PROGRAMMATIC ADVERTISING · 10-MINUTE READ · By Tina Arnoldi on December 8 2017.

Programmatic advertising automates the ad buying process and secures ad space based on criteria identified by the buyer. With it, computers do the hard work of media buying and are more accurate in finding the right users, but obviously it does not negate the need for creativity and appropriate messaging.

Benefits of programmatic advertising include:

  • Speed
  • Better audience targeting,
  • Delivery of real time messages.

The key benefits over traditional reservations are the efficiency and these real-time components.

Let’s say you’re catching up on the news online and happen to love travel. Before you select ‘next’ to go to the second page of an article, the site has to decide how to sell the ad slot on the next page. Since you’ve shown interest in LoveToTravel agency (a fictional company) in the past and that agency has reserved ad space on the site you are browsing, the site may show an ad from LoveToTravel since you have already shown interest in that brand.

If LoveToTravel has not reserved space on the site, the site will see if a good price is available through the ad exchange to show a LoveToTravel ad. When the ad slot is on the exchange, those with ad campaigns in their Demand Side Platform (DSPs) can bid on that particular slot. (A DSP is a demand side platform on the buyer side that makes it easier to buy across multiple exchanges). If the site does not get the desired price for that ad slot, they can sell it as leftover inventory on the ad network.

Assuming LoveToTravel had reserved an ad slot, the user who is interested in the LoveToTravel agency loads a page, an impression on that page is available, and if LoveToTravel bids on that impression and is the highest bid wins, their ad is served. As complicated as it sounds, programmatic ads happens as the page loads.

In this post, you’ll get an overview of DoubleClick, which is one solution for programmatic ad buying and an introduction to relevant connectors from Supermetrics.

Auction bidding with DoubleClick

The DoubleClick Ad Exchange works in conjunction with the Google Display Network, providing an opportunity for companies to buy impressions for more than one advertiser. Buyers build creatives for an ad campaign and can do so with DoubleClick Studio.

The DSP, in this case – DoubleClick Bid Manager uses algorithms to make buying transparent across several exchanges at once. Ad networks aggregate unsold ad space to sell to advertisers, serving as a connector between advertisers and websites hosting ads.

On the publisher’s side, they present ad slots (tags) that request content for the sell-side platform (SSP) to initiate an action. The SSP is the publisher’s equivalent of DSP. An auction for an impressions happens via a callout (bid request) and bidders decide what to bid in real-time. Once buyers bid on impressions through their DSP, the buyer with the highest bid pays to show their ad, which could be the LoveToTravel agency as mentioned earlier.

The process can be a bit confusing initially so the key takeaway is that the DoubleClick Ad Exchange is the digital marketplace for buyers and sellers and uses an auction. DoubleClick also offers tools for managing campaigns, optimizing bids, and collecting search data.

Finding publishers & inventory

The Ad Exchange offers publisher inventory for websites (AdSense), mobile apps (AdMob), and multi-screen video and is part of the Display Network. Advertisers select criteria, such as device, gender and location, similar to AdWords campaigns to see available inventory with detailed statistics.

Next they can select an existing package or submit a new proposal to a publisher. If a publisher accepts a proposal, the ad is then ready to run.

Auction Types

There are different types of auction available with DoubleClick. Advertisers new to programmatic may want to start with reserving a predetermined number of impressions at a fixed price rather than a preferred deal which has a fixed price per impression but not a defined total number of impressions.

Private Auctions have a minimum price so it’s best for advertisers who are ready to scale and Open Auctions provide the widest inventory to buyers so Open Auctions are the best place to start.

For a brief overview of the different types, see the below video

Ad Compliance

To stay compliant with Ad Exchange policies, advertisers have to follow guidelines for the creative, abide by technical requirements, have crawlable landing pages, and be transparent about the type of data collected.

Google takes compliance seriously as demonstrated by their new advertising standards specifically for publishers based on the Better Ads Initiative. Those concerned about not meeting those standards can view the Ad Experience Reports in Search Console that show if they are violating these standards.

Assuming there are not any compliance issues, once Google reviews the creative submitted with a bid response, the publisher determines if it meets their requirements. Even if it meets their requirements, it may not be accepted if the bid was lower than the publisher’s minimum.

Using Ad Exchange Tools

Once advertisers are ready to bid, the Ad Exchange interface provides information about publishers that are a good matches based on an advertiser’s buying criteria, data about status and approvals, and bid requests and responses. Advertisers can view detailed profiles of each publisher, their specific offers and can accept a deal or propose a custom deal. Once submitted, Real Time Bidding display the status of pending deals.

DoubleClick Reporting and Metrics

With all marketing channels, you need to measure what you do to know if it worked. As an advertiser, you can measure when campaigns are seen, how people respond to them, and any action they take as a result of viewing your ads with DoubleClick. Real-time data allow you to modify campaigns on the fly.

With the DoubleClick Bid Manager Connector from Supermetrics, you can retrieve metrics with different dimensions and view a snapshot of your campaign results. The below screenshot is from a custom report built with the DoubleClick Bid Manager Connector

With the Supermetrics Connector for DataStudio, data from the 20-plus marketing platforms Supermetrics connects with, such as Bing Ads, DoubleClick, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Twitter Ads and Yahoo Gemini, is brought into Data Studio seamlessly.

The advantage of DoubleClick over AdWords is the access to over 100 Ad Exchanges and premium inventory from high traffic websites. It’s a good tool for advertising on a large scale. It also automates direct ad buys through programmatic.

DoubleClick will expand your abilities to reach audiences and can be viewed as the next building block after mastering AdWords. For a deeper dive into DoubleClick, visit their YouTube channel for comprehensive videos.

About Tina Arnoldi


Tina Arnoldi is Analytics and AdWords Qualified and one of the few people in the United States recognized as a Google Developer Expert(GDE) for marketing. Her agency, 360 Internet Strategy, is also a Google Partner. You can learn more about her on LinkedIn

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