Programmatic Media Continues to Evolve Media Buying Landscape

By Marie Boian-Meyer

Gone are the days of blindly placing media in the hopes that you will reach your exact target demographic.

Technology has taken the guesswork out of the process with programmatic media, one of the fastest growing trends in the media buying and advertising industries.

Programmatic media buying utilizes a computer program that manages the real-time bidding on media inventory housed in ad exchanges. Sellers (publishers) within the ad exchanges use algorithms to determine the exact price that a buyer (advertiser) is willing to pay for the media, thus making the process that much more efficient.

According to Chris Rash, vice president of digital innovation at Interfuse Media, programmatic buying has three key benefits: better rate, higher optimization and flexibility.

The rates with programmatic buying tend to skew much lower than traditional digital media buying because advertisers are not limited to the rates provided by one seller. The ad exchanges provide an array of inventory and create a competitive rate network.

The second benefit focuses on higher optimization in that with programmatic buying a buyer can tailor a specific message to a targeted consumer at a precise moment through a particular medium. This allows buyers to maximize their advertising dollars by pinpointing their desired audience.

The third benefit of programmatic buying allows a buyer to analyze and tweak his or her campaign in real time. If the campaign is not delivering the desired results, it is possible to tweak the trends, adjust the targeting, and change the geographic reach to ensure that the campaign delivers the buyer’s desired results.

Below are some common phrases and the meaning behind them in the digital media buying space:

  • Ad Network – An online advertising network, or ad network, is a company that connects advertisers to web sites that want to host advertisements. The key function of an ad network is aggregating ad space supply from publishers and matching it with advertiser demand.
  • Ad Exchange – An ad exchange is a technology platform that facilitates the buying and selling of online media advertising inventory. The approach is technology-driven as opposed to the historical approach of negotiating price on media inventory. Prices are determined through bidding from multiple ad networks.
  • CPM – In advertising, CPM refers to the cost of one thousand impressions of an advertisement, or per 1,000 people exposed to your ad. It gives marketers a way not only to compare the cost of ads when planning a campaign, but also to measure the value of an entire campaign, even one that employs a variety of media to deliver its message. To calculate the CPM of a single advertisement, take the cost of an ad and divide it by the total audience, then divide that by one thousand: cost/(audience/1,000)=CPM.
  • Internet Bot – Also known as web robot, WWW robot or simply bot. A software application that runs automated tasks over the Internet. Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone. The largest use of bots is in web spidering, in which an automated script fetches, analyzes and files information from web servers at many times the speed of a human.

Technology will continue to reinvent the media buying landscape. A separate digital worksheet for the changing times can allow you to easily implement your programmatic media buying.


About the Author:

Marie_head shotMarie Boian-Meyer is the vice president and media director of BluHorn, a division of Client Focused Media. CFM is a Jacksonville-based integrated marketing firm with extensive capabilities and experience providing strategic planning, marketing, creative, advertising, public relations and crisis communications services.

Boian-Meyer has more than 12 years of experience as a media buyer/planner in all market sizes, with 10 of those years predominantly working with the Chicago market, which is the third largest in the country. To find out more, go to or contact her at

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