How Transparency Reduces Programmatic Costs

How Transparency Reduces Programmatic Costs

Transparency that comes via in-housing programmatic media buys plays a pivotal role in reducing costs and increasing the efficiency of digital advertising campaigns. This transparency pertains to the visibility into the entire process of buying and selling media, including fees, the performance of ad placements, and the authenticity of traffic. Here’s how increased transparency can lead to cost reductions:


Elimination of Hidden Fees


One of the most immediate ways transparency reduces costs is by revealing all fees associated with programmatic buying. With so many moving pieces in programmatic media buys, the amount of unnecessary fees/markups that advertisers don’t even know about is pretty immense. These can include technology fees, agency fees, 3rd party service fees/markups, and additional charges that might not be evident without a clear view of the transaction process. When advertisers have a detailed understanding of where their budget is going, they can identify and eliminate unnecessary expenses, negotiate better terms, and allocate more of their budget to actual media buying rather than to intermediary services.


Improved Inventory Quality


Transparency allows advertisers to see exactly where their ads are being placed and the quality of the inventory they are purchasing. This visibility helps advertisers avoid spending on low-quality sites that do not contribute to their campaign objectives or, worse, on fraudulent traffic. By directing their spend toward high-quality, relevant inventory, advertisers can improve the effectiveness of their campaigns and achieve better ROI, thus reducing wasted spend. It is a common practice for outsourced programmatic media buys via agencies or DSP managed services to only show you the best performing media while omitting the long-tail media that is largely low quality, unattributed media, or potentially outright fraud. 


Optimized Supply Path


Supply path optimization (SPO) is the process of analyzing and choosing the most efficient and cost-effective way to purchase media. Transparency in the programmatic supply chain reveals the path an ad buy takes from the advertiser to the publisher. With this information, advertisers can identify and eliminate redundant or non-value-adding intermediaries, reducing the overall cost of the buy. This direct path ensures that a larger portion of the advertising budget is spent on actual media rather than on middlemen.


Data-Driven Decisions


Transparency provides advertisers with detailed data on campaign performance, including metrics such as viewability, engagement, and conversion rates. Armed with this information, advertisers can make informed decisions about where to allocate their budgets, focusing on strategies and channels that offer the best return. This data-driven approach to campaign management allows for the continuous optimization of campaigns, ensuring that budgets are not wasted on underperforming ads or strategies.


Enhanced Negotiation Leverage


Having a transparent view of the programmatic ecosystem gives advertisers leverage in negotiations with suppliers, including publishers, platforms, and technology providers. With detailed insights into costs, performance, and the supply chain, advertisers can push for better rates, more favorable terms, and higher-quality inventory, further reducing their costs.


Trust and Long-Term Relationships


Transparency fosters trust between advertisers and their partners, including agencies, platforms, and publishers. When all parties have visibility into the process and outcomes, it builds confidence and facilitates the development of long-term relationships. These relationships can lead to more favorable terms over time, including volume discounts and access to premium inventory at competitive prices.



In summary, more transparency in programmatic media buys can significantly reduce costs by eliminating hidden fees, improving inventory quality, optimizing the supply path, enabling data-driven decisions, providing negotiation leverage, and building trust. As the digital advertising landscape continues to evolve, the demand for transparency will likely increase, driven by advertisers’ desire to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their digital ad spend.

The Strategic Advantages of In-Housing Programmatic Media Buying

The Strategic Advantages of In-Housing Programmatic Media Buying

In the ever-evolving digital advertising landscape, the shift towards in-housing programmatic media buying is becoming increasingly popular among brands seeking greater control, transparency, and efficiency in their advertising efforts. This move not only signifies a shift in operational strategy but also underscores a deeper understanding of the benefits that come with direct management of programmatic buying. Here, we explore the myriad advantages that businesses stand to gain by bringing programmatic media buying in-house.


Enhanced Control and Transparency


One of the primary benefits of in-housing programmatic media buying is the increased control and transparency it offers brands over their advertising operations. By managing programmatic buying internally, companies can directly oversee their ad spend, campaign targeting, and optimization strategies without relying on third-party agencies. This direct oversight allows for real-time adjustments, ensuring that campaigns are aligned with the brand’s goals and market dynamics. Furthermore, in-housing reduces the layers between advertisers and their data, providing clearer insights into spending efficiencies and campaign performance.


