By Jaimie Hefelfinger

Programmatic is no longer a dirty word. For so long, programmatic was synonymous with cheap CPMs and belly fat ads. It was seen as a threat to the publishing industry and the quality of our ad space. But good news! Programmatic isn’t bad, in fact, it’s fantastic! And it’s here to stay. eMarketer estimates that programmatic buying will account for 81.5% of all display advertising in 2018.

Programmatic advertising is the use of technology to buy and sell media. It’s through this technology that we can focus on the audience we’re trying to reach rather than concentrating on a specific site they might be visiting. We can target that consumer by who they are, where they are, what they’re reading about or what device they’re on. And since there are so many ways to reach an audience finding an efficient and cost effective way to do it becomes the goal. That is where demand side platforms (DSPs), like Basis DSP, come into play. A DSP allows advertisers to reach users across a wide variety of websites and devices with real-time campaign results. Think of a DSP like Let’s say you need a tent for an upcoming family vacation. You login to Amazon to find the tent, and within Amazon’s platform you will find many different sellers all selling tents. From there you make your decision based on quality of item, price and reputation of the seller. The same holds true for a DSP, your buyer logs into Basis DSP looking for impressions targeted to your advertiser’s audience, and they buy those impressions based on the quality, price and reputation of the exchange (store) and site.

One thing to keep in mind is that buying impressions via a DSP is very different than securing inventory on one site (such as a publisher’s owned & operated site). When a buyer is purchasing impressions in the DSP they are utilizing real-time bidding (RTB) which means they are bidding on inventory based on what they are willing to pay per impression. Programmatic and RTB do not mean “cheap inventory.” We want to bid high to secure high performing, quality placements. Because the amount of inventory and the number of bidders in the DSP is constantly changing, avails and predictions are impossible to determine.

Everything in the DSP happens in real-time and the true benefit of including programmatic in your overall media efforts is the ability to see results as they happen and make changes to the campaign on the fly. If buyers are not seeing the performance they anticipated, programmatic gives them the opportunity to refine it….quickly!

In the last few years, Centro has seen a significant increase in programmatic buying and a large part is from publishers offering Audience Extension. Through Audience Extension, publishers can leverage their first party data as well as layer on other digital solutions to find an audience to reach an advertiser’s goal both on and off their site. Increasingly, publishers are acting as an agency for their clients and it is through programmatic they are able to offer more.