The ABCs of Programmatic (Literally)


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The digital advertising industry is known for its plethora of buzzwords and acronyms. “Programmatic,” “RTB,” “PMP,” “DSP”… These terms are frequently tossed around in meetings and at industry events with increasing frequency. Here at PubMatic, we recognize that understanding these terms can mean the difference between completely grasping a rather straightforward concept or getting lost in haze of jargon.

To that end, we identified several dozen terms that we think are most important for digital media and advertising executives to know and understand. In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting a selection of these definitions for you to peruse at your leisure.

This week, we’re looking at everything from “ad networks” to “cross-device tracking.” Be sure to keep checking back for more useful definitions, as we continue our “ABCs of Programmatic” series.

  • Agency Trading Desk (ATD): A centralized, service-based organization that serves as a managed service layer, typically between a demand-side platform (DSP) or other audience buying technologies, and an agency. ATDs use data to help advertisers effectively purchase audience-based advertising at scale across digital media. Source: AdExchanger, PubMatic
  • Audience: In the context of programmatic advertising — For Publishers: This describes the characteristics of consumers of the content or service that is being provided. For Advertisers: This describes the target of an advertising campaign or a marketing effort.
  • Automated Guaranteed (AG): The automation of traditional digital direct sales, often of publishers’ reserved inventory. In Automated Guaranteed deals, the RFP and campaign trafficking processes are automated, inventory and pricing are guaranteed, deals are negotiated directly between sellers and buyers and facilitated by a technology platform. Direct integration with publishers’ ad servers allow for real-time availability of impressions and direct line item insertion for trafficking.
  • Automated Performance (AP): This is workflow automation, similar to Automated Guaranteed, but for these deals campaign performance is guaranteed, rather than impressions. The two main performance metrics for these deals are cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-install (CPI).
  • Branded Marketplace: A marketplace between buyers and sellers of media assets that leverages the knowledge from buying and selling dynamics in order to arbitrage and accelerate the liquidity of the market; also known as “exchanges” or “ad exchanges”.
  • Brand Control: The goal of publishers and advertisers that want to make sure their brands maintain their integrity. Brand protection tools automate the process of preventing objectionable content from appearing on publishers’ sites and ensure that branded advertisements don’t appear alongside objectionable content.
  • Cookie: A small piece of data, or identifier, attached to a person’s Internet browser to track online behavior and sites visited. Source: AdAge, PubMatic
  • Cookie-Sync: The mechanism by which a SSP cookie ID can be matched to a DSP cookie ID. The purpose is usually intended to improve the audience match rate between buyers and sellers and improve the measurement of campaign effectiveness.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): A variation of the CPM pricing methodology where the cost incurred by advertisers is tied to an action, or for every ‘click’ placed on an ad that redirects the user to a given website or customized landing page. Source: IAB, PubMatic
  • Cost Per Install (CPI): A popular mobile advertising pricing model used