Browse Definitions:
Definition

programmatic advertising

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Programmatic advertising is a system that automates the processes and transactions involved with purchasing and dynamically placing ads on websites or apps. Programmatic advertising makes it possible to purchase and place ads, including targeted advertising content, in less than a second.

Ads are placed through an auction system known as real-time bidding (RTB) that manages transactions between the site or app publisher (the supply side) and the advertiser (the demand side). The advertiser sets criteria for buying ads through a software interface, such as a demand-side platform (DSP). When a publisher's software notifies the system that they have ad inventory (spaces for ads) available, those spaces are offered for real-time bidding.

Through automated processes, advertisers bid for the impression (a single view of an ad by a single individual) based on its perceived value, according to established criteria. All these processes and the placement of the ad occur within the time it takes for the requested web page to load. The entire process takes place between the time that a user requests a web page and the time it takes for that page to load in the browser. (For a more in-depth explanation, see our definition of real-time bidding.)

Programmatic advertising has been promoted as a way of optimizing the advertiser's investment and the publisher's profit, while also automating tasks and making it possible to serve consumers with the most relevant purchase opportunities, which are more likely to result in sales. However, there are significant downsides to all this automation. Low bids on impressions can lead to ineffective ad purchases or placement on inappropriate websites, for example, and even ad fraud. Similarly, the publisher can end up with inappropriate ads appearing on their sites. From the customer's perspective, there are concerns about data privacy, as well as the annoyance of being targeted with ads that follow you from one site to another, possibly for something that you've already purchased elsewhere or decided not to buy.

This was last updated in February 2017

Continue Reading About programmatic advertising

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

How important is it for advertisers to be aware of where their ads appear?
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • audit program (audit plan)

    An audit program, also called an audit plan, is an action plan that documents what procedures an auditor will follow to validate ...

SearchSecurity

  • computer worm

    A computer worm is a type of malicious software program whose primary function is to infect other computers while remaining ...

  • black hat

    Black hat refers to a hacker who breaks into a computer system or network with malicious intent.

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

SearchStorage

  • unified storage (multiprotocol storage)

    Unified storage -- sometimes called network unified storage or multiprotocol storage -- is a storage system that runs and manages...

  • I/O virtualization (IOV)

    I/O virtualization (IOV), or input/output virtualization, is technology that uses software to abstract upper-layer protocols from...

  • non-volatile memory (NVM)

    Non-volatile memory (NVMe) is a semiconductor technology that does not require a continuous power supply to retain the data or ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage...

SearchCloudStorage

  • Google Cloud Storage

    Google Cloud Storage is an enterprise public cloud storage platform that can house large unstructured data sets.

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

Close