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Programmatic Direct – Everything You Need to Know

Programmatic Direct
“Advertisers will continue to favor the use of PMPs to activate coveted first-party data and other premium audience data that they refuse to release into the open markets” - eMarketer.

As the industry is moving towards programmatic direct and private marketplaces, advertisers are considering to bring their programmatic efforts in-house. It means that the publishers will have the chance of increasing their ad revenue further. While this trend is picking up speed, it is better to be aware of the programmatic direct concept so that you are ready to leverage the opportunity when it arrives at you. 

Table of Contents

What is Programmatic Direct?

The term “Programmatic Direct” is made up of two keywords – Programmatic and Direct.

The word “Programmatic” signals that the buying and selling of ad inventory will take place using programs/software/technology in an automated manner. The word “Direct” tells that the deal for buying and selling of this inventory has been made directly between the publisher and advertiser without the involvement of any middlemen. 

Therefore, Programmatic Direct Advertising refers to the programmatic media buying process which takes place according to the deal directly made between the publisher and the advertiser. 

How Does the Programmatic Direct Deal Take Place?

  • The advertiser/brand zeroes down the website on which it would like to display its ads.
  • The publisher and buyer finalize the details of the ad campaign like ad placements, impression volume, CPM, time duration, etc. 
  • Technical arrangements like ad configuration, pixel tracking, etc are made.

The order is placed

The publisher checks and verifies the campaign and executes the order by running the campaign on the site.

Why Programmatic Direct?

The share of Programmatic Direct has been increasing constantly in the whole programmatic ad pie because of multiple advantages it gives to the publishers as well as the advertisers.

  • Transparency – When compared to open market auctions where the publisher and advertisers are far away from each other with various third parties standing between them, the one-on-one interaction in programmatic direct brings a lot of transparency in the process flow.
  • Security – There are more chances of fraud when an ad has to travel a long and complex route from the advertiser to the user. Programmatic Direct shortens this route, even sometimes the ads are delivered directly from the publisher’s server. 
  • Brand Safety – The advertiser and the publisher determine the placements for the campaign in the deal. Due to this, the advertiser can be assured that the ads will appear in a brand-safe environment and the publishers can be assured that the ads being displayed are safe for the website’s brand too. Running the campaign from an open market auction cannot provide such a level of assurance.
  • Higher CPMs – The CPM for the campaign is pre-negotiated in Programmatic Direct. This CPM is also higher than the open market auction rates because direct deals are made for premium inventory. Therefore, publishers enjoy fixed and higher CPM.
  • First-Party Data – Due to safety reasons, publishers remain cautious of exposing their first-party data to open marketplace but in private deals, the advertisers can get access to this data as publishers feel safer with sharing the first-party data in a closed setup.

What’s the Difference Between Programmatic Direct & Programmatic Guaranteed?

Because of the similar names, sometimes people think that Programmatic Direct and Programmatic Guaranteed are the same. While it is not completely wrong, but it is not completely right either. A Programmatic Direct deal can be guaranteed or non-guaranteed. When a publisher guarantees a fixed volume of inventory and the advertiser agrees to a specific price and terms, then it is a Programmatic Guaranteed deal. However, if both parties are unable to enter a guaranteed deal then they can opt for a Preferred Deal

What is a Preferred Deal?

In a Preferred Deal, the advertiser can optionally buy the inventory. The advertiser gets the preferred opportunity to secure the inventory at the negotiated prices. But if the advertiser chooses not to buy it then the publisher can sell the inventory in the open auction. 

To go deep into it, you can refer to our detailed post on Preferred Deals

Why Programmatic Direct Isn’t for Everyone?

While Programmatic Direct looks like the perfect choice for the publishers, it doesn’t mean that there are no flaws in it. There are some disadvantages as well.

  • Unfilled Inventory – Publishers can end up with unfilled inventory even with Programmatic Guaranteed. 
  • Access to Ad Server – Advertisers get direct access to publishers’ ad servers. Due to this, a lot of coordination with the advertiser is required for the integration. 
  • Single Channel – The publisher commits the website inventory to a single advertiser. It takes away the flexibility of having multiple demand sources from the hands of publishers.
  • Not for Everyone – Only publishers with a huge amount of traffic can enter such deals. At the same time, only advertisers with big marketing budgets can afford the premium prices of direct deals.

How to Set up Programmatic Direct in Google Ad Manager?

If you wish to manage your Programmatic Direct deals by yourself through Google Ad Manager then follow these steps

  • Make sure you have linked your primary Google Ad Exchange account to Ad Manager.
  • Enable Programmatic Direct by going to Admin > Global Settings > Features. Find the Programmatic Direct button and toggle it on. Save the settings.
  • Go to Sales > Deals Settings and create your Publisher Profile so that buyers can see you in the marketplace.
  • Configure your inventory types by going to Admin > Global Settings. Configuring your inventory will help your sales representatives to specify the type of inventory during the negotiation process.

Now your sales team can start sending and negotiating proposals with buyers, They can also receive the request for a proposal from the buyers.

What’s Next?

Programmatic direct has its pros and cons but the pros outweigh the cons, you should try it if you have a highly engaged audience and a huge volume of ad impressions to ink a direct deal with a brand. You can get your premium ad inventory filled in premium ads that will result in an overall increase in profitability. But if you are not a big enough publisher then auctions from ad exchanges or ad networks like Adsense will be the best course for you. In case you need any help regarding the setup of your programmatic direct campaigns, feel free to connect with us. Have any questions? Let us know in the comments. 

Automatad Team

At Automatad, we help publishers to monetize better without hampering the user experience. Our products are live across hundreds of publishers, earning them incremental ad revenue with every passing second. You can request a free audit to get an estimated revenue uplift today.

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