You need to get started using programmatic buying tools, but you’ve never done it before, and you don’t know where to begin. Join the club. We get it. It’s the same reason we haven’t learned to cook for ourselves yet.

Here’s the good news: We’ve got experts at Basis Technologies who know the ins and outs of programmatic advertising. All you have to do is ask the right questions. Lucky for you, we’ve asked the basic questions and we’ve come equipped with answers (and, lucky for us, everyone assures us there is no such thing as a dumb question).

Understanding Programmatic Ad Buying

To start: Programmatic is a very broad term. Simply put, it’s technology that automates digital media buying. This can include automating anything from rate negotiation and campaign set up to optimizations and actualizations. One of the primary buying tools you have at your disposal is a DSP.

If there really are no dumb questions, then can I ask: What is a DSP?

A demand side platform (DSP) is an automated ad buying platform, where advertisers and agencies go to purchase digital ad inventory. Examples of ad inventory include banner ads on websites, mobile ads on apps and the mobile web, and in-stream video. DSPs are integrated into multiple ad exchanges.

I’ve heard of a SSP. Is that the same acronym and I’ve been typing it wrong into Google this whole time?

Nope, it’s not the same thing, but it is similar in concept. Supply-side platforms, or sell-side platforms (SSPs), facilitate the sale of publisher inventory through an ad exchange. SSPs offer services such as minimum bid requirements in order for the publisher to maximize how much their ad space sells for. The difference is that DSPs are for marketers and SSPs are for publishers. SSPs (like DSPs) are plugged into multiple ad exchanges.

You keep mentioning ad exchanges. What are those? And why do DSPs and SSPs both need to be connected to ad exchanges?

Think of the ad exchange as the "go-between" in the automated buying world. An ad exchange is a digital marketplace that enables advertisers and publishers to buy and sell advertising space via real-time bidding (RTB). Meaning the ad exchange announces each impression—with the inventory flowing through DSPs and SSPs—in real time and asks buyers if they are interested in buying said impression and at which price.

All of this makes sense now, but I still don’t understand why I should use a DSP!

In order to understand why DSPs matter, it’s important to remember where the need came from and how the ad industry operated before automated buying. Traditionally, if you were a media buyer at an ad agency, the buying process was facilitated through human beings—it was you (the advertisers), the publishers (website where ad will appear), an audience (the viewer of the ad), and a bunch of spreadsheets and emails going back and forth negotiating prices. This process was complicated, time-consuming, and often error-prone. DSPs allow advertisers and agencies to buy across a lot of sites at the same time—and all of this is done instantly and efficiently, usually before the webpage loads.

DSPs offer a host of other benefits as well, including audience targeting capabilities, brand safety and fraud prevention tools, a real-time view of campaign performance, optimizations toward a goal, multi-tactic approaches, and flexible budget shifting.

Selecting the Right DSP for Your Programmatic Ads

How do I know which Demand side platform is right for me?

There are many DSPs in the programmatic world to choose from. Choosing the right DSP for you depends on a number of factors, like what type of data you need (first-party or third-party) and how many ad exchanges the DSP is plugged into, because that can affect reach. DSPs like Basis DSP give you access to over 40 billion daily impressions across all devices and channels. Other things to consider include cost, how much training and hands-on support you prefer, and ease of use—many DSPs have multiple, clunky or confusing user interfaces, which require a lot of education.

Speaking of training, I’m glad you mentioned that. What if I sign up for a Demand Side Platform and find out I have no idea what I’m doing?

Some DSPs come with a full team of experts, offering you everything from full-service to self-service and everything in between. With Basis DSP, you’ll start with a three-month platform training program, offering you an overview of programmatic, a walk-through of the interface, and best practices for campaign creation and optimization. Ongoing support is available in the form of a customer success manager and resources to keep you informed—like new feature webinars, best practice guides, and new quarterly business reviews.

Learn more about programmatic advertising with Basis.

Download this infographic to get the highlights from our report, “How Complexity, Job Satisfaction, and Automation Intersect in Digital Media.” Research shows that 37% of advertising professionals plan to leave their jobs within two years. Less than 25% say they are completely satisfied with any one aspect of their job – with ‘training and education’ and ‘technology to help with automation of tasks’ receiving some of the lowest ratings. The data was compiled by research firm Advertiser Perceptions from an October 2021 survey of 150 digital advertising decision-makers at agencies and brands. Learn what's driving complexity, job satisfaction and automation in digital media.