Cost Efficiency


In-housing programmatic media buying can lead to significant cost savings. By eliminating the middlemen – typically agencies or managed service providers – brands can reduce the fees that were previously paid for campaign management and strategy. Additionally, with direct access to ad exchanges and supply-side platforms, companies can negotiate better rates and enjoy the cost efficiencies of buying media at market price without added agency markups.


Data Ownership and Privacy


With data privacy becoming a paramount concern for consumers and regulators alike, having direct control over data is critical. In-housing programmatic buying allows brands to maintain strict oversight of their data usage and storage, ensuring compliance with data protection regulations. Moreover, owning the data generated from programmatic campaigns enables brands to build and refine their customer insights, leading to more personalized and effective advertising strategies.


Agility and Speed to Market


The digital market is characterized by its fast pace and constant evolution. Brands that manage programmatic buying in-house benefit from increased agility and speed to market, enabling them to launch campaigns quickly in response to emerging trends or competitive pressures. This responsiveness is a significant competitive advantage, allowing brands to capitalize on opportunities as they arise and adjust strategies swiftly to optimize campaign performance.


Tailored Strategies and Creative Control


In-housing programmatic media buying empowers brands to develop and implement advertising strategies that are precisely tailored to their business objectives and target audiences. With direct control over the creative aspects of campaigns, companies can ensure that their messaging is consistent, on-brand, and adapted to the specificities of each channel and audience segment. This customization extends to the optimization of creative assets, where in-house teams can test, learn, and iterate in real time to improve engagement and conversion rates.


Building In-House Expertise


Finally, in-housing programmatic media buying cultivates a deep reservoir of digital advertising expertise within the organization. As in-house teams grow more proficient in managing programmatic campaigns, they develop a nuanced understanding of the digital advertising ecosystem, enabling more strategic decision-making and innovation. This expertise becomes a valuable asset, informing not just advertising strategy but broader marketing and business strategies as well.




In-housing programmatic media buying offers a range of strategic benefits that can significantly enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of digital advertising efforts. From increased control and transparency to cost savings, data privacy, agility, tailored strategies, and the development of in-house expertise, the advantages are compelling. As more brands recognize these benefits, the shift towards in-housing programmatic media buying is likely to accelerate, reshaping the digital advertising landscape in the process.


Running In Multiple Demand Side Platforms

Running In Multiple Demand Side Platforms

Running ads efficiently on more than one Demand Side Platform (DSP) requires a strategic approach that optimizes time, resources, and budget while maximizing reach and performance. Here are several best practices to consider when running in multiple demand side platforms:


Use a Data Management Platform (DMP)

Integrating a DMP can help you centralize and manage your data across different DSPs. This allows for consistent audience segmentation and targeting, and helps in making data-driven decisions across platforms.


Establish Clear Objectives and KPIs

Define what you’re trying to achieve with your campaigns and the metrics you’ll use to measure success. Why are you using multiple DSPs to achieve your goals? It’s likely you are cherry picking best of breed in channel partnerships or you need access to owned and operated (O&O) inventory available on only one platform. For example, an ecommerce brand may need Amazon DSP to access premium data and inventory within the Amazon ecosystem, but also needs a best of breed solution to reach their target audience across a variety of top connected TV apps outside of the Amazon ecosystem. Consistent KPIs across DSPs will help you compare performance effectively. For more information on implementing a DSP, check out this article:


Standardize Creative Assets

Prepare a set of creative assets that can be used across all platforms. This includes ad copy, images, videos, and interactive elements that are in line with the specifications of each DSP. If you deviate too far from the standard it can be difficult to understand if the DSP or the creative that is used is the issue if you experience poor performance. 


Automate Where Possible

Use automation tools within the DSPs for bidding, optimization, and reporting. Many DSPs offer automated rules and machine learning algorithms to adjust campaigns in real-time based on performance.


Central Reporting Dashboard

Consider using or building a central reporting dashboard that can pull in data from all the DSPs you are using. This allows for an aggregated view of performance and simplifies the analysis process. 


Balance Overlapping and Unique Targeting

Be mindful of audience overlap across DSPs to avoid bidding against yourself. However, leverage the unique data or inventory sources of each DSP to reach different segments of your audience. If you have established clear objectives for why you are using multiple DSPs you should be able to avoid overlap in bidding on inventory. 


Optimize Based on Performance

Regularly review campaign performance across all DSPs and shift budgets to the platforms and campaigns that are performing the best.


Work with a Media Aggregator

For smaller businesses or those without the capacity to manage multiple DSPs, consider working with a media aggregator or an agency that can manage this for you. They have the expertise and technology to run campaigns across multiple platforms efficiently.


