Jun 11 2015
Anthony Loredo

Programmatic Zeitgeist: ‘Programmatic’ Is a Very Broad Term Encompassing a Lot of Topics


Programmatic advertising has changed, and Centro’s RTB Zeitgeist must do so as well. When we started this series a couple of years ago, we highlighted the trends that were driving real-time bidding (RTB). At the onset of this series, programmatic ad buying was relatively simple, in the sense that the majority of ad spend and transactions were happening via RTB in open exchanges.

Being well-versed in RTB meant you had a good handle on what was happening in programmatic advertising. However, the world has changed and other ways to buy  in programmatic have emerged – private exchanges, private marketplaces, programmatic direct, automated guaranteed.

Furthermore, other aspects such as data management, data exchanges, video, mobile, viewability and more have to be taken into account. As my colleague Ratko Vidakovic recently said, ‘programmatic’ and ‘RTB’ are not interchangeable terms.

To address the expansion of the landscape, we are going to encompass more topic areas in our newly named Programmatic Zeitgeist to cover the full breadth of our space. Now, on with the show.

What do programmatic buyers actually do?

Alex Kantrowitz (formerly) of Advertising Age brings clarity to the ‘murky’ world of programmatic ad buying. After reading this piece, you probably wouldn’t think it’s as complicated as it sounds. Yes, the buyers profiled from Varick Media Management (MDC’s agency trading desk) are fairly young for the workplace. Some are fresh out of school and deal with multiple software platforms (8!!! Really? Is that 8 logins?), billions of inventory and millions of dollars in ad spend.. The clear message is that millions (and maybe even billions) of ad inventory being bought in milliseconds is where advertising is going, even though there are challenges to be worked out. The good news is that digital advertising still an even playing field for companies competing in it and there is plenty of upside for people working in it – except for the author of the piece, who wasn’t allowed to touch the software. That’s logical, considering one click can start a cascade of ad spending up to millions of dollars. Is that scary or cool?

More from Advertising Age

Re-thinking the Audio with Your Video Ad

When you run a video ad, do you assume people automatically listen? Although video ad opportunities are a fast growing segment in programmatic ad buying on desktop and mobile, it’s safe to assume that not everyone is an attentive listener. Mike Shields of The Wall Street Journal explores the changes in thinking of marketers who run video ads on the web. Many creative teams are thinking more about the motion and visuals of video and less about voice-overs. But can marketers communicate without sound? What if they don’t have a recognizable celebrity to utilize? The next challenge in video (other than viewability) is getting people to pay attention. I hope we’re not heading down the road of listenable ad metrics.

More from WSJ

That's it for this week's Programmatic Zeitgeist. Be sure to join us next time!

Learn more about Programmatic Advertising with Centro.