Tencil Trends: An Introduction to Programmatic

BACK TO BASICS SERIES by Francesca Gold

What is Digital Advertising?

Traditional advertising is problematic to measure and target effectively, but the creation of digital advertising overcame this issue. 1994 saw the appearance of the first banner ad on HotWired.com, the breakthrough for digital. The availability of user data transformed the way advertisers communicated with their audience. This development saw the ROI measurable for the first time and reaching the target audience also became achievable, with advertisers being able to measure campaigns and evaluate performance. There are many forms of digital, including search, display, native, and programmatic which we will explore more.

What is Programmatic?

Programmatic advertising is the automatic buying and selling of digital ad space, without the need for human  negotiations. Simply, publishers have inventory with huge amounts of ad space available to be filled. Advertisers have products they need to sell to the public. So, you have the two sides of the ecosystem; publishers and the SSP (Supply Side Platform) providing access to their inventory to the advertisers, the DSP (Demand Side Platform). To maintain the automated and quick nature of programmatic buying, these transactions are done through the ad exchange. This is essentially the stock-market for programmatic. Real-Time Bidding (RTB) is a way to buy and sell ads via instant, real-time auctions- these auctions take the same amount of time as it does for the web-page to load (around 100ms). The ad exchange is served information on the user and the webpage (SSP), and matches this information with a relevant advertiser (DSP) who will be advertising something of interest to the user, and just like that the user is served an ad. You can layer on any form of targeting you might have to ensure your campaign is delivered to the correct audience, and this can be as granular as demographic, postcode, or mobile phone network. Programmatic could develop further than the online world, however, as the future might see billboards, bus stops and other forms of out-of-home make the transition. 

Where does Tencil fit in to all of this?

At Tencil, we want to give young individuals more insight and opportunities into this industry. Often words like programmatic, ad exchange, or RTB can be off-putting for a stranger to the industry and it is our aim to give young starters a platform into learning more. It’s important to remember that, like many trades and professions, programmatic or digital advertising isn’t taught in schools and every employee had to start from the bottom and learn their way up. Programmatic professionals will assure you that even they are still learning every day. Naturally the industry is ever-changing with the tech and digital landscape, and so there are always new things to find out.

In the meantime, Tencil is here to give you guidance into the industry.

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