Whether you’re an advertiser, publisher, or new to the ad tech game, it’s easy to get lost in the constantly evolving landscape of programmatic inventory.

So first of all, what is programmatic inventory? Simply put, it’s any online inventory that’s sold programmatically to an advertiser. The term programmatic means advertisers have more control over who is watching their ad and where it’s being watched. On the other side of the coin, it can provide more power to the publishers over which advertisers they want to work with.

Programmatic inventory can be sold through a number of different ways, this includes exchange-based buying (also called an open auction or an open exchange), a private marketplace auction, automated guaranteed or an unreserved fixed rate.

If you’re unfamiliar with those terms, don’t worry! I’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s talk about why you should care about programmatic if you’re an advertiser or publisher. Programmatic technology has revolutionized the way advertisers and publishers buy and sell digital inventory, and according to a recent report from eMarketer, this year US programmatic digital display ad spend will reach $22.10 billion and programmatic video ad spend will reach $5.51 billion, representing 56% of total digital video ad spend.

If you’d like to familiarize yourself a little more with programmatic, take a minute to watch the video below.

So in the world digital advertising, programmatic is a win-win for advertisers and publishers. However, there are different ways to navigate through the programmatic landscape and it’s important to remember one size does not fit all. Here are a few ways programmatic inventory can be purchased.

Exchange-Based Buying

Exchange-based buying (Open Auction, Open Exchange) allows advertisers to bid on inventory from all over the web. This is often seen as the “Wild Wild West” of online buying, since almost all advertisers can participate. There is typically no direct relationship between the advertiser and publisher in this scenario, and CPMs vary.

Private Marketplace Auction

Private Marketplaces give advertisers and publishers more control over ad inventory. A Private Marketplace Auction is similar to exchange-based buying in the sense that advertisers bid on opportunities, but in this case high quality publishers offer inventory to select advertisers. The cost of the inventory is variable because this buying process is still auction-based.

Automated Guaranteed

Automated Guaranteed mirrors traditional digital media buying because it requires a one-to-one relationship between a publisher and an advertiser. In this type of purchasing, inventory is reserved for a specific advertiser and campaigns are guaranteed to fill. It is considered programmatic because the RFP and campaign trafficking processes are automated within a technology platform.

Unreserved Fixed Rate

Unreserved Fixed Rate transactions exist within a private auction environment, but have pre-negotiated pricing. The inventory isn’t reserved like it is with Automated Guaranteed buys, which means that the advertiser is still competing against others for ad space in a Private Marketplace. Unreserved fixed rates are typically sought by advertisers who want a more predictable offering within an exchange space.

To help further break down the different ways advertisers can purchase programmatic inventory, take a look at this flow chart:

Navigating through the programmatic landscape can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! The more you know as an advertiser or a publisher on how these exchanges work, the better you’ll be able to make informed purchase decisions. To learn more about what programmatic inventory model fits your needs, contact a Yashi representative today.