Programmatic Guaranteed – Everything You Need to Know

Updated on: January 4, 2024
Learn how to start with programmatic guaranteed deals and maximize advertising revenue.

Programmatic advertising has fundamentally changed the way publishers and advertisers transact. Tech firms have identified and addressed bottlenecks in the digital advertising landscape.

The techniques birthed along the way have achieved impressive levels of automation to bolster the programmatic ecosystem. And programmatic guaranteed is an important subset that’s worth learning about.

The core tenet of advertising is to display the ad to the right potential consumer. And programmatic guaranteed brings in Deal IDs that help do exactly that. 

Let’s dive in.

What Is Programmatic Guaranteed?

By now, we assume you’ve heard the term ‘Private Marketplace (PMP)’. If not, here’s a starter brief.

Private Marketplace is a closed or invite-only real-time auction where a publisher allows only selected advertisers to bid on the inventories. 

While it enables advertisers to leapfrog spoofers and publishers to procure higher CPMs, it is tough to scale. More often than not, advertisers find it hard to reach (enough of) their target audience, so revenue takes a hit. 

Now, programmatic guaranteed was introduced as a workaround that addresses this. 

Programmatic guaranteed is simply a way for a publisher and an advertiser to trade impressions directly in a far more granular way. It uses a tiny but effective tool called a device ID. 

A publisher will guarantee to deliver a certain volume of impressions and visitors who match the advertiser’s target profile. The buyer, on the other hand, agrees to pay a specific price for the guaranteed impressions. 

The parties can also determine ad sizes, environments (rich media, web, video, mobile, in-app), and start/end date for the deal. 

The ads are sold only when the visitor matches the advertiser’s target audience profile. This means transactions cannot be triggered without a Deal ID match. 

This ensures that advertisers get top ROI on the ad inventory, users get specific ads they might like to see, and publishers receive a higher CPM, thanks to the highly targeted nature of the ad. 

How Does Programmatic Guaranteed Work?

First off, different platforms handle programmatic guaranteed (PG) in their way. While the differences are minor, there is a common theme. 

Both publisher and advertiser have to negotiate and fix the deal’s specifics. Once done, the publisher’s ad server has to send a bid request to the buyer’s DSP (demand-side platform) along with the Deal ID whenever it finds the right audience.

DSP interprets the bid request and sees whether it is a match. Because of the deal ID, the DSP knows what price to bid. The ad is sent if there is a cookie or device ID match. 

Also, DSPs sometimes turn off their targeting filters, and a bid is sent at a pre-negotiated price if a deal ID match exists. 

This makes the publisher’s audience data crucial. Using this, advertisers can choose to sell impressions only to those they want to.

For this, the publisher syncs their data management platform with the buyers. The syncing helps both parties segment and target audiences

Buyers can reserve your inventory if you are a publisher while ensuring a direct match to their audience list. 

The syncing of the data management platform allows an exchange of first-party user lists during negotiation. From there, publishers can determine the average impressions that can be bought and finalize the CPMs.

And a buyer is not required to make not bid on all the requests sent by the publisher. Depending on ad campaign goals and budgets, a DSP might choose to pass on a request even if the audience profile matches. So, using programmatic guaranteed does not ensure a 100% fill rate for publishers selling ad inventory. 

Benefits of Programmatic Guaranteed

For Publishers

  • You can target relevant buyers and negotiate higher CPMs.
  • You can predetermine parameters, negotiate, set up, and run campaigns using any ad management platform (for instance, Google Ad Manager), automating most of the sales and negotiation process.
  • More relevant ads for the user could lead to a better user experience
  • Helps target your future content strategy as you know which user base attracts better advertiser interest. 
  • In PG deals, advertisers host the creatives, so you don’t have to worry about ad creative management. 
  • Payments every 30 days instead of 60 or even 90-day payouts with other programmatic methods. This is how programmatic guaranteed deals allow for more effective budgeting. 

For Advertisers

  • Since buyers only bid whenever there’s a match, the campaign would yield better results with the right messaging and ad creative. 
  • Buyer’s DSPs don’t have to process thousands of bid requests in PG. In fact, it’ll just have to bid for carrying the PG deal ID. This means increased efficiency and decreased processing time/cost.
  • PG deals enable buyers to run direct buys with tagless trafficking, advanced targeting, and consolidated reporting and billing. 
  • Since deals are pre-negotiated, buyers don’t need to deal with discrepancies and multiple invoices.

How to Set Up a Programmatic Guaranteed Deal?

Unlike other programmatic methods, setting up a PG is quite straightforward. The strenuous part is finding the right advertiser, after which the setup is very simple. 

That said, it ultimately depends on the platform you use to run guaranteed deals. Here’s a brief guide to setting up and executing a programmatic guaranteed deal on Google Ad Manager (GAM) only.

To prepare:

  1. Map your GAM to a Google Ad Exchange account
  2. Go to Admin -> Global settings -> Features and enable ‘Programmatic Direct.’ 
  3. Enable permissions to sales or other users. 
  4. Set up the environment to let buyers know the format of inventory (Display, Mobile App, In-stream Video). 

Create Publisher Profiles

Simply put, you can create profiles to explain who you are, what kind of content you publish, who your readers are, description of inventory, why a buyer might want to partner with you, achievements, etc. 

Calibrate Visibility Options

It works as a marketplace. You can set your visibility as – Open to all buyers or no buyers at all or specific buyers, or all buyers except the specified ones. 

Negotiation and Execution

As per your visibility, buyers who would like to run PG deals can make offers to you. You can modify the offer, negotiate, and run campaigns within the platform. 

Now that you’ve set up your profile, it’s time to set up a Programmatic Guaranteed proposal. Let’s see how to do it:

Go to Sales > Proposals > Add new proposal.

Enter the details for the given proposal. You must provide your name, preferred advertiser and select the buyer from the drop-down menu.

Once the proposal is created, you must create a Proposal line item. Once you’ve created the line item, it’s time to send it to the buyer. Click on Request Acceptance and Send for review.

Are You Ready to Run a PG Deal?

Creators of content need to build an audience. That should be the modus operandi of any effective content house. Buyers aren’t necessarily looking for the tens of millions of visitors in a publisher; all they want is an ad space that will be displayed to some potential consumers of the product sold via the ad. 

The only step for any publisher should be to build an audience

Once a publisher amasses a few million niche readers a month, it dramatically increases the chances of an audience match for a buyer who operates in a similar niche. 

Where to Start?

Marketers are still finding it better to buy impressions on open ad exchanges as they’ve significantly improved their efficiency and filtering process lately. Some marketers use open ad exchanges as a ground to find new inventories and publishers with whom they can ink a direct programmatic deal in the future. 

We suggest you grow the readers (pick the niches – tech, business, etc.) and your influence while transacting on open marketplaces through header bidding/exchange bidding. You’ll find negotiating and closing deals easy when you have what buyers want.  


What is programmatic guaranteed?

Programmatic guaranteed is a way for a publisher and an advertiser to trade impressions directly and target highly specific user profiles using a tiny but effective tool called device ID.

How does programmatic guaranteed work?

Programmatic guaranteed uses visitor information the publisher shares to trigger bids from pre-selected advertisers targeting a specific demographic.

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