Research shows that 37% of advertising professionals plan to leave their jobs within two years. With 90% of professionals agreeing ‘that the advertising industry has become significantly more complex,’ the top factor causing this (cited by 72% of those surveyed) is ‘the increase in different transaction methods for buying media.’ The data was compiled by research firm Advertiser Perceptions from a survey of 150 digital advertising decision-makers at agencies and brands. The report includes insights on:

Want to learn about the complexity, job satisfaction and automation in the digital media industry? Download your copy of the report today.

Marketers are looking for more control and transparency into how and where they advertise to their target markets. As a result, many brands have begun to shift digital media responsibilities from traditional agencies to in-house teams.

In-housing is a major decision. That’s why Basis Technologies commissioned Forrester Consulting to do a study on the impact Basis has on customers who in-house with us. Among other things, it found that:

Want to learn more about all the ways Basis can help your business? Download your copy of the study today.

Can advertisers still meet goals in a cookieless future? Centro is ensuring it.

Even when third-party cookies are being blocked by major browsers, Centro is creating solutions for advertisers to find audiences. Agencies and brands have been relying on Centro and its technology platform to place the right ad at the right time in front of a user based on interest, context or topics. This process is activated using Centro’s Basis, the industry’s most comprehensive, automated, and intelligent digital media platform—and the only software solution of its kind to consolidate digital operations across programmatic, direct, search, and social campaigns.

Much of digital advertising today relies on cookies (both first-party and third-party) to find audiences and measure effectiveness of campaigns. Major browsers are already blocking third-party cookies and Google Chrome will do the same within two years, making marketers justly nervous about the effectiveness of their campaigns. Yet, Centro’s partnership with Adstra to combine technology tools and privacy-compliant audience data demonstrates what cookieless advertising could look like.

Adstra delivers unique audience segments. It absorbs any form of identity (individual or household), assigns a persistent ID connected to attributes data, and actions against any other media or form of identity. Its segments are based on real-world deterministic, validated data – location/fact-based data – and are anchored to real people at real addresses with hundreds of individual attributes. Adstra allows safe, compliant and economic access to any form of data, with any form of identity and any form of applied analytics, for use in any medium, to make decisions in real-time or periodically. Primarily built with multiple offline sources, these people-based audiences provide superior accuracy for precise targeting while ensuring privacy compliance. Adstra audiences are used for B2B and B2C campaigns in retail, health, luxury, pharma, education, auto, finance, political, travel, and many other industries.

The following show the success Centro clients have had on campaigns targeting Adstra audiences.


Adstra’s healthcare segments have been one of the highest performing for audience targeting. In a recent campaign, the average CTR of Adstra segments in this space was 12% over the industry benchmark, and delivered 75% of daily impressions for the tactic. The granularity of Adstra’s segments in healthcare is a valuable trait. Adstra provides niche segments with scale, allowing marketers to reach people who are being affected by very specific conditions or diseases. It shows which audiences are resonating best with the brand’s media. In one hospital network campaign, rather than targeting a broad audience of people likely to seek medical attention, Centro’s client began the campaign with over 12 Adstra segments, all very specific to different conditions/diseases. Within a few weeks, the campaign showed the top performing audiences were New Parents and propensities for Cardiovasular, Gastrointestinal, Asthma, and Arthritis related issues.


The granularity of Adstra’s audiences showed its value for a car tire campaign seeking to reach a very specific customer – people in their mid-20’s to mid-50’s who owned a car from 2018 or older – all within a very small demographic. Adstra delivered a custom segment that matched these exact requirements, that has both scaled and performed throughout the course of three campaigns for the brand. This specific segment produced one-third of total conversions for the campaign, and the second highest CTR for the campaign.

According to Keith Sklar, Adstra’s sales director of data and identity solutions: “We are extremely proud to partner with the great team at Centro in providing quality data, solutions and service. As the industry continues to change with data, privacy and technology, we recognize the importance of speed, flexibility, cost and restriction-less ease across all media, and are continually adapting and ensuring that our partners are prepared.”

Interested in understanding how Centro can help you find customers with precision and scale? Learn more about our tech solution, Basis, here.

Centro has been positioned as a Challenger in the recently released 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Ad Tech. Gartner is one of the most influential analyst firms for the technology industry and offers unbiased views and evaluations.

