Programmatic buying refers to buying inventory from real time ad ad exchanges using one many different mechanisms.

The current options for buying are:

Open Exchange

Simply adding a domain or App Id to a targeting list can result in your ad running on that location.

If it does not run, and you know that the publisher has ad placements then one of three things are happening:

  1. They not are connected to an ad-exchange (Use Ghostery to check).
  2. They have blocked direct targeting, i.e. you cannot target their domain directly. (You will need to contact them to negotiate having this enabled ).
  3. They are blocking our Buyer ID. (You will need to contact them to negotiate having this enabled ).

If you find that the campaign delivers in small quantities then it is possibly that they are throttling the amount of inventory that can be bought by our Buyer ID. Again this means you will need to contact them to negotiate having that throttling removed.


Custom Categories

There are mechanisms that allow sellers to make inventory available to us over the exchange that is more specific than what is available in the general exchange.

The most common of these is to use either a custom sub-domain or custom category available to target. The custom category relies upon the ad networks having the capacity to communicate additional values on top of a bid request. Currently we can only do this with AppNexus sellers. For example, Fairfax media have classified all of their inventory into custom categories and then packaged these up and made them available to us (as an AppNexus buyer). This allows us to include Fairfax categorized inventory into our ROC products.


Private Market Places (PMP)

The next step up from the inventory that is bought on open exchange, or through custom categories, is a private market place.

When a seller sets up a private market place for us, we know that we will get a look at buying inventory before it is made available to the open exchange.

Typically in a private market place the floor rates are set higher and we may be bidding against a number of other buyers who are also interested in the same inventory. The main advantage is that having a first look we are able to get larger volumes at a given rate, not experiencing oscillations in volume as demand changes over the month.


Private Deals

Private deals are additional level of programmatic buying in which the seller and buyer both agree to be part of a deal that is communicated using the RTB protocol.

This is typically not an auction, as it will have pre-defined buy prices (although to the technology stack it looks like a auction with one bidder).

Private deals allow the seller to package up inventory in more complicated and interesting ways, for example bundling it with cookie pools, or publisher specific targeting options not supported by the buyer's DSP. This is a great way to quickly gain access to inventory that depends on data that publishers might be otherwise concerned about sharing.



There is some ambiguity in the terminology used in the market with the distinction between private market places and private deals. The Deal Id Specification actually supports both of these models. So it is whenever talking with someone about a private deal it is worthwhile asking are the talking about the technical Deal Id solution, or about the commercial arrangement of a fixed price (non-auction) commercial model.