your ads exclusively in front of potential customers with the highest statistical probability of converting to paid buyers, targeting each of them with the right message at the precise moment when they’re most likely to buy your product or service. While programmatic advertising is not perfect, with the help of an expert programmatic advertising company, it can get as close to perfect as possible in the marketing world. 

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