The Magic Quadrant is a report Gartner publishes for specific industries. Gartner provides the following definition, “Magic Quadrants offer visual snapshots, in-depth analyses and actionable advice that provide insight into a market’s direction, maturity and participants.”

The reports focus on transformational technologies or approaches delivering on the future needs of end users. According to the report, “Gartner defines the Ad Tech market as technology for managing digital advertising across channels, including display, video, over-the-top/connected TV (OTT/CTV), mobile, social and search with functions for targeting, campaign design, media buying, analysis, optimization and automation.”

According to Gartner in its report, “Challengers in this Magic Quadrant perform as well as (or better than) Leaders but tend to focus more narrowly on certain channels, strategies or nonenterprise buyer profiles. Challengers are positioned close to the Leaders Quadrant and, in many cases, their specialization is an advantage to some buyers.”

Companies enter a rigorous evaluation process for the Magic Quadrant designed to qualify the technology providers in our market. Centro’s technology platform, Basis, is cited in the report as having multi-channel and multi-process ad orchestration capabilities, thorough programmatic fundamentals and wide-angle perspective on analytics and performance. The report is available for Gartner subscribers at:

But wait, there’s more!

There’s a reason why Centro’s SaaS solution, Basis, is the industry’s most comprehensive, automated, and intelligent digital media platform in the industry. We’ve packed in a wide breadth of tools, features and functionalities—Basis is the only software solution of its kind to consolidate digital operations across programmatic, direct, search, and social campaigns. These are designed to handle the most important aspects of media organizations and media teams. Basis’ triple digit percentage growth this quarter is a testament to its utility for agencies and advertisers of all varieties.

A sampling of our recent product additions showcase how we drive users towards success. Among the most notable developments this year are:

Other enhancements are coming soon for connected TV, audience targeting, user interface, and more! Interested in a preview of our product roadmap? Please don’t hesitate to reach out directly at Visit our site to learn more about how Basis helps manage your digital advertising and business.

Gartner Disclaimer 

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

‘Ask the Expert’ is a series that breaks down the tools, tech, and trends you’ve been hearing about in the trade pubs and around the office. We ask our in-house experts the tough questions and write up the answers in bite-sized pieces for your reading pleasure.

This month’s topic? Brand safety on news and information sites. We brought in a partner—Connatix’s chief revenue officer, Jenn Chen, to give us the breakdown.

Why is brand safety a topic of interest when it comes to serving ads on news outlets?

News sits at the heart of knowledge and information—especially now when consumers are spending more time online than ever before for the latest updates. News sits in a unique and critical place between the public and advertisers, whose allocated budgets help front-line journalists. While advertisers know they need news inventory to reach most of their consumers, they also have to protect and promote their brand in a positive way. Brand safety is an essential criterion to allow them to accomplish objectives, without sacrificing core advertising principals.

How can advertisers assess brand safety levels on video news content?

Today, there are very few solutions that allow advertisers to target the context of both page-level and video content. Advertisers usually layer on a pre-bid page-level solution such as Peer39, Oracle Grapeshot, Integral Ad Science, DoubleVerify, Moat, or a DSP’s built-in solutions for targeting. However, page-level solutions are not without limitations—they require advertisers to spend additional time and resources on reaching out to individual publishers and asking them to include first-party data on the backend to categorize video private marketplaces (PMPs). Ultimately, advertisers should consider solutions that can add another layer of insight with in-video context in order to target efficiently and safely.

How are news publishers properly classifying their content to fit their advertisers’ safety requirements?

Traditionally, publishers and their editorial teams manually classify content by grouping them into feeds, adding keyword tags, and also using their own technology solutions to decode transcripts and audio files into first-party categorizations. Video indexing tools help publishers use content contextualization to analyze the content on-site and, in their videos automatically, to complete an otherwise manual process.

How is Connatix solving problems with video content classification?

With our goal of creating engaging video experiences for readers, Connatix has developed technology that classifies and contextualizes videos by sentiment, content category, keywords, and famous individuals to help both publishers and advertisers scale in-video buying in a brand-safe way.

How does Connatix work with advertisers, DSPs, and publishers?

One of our goals at Connatix is to bridge the gap between publishers and advertisers. We build our platforms and tech to streamline processes and deliver effective video experiences across the board. For advertisers and DSP partners, Connatix helps curate our direct-to-publisher supply, optimizing towards goals alongside the brand’s DSP partner. Connatix offers the most efficient way to contextually target and access unique video supply activated inside our players. For strategic partners, we also create custom creative and data solutions with both parties to drive video performance. For publishers, Connatix offers a full-stack video solution: video player, CMS, ad server, and SSP/exchange. We work with over 500+ publishers, helping them improve their content strategy and creation as well as advertising monetization.