Leverage Cross-DSP Strategies

Some strategies may be more effective on certain DSPs due to their specific strengths or inventory. Tailor your approach to each platform while maintaining a cohesive overall strategy.


By carefully planning and continuously optimizing, you can efficiently run ads across multiple DSPs and achieve better results from your advertising spend.

How Does a DSP Determine What to Bid for Each Ad?

How Does a DSP Determine What to Bid for Each Ad?

A Demand Side Platform (DSP) determines what to bid for each ad impression using a complex process that takes into account several factors. Here’s a simplified breakdown of how this works:


Advertiser Input

– Campaign Objectives: The DSP considers the goals of the campaign, whether it’s brand awareness, lead generation, conversions, etc.

– Budget: The advertiser sets the campaign budget and bid limits.

– Bid: The advertiser sets the maximum CPM or CPC they are willing to pay. 

– Targeting Criteria: The advertiser defines the audience segments, geolocations, devices, and other targeting parameters.

– KPIs: Key performance indicators are set, which can include click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, cost per acquisition (CPA), etc.

If you’re looking to learn more on how to implement a DSP, check out this article here:


Data Analysis

– Audience Data: The DSP uses first-party data (from the advertiser), third-party data (from external providers), and its own data to identify the value of a potential impression.

– Historical Performance: Past performance data of similar ads and targeting criteria are used to predict future performance.

– Contextual Data: Information about the content surrounding the ad placement is considered to ensure relevance and brand safety.


Real-Time Bidding (RTB) Auction Mechanics

– Auction Type: The DSP evaluates whether the auction is a first-price (pay the price you bid) or second-price auction (pay one penny over the second place bidder), which impacts how much should be bid.

– Supply and Demand: The DSP assesses the supply of available impressions and the demand from other advertisers, which influences the market price.

– Bidstream Data: Each bid request contains data such as user demographics, behaviors, the site/app they’re on, and other key data points which the DSP uses to calculate the value of the impression and whether or not it meets your inputs. For more information about the bidstream click here (link to our other blog)


Machine Learning and Algorithms

– Predictive Modeling: DSPs employ machine learning algorithms to predict the likelihood of a user taking the desired action after seeing an ad.

– Bid Optimization Algorithms: These algorithms determine the optimal bid amount based on the likelihood of meeting the campaign’s objectives at the lowest possible cost. Note, some DSPs allow you to customize your own bidding algorithm. 


Budget Optimization

– Pacing: The DSP ensures the budget is spent evenly over the campaign duration or adjusts spending based on performance peaks and lulls.

– ROI Considerations: The DSP will bid higher for impressions that are more likely to lead to a conversion or achieve the desired outcome, ensuring a better return on investment.


Real-Time Decisioning

– Latency Constraints: DSPs have milliseconds to make a bid decision once they receive a bid request.

– Dynamic Bidding: The actual bid is dynamically calculated in real-time for each impression, based on all the above factors.


Feedback Loop

– Performance Feedback: After the ad is served, the DSP collects performance data which is fed back into the system to refine future bidding strategies.



The DSP’s bidding process is a sophisticated, real-time system that combines advertiser-defined parameters with advanced data analytics and machine learning to calculate the most appropriate bid for each ad impression. It’s designed to maximize the chances of achieving the advertiser’s goals while optimizing the use of the campaign budget. The process is highly automated and occurs in the time it takes for a webpage or app to load.

What Are All Of The Functions Of A Demand Side Platform (DSP)

What Are All Of The Functions Of A Demand Side Platform (DSP)

A Demand Side Platform (DSP) is a sophisticated piece of advertising technology that automates the purchase and management of digital ad campaigns across multiple sources of inventory. DSPs are designed to streamline the digital advertising process for advertisers, agencies, and media buyers. Here are the core functions of a demand side platform:


Centralized Ad Buying

DSPs connect to various ad exchanges, networks, and supply-side platforms (SSPs), allowing buyers to purchase from a large pool of inventory through a single interface.


Real-Time Bidding (RTB)

DSPs facilitate RTB, which allows advertisers to bid on ad inventory in real-time, often within milliseconds, as a webpage or app is loading.



– Audience Targeting: Advertisers can target specific audience segments based on demographics, interests, behaviors, geolocation, device type, and more.

– Contextual Targeting: Allows targeting based on the content of the website or app where the ad will be displayed.

