Do You Need A Programmatic Interpreter?

When you first become involved with programmatic advertising, you’ll find that we speak an entirely different language. It can be confusing and difficult to follow, but at MyMediaTradingDesk our team works hard to make sure you pick everything up. Soon you’ll understand exactly what we’re talking about.

Why do we complicate things with language? A large part of our role is being a go-between for our clients who want to use programmatic and the technical suppliers. Both of these roles come from different worlds, which mean they use different terms to describe what they do. The suppliers use very technical language around the software and programs that they employ, which often requires technical knowledge to understand.

Below are some of the major terms you’ll start coming across as you begin your programmatic journey. The definitions are quite clinical but as you start working with us you’ll begin to understand what they mean in practise as we begin your programmatic campaigns and get you results.

Ad Inventory – The amount of ad space, or number of advertisements, a publisher has available to sell to an advertiser. In programmatic, ad space can fall into three categories. Premium ad space is self-explanatory. Remnant ad space is a publisher’s non-premium inventory which is usually sold at a discounted rate. Long-tail ad inventory is aggregated inventory from less popular or well-known publisher sources which can be combined to reach highly targeted niche audiences.

Attribution Measurement – a method of analysing data across a campaign’s various touch points and then assigning a value to each contact point that contributed to a specific outcome. Attribution measurement is a way of working out what the relative contribution of different ads to a desired customer outcome is and measuring it. Attribution modelling software analyses campaign data across various touchpoints to work out the customer journey.

Behavioural Targeting – attempts to deliver more relevant ads based on a user’s browsing and app usage. Platforms typically do this by analysing and grouping visitors into audience segments before providing relevant messaging to customers based on what they have been looking at online. This includes the use of algorithms which analyse data about web pages or apps that a user has accessed recently and attempts to determine whether they will be interested in a brand, product or specific offer. Buyers can then selectively advertise to users who will find their ads relevant. Behavioural targeting is commonly used to identify and target users who are considering buying a product, in which case it may be referred to as behavioural retargeting.

Cost Per Action/Acquisition (CPA) – average cost of a user converting during a campaign. It’s the cost of persuading a user to take the action you want them to take during a marketing campaign. It is calculated by dividing the total number of conversions by the total cost of the campaign and can help when evaluating and optimising acquisition-based campaigns.

Cost Per Click (CPC) – this is the average cost of user click-throughs. This number is calculated by dividing the total cost of clicks by the total number of clicks. Cost per click gives you the average cost of each user click-through over the course of a campaign and is used to evaluate and optimise acquisition-based campaigns.

Cross-Device Tracking – platforms and publishers attempt to track individual users across every device they may use, including mobile, tablet, desktop and apps. This data is used to better understand users’ behaviours online and target or retarget individuals with relevant advertising.

Click-Through Rate – this refers to the percentage of users who were delivered an ad and clicked on that ad. For example, a 1% CTR means 1 out of every 100 impressions delivered were clicked on by a user.

Data Management Platform (DMP) – this is the technology used to receive, analyse, sort and store data generated from cookies and other tracking codes and processes. It is a centralised management platform which manages data to assist in assessing user information and activity which can then be used to optimise media buys. The large amounts of data involved in programmatic buying is integrated and applied to an advertising strategy via data management platforms.

Demand Side Platform (DSP) – this is a technology platform which enables media buyers to purchase digital advertising across a variety of supply side platforms (SSP’s), networks and sites. All the parameters for real time bidding of inventory are entered and buyers can automate the purchase of display, video, mobile and search apps. There is no negotiation of rates so buyers can quickly and efficiently buy targeted impressions across a wide variety of publishers and platforms.

Programmatic Attribution – using automated methods to understand which combination of marketing contact points are contributing to a goal and using this information to optimise the campaign and reallocate budget for maximum efficiencies and impact.

Programmatic Buying – buying media in an automated way when parameters set by the marketer meet the parameters shown as available by the media owner through relevant technology platforms. It’s a similar process to buying shares on the stock market, online trading software allows the purchase of specific shares when prices reach set points.

Real Time Bidding – the process of buying one advertising impression at a time if the parameters for the viewer of that inventory meet those set by the Trading Desk. The price of ad impressions is determined by immediate demand. Real-time bidding works within milliseconds. When someone visits a website, their information is given to an ad exchange where an auction for that impression occurs. It takes place one ad impression at a time, sometimes in 1/3 of a second and it’s focused on cost efficiency. Much of RTB is done blindly without the buyer knowing who will be running ads on their site and vice versa. The ads can be targeted, often using behavioural data, giving rise to the idea of buying an audience rather than an ad impression.

Remarketing – similar to retargeting, remarketing targets customers who have completed certain transactions online and therefore acquired certain cookies. These customers are marketed other products that match the ones bought. If you bought a certain book online, you may be remarketed in 5 days’ time with banner ads for the next two books in the series.

Retargeting – a simple process of serving a particular advertisement to someone who has been on a particular page of a website. If you look on an airline site for flights from Sydney to Paris, the cookie that you acquired while on that page can allow advertisers to show you other Sydney to Paris offers when you’re on thousands of other websites accessible through a DSP.

Supply Side Platform (SSP) – the technology that allows a number of media and website owners to get together to achieve a scale of advertising opportunities when their resources are pooled. The media owners involved use the supply side platform to set floor pricing, volumes, and advertising categories. Inventory is connected with ad exchanges, networks, and DSP’s at the same time to sell impressions at their highest value in real time. It increases access to many potential buyers, and they can set a minimum price they will sell impressions for. The SSP is used by publishers to manage their yield, and adjust floor pricing for inventory based on dynamic data.

Trading Desk – this is where programmatic buying is handled for an advertiser. It can be an in-house function, or outsourced to a media trading agency such as MyMediaTradingDesk. The trading desk is the platform that uses technology and data at the buyer side to enable bidding on available advertising inventory. Trading desks help clients improve their advertising performance and receive increased value from their display advertising. They also measure results and report audience insights to their clients. Trading desks were created in order to give the client and the agency more control over ad placement and more closely examine the results to optimise if necessary.


To learn more about Programmatic Media Buying and how to implement it into your marketing campaigns, contact the team at MyMediaTradingDesk or Download one of our “Cheat Sheets” to help you get a step ahead of the pack.