Are you interested in learning how Centro can boost your video advertising with brand safety? Learn more about our video advertising capabilities.

Centro announced an API integration with Microsoft Advertising to automate paid search campaign management and reporting. Centro’s customers that also use Microsoft’s self-serve ad platform now receive real-time performance data in Centro’s Basis platform. Basis is the most comprehensive, automated, and intelligent digital media platform in the market, and is the only software to consolidate digital operations across programmatic, direct, search, and social campaigns.

Microsoft Ads is a leading marketing technology solution, providing pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on Bing, Yahoo! and MSN search engines. Bing powers 36.7% of U.S. desktop searches and 11.7 billion monthly searches around the globe. In the U.S., the Microsoft Search Network has 124 million unique searchersBasis receives data from Microsoft Ads that is standardized and formatted to match a campaign’s analytics and reporting from other sites, channels, and vendors.

According to April Weeks, Centro’s EVP of media services and operations: “Centro understands marketers. When Microsoft Advertising opportunities are being synchronized with omnichannel efforts, Basis eliminates the extra steps necessary to gather and align data from multiple platforms. Basis provides client teams with a holistic view of how their campaign is performing and highlights the parts that need optimization.”

Microsoft’s integration with Basis empowers users to automate cross-channel campaign management, reduces the time needed to assemble and unify reports, and eliminates manual tasks—without compromising quality and accuracy of data. Basis aggregates and rationalizes delivery data from its proprietary demand-side platform (DSP) and major third-party ad servers, as well as search and social vendors.

Media professionals drive efficiency by unifying reports from different tactics and media seamlessly, within Basis. Then, they evaluate Microsoft Advertising performance with all other ad channels holistically, to make informed campaign optimizations.  Finally, they assess conversions to attribute how Microsoft Ads interactions affected overall campaign engagement.

Most media management systems and ad-buying platforms do not have automatically standardized data being imported via robust API integrations with major third-party ad servers. Basis users do not have to log into third-party systems, locate campaign data, download spreadsheet reports with dozens of line items, and clean up reports to align them with the campaign’s preferred arrangement of data.

Synchronize your search advertising tactics with all major aspects of your campaigns today! Learn more here.


We’ve already covered the basics of DSPs for marketers and publishers. Here’s what you should know about display ad buying within a DSP!

What does a DSP do for display advertising?

Ultimately, it comes down to supplementing what you’re already doing on a display network with real-time bidding on a DSP. Display networks only scratch the surface of what a DSP can do – in terms of scale/reach, variety of inventory, audience targeting, and real-time optimization. If you want to make the most of your digital media dollars, you should be utilizing a DSP as a complementary display buying solution.

How is a DSP different than a Display Network?

Let’s start by defining scale and reach. Scale is the number of sites, and reach is the number of impressions available. You can’t target an audience if you can’t find or access them.  DSPs like Basis’ DSP give you access to over 40 billion daily impressions across all devices and channels.

Think of DSPs and display networks as swimming pools. The pool boy at the DSP swimming pool lets you bring in a bunch of fun toys – things like pizza rafts and basketball and one of those floatation devices where you can stash your beer – but the display network pool boy only lets you use their floaties, and you can’t bring any toys in from the outside. It’s a bummer of a time and everyone at the DSP pool party is having more fun.

How are inventories different on a DSP vs a Display Network?

Display networks are built on their own inventory, while DSPs are more agnostic and offer more extension options.

Speaking of inventory, with DSPs, it comes down to variety beyond just banner ads and in-stream video. You can buy across multiple devices – desktop, mobile devices, tablets. You can buy pre-roll, mid-roll, post-roll, even native. You can find your audience and show them your ads anywhere on the web.

And, finally, if we’re talking about DSP targeting benefits, the number of optimization levers you can pull to target are exhaustive. With a DSP, you can test over 20 different tactics from keyword contextual targeting to site lists, to auto-optimized predictive targeting, to different forms of retargeting. Using a DSP also allows for using both first and third-party data to target.

DSPs offer comprehensive targeting, inventory, and ad formats, all centralized in one place.

Learn more about Programmatic Advertising with Centro.