– Retargeting: Enables advertisers to target users who have previously interacted with their brand but did not convert.


Data Integration

– First-Party Data: DSPs can integrate with an advertiser’s first-party data for more personalized targeting.

– Third-Party Data: They often provide access to third-party data providers for additional targeting capabilities (be sure to vet these 3rd parties before use). 


Campaign Management

– Ad Scheduling: Advertisers can schedule when ads will appear (dayparting).

– Frequency Capping: Limits how often a specific user sees an ad over a set period.

– Budget Management: Control over campaign budgets and the ability to set bid prices.


Creative Management

– Ad Creative Upload: Upload and manage different ad creatives directly within the platform.

– Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO): Customizes creative elements in real-time based on the viewer’s profile.


Optimization and Automation

– Performance Optimization: Algorithms optimize bidding and placement for the best possible outcomes based on the campaign’s objectives.

– Machine Learning: Many DSPs use machine learning to improve campaign performance over time.


Analytics and Reporting

– Performance Tracking: DSPs provide detailed analytics on various aspects of campaign performance, such as impressions, clicks, conversions, and more.

– Custom Reporting: Advertisers can create customized reports to track specific KPIs.


Inventory and Pricing Transparency

– Clear Inventory Sources: Visibility into where ads could potentially run.

– Pricing Visibility: Understanding the cost associated with each impression or click.


Brand Safety and Fraud Prevention

– Brand Safety Tools: Options to prevent ads from appearing on inappropriate or low-quality sites.

– Fraud Detection: Measures to detect and prevent fraudulent impressions and clicks.


Integration with Other Platforms

– Cross-Platform Buying: Ability to buy ads across different types of digital media, including mobile, video, social media, and connected TV (CTV).

– APIs: Integration with external systems and third-party services via APIs.


Compliance and Privacy

– Regulatory Compliance: Features to ensure compliance with privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA.

– Consent Management: Tools to manage user consent for data usage and cookies.


Customer Support and Education

– Support Services: Assistance with campaign setup, optimization, and troubleshooting.

– Educational Resources: Training materials and best practices for using the platform effectively.


While most DSPs offer these functions, the depth and sophistication of these features can vary widely from platform to platform. It’s essential for advertisers to evaluate DSPs based on how well they meet their specific needs, budget, and technical capacity. If you want to read more about DSPs and Supply Side Platforms or SSPs, check out this article:

Demand Side Platform for Small Businesses

Demand Side Platform for Small Businesses

For small businesses looking to leverage a Demand Side Platform (DSP), the focus is typically on finding a solution that is cost-effective, user-friendly, and suitable for the scale of their operations. Here are some key factors that small businesses should consider when choosing a DSP:


Minimum Spend Requirements

Some DSPs have high minimum ad spend requirements, which can be a barrier for small businesses. Look for platforms with low or no minimum spends. If you are set on using a DSP with high miniums you might want to consider an agency that has a seat at the DSP of your choice. They will generally be more flexible on minimum spend requirements, but they will take an additional margin. 


Managed Service vs. Self-Service

Most DSPs will provide a managed service for clients that do not have the internal resources or expertise to manage the operations of a DSP. This comes with an additional fee and varies by platform. Managed service is a good way to start out any programmatic journey, but if you’re willing to dive in and manage the DSP yourself (self-service) make sure the platform has a robust and easy to access help section. 


Customer Support

Good customer service is crucial, as small businesses might not have dedicated ad operations teams. The DSP should offer strong support and educational resources. Be up front about your budget for a DSP and realistic about your ability to scale spend. If you plan to spend small, you want to make sure the DSP you choose is okay with that. Many DSPs provide relatively poor service to small spenders. 


Targeting Capabilities

While advanced targeting features are beneficial, small businesses should ensure that the DSP offers the basic targeting options they need, such as geographic, audience, demographic, contextual, and interest-based targeting. For small local businesses geo-fencing is likely to be a critical feature you will need to ensure media is only spent on potential customers in your area. 



As the business grows, the DSP should be able to scale up with the business’s needs without requiring a platform switch.


It’s important for small business owners to diligently research and potentially test different DSPs to see which platform aligns best with their advertising goals and budget constraints. Many DSPs offer demo accounts or trial periods, which can be an excellent opportunity for businesses to experiment and learn without committing significant resources.


While these are issues that are specific to small businesses there are many more factors that can come into play when selecting the right DSP. For more on selecting the right DSP for your business check out our other resources on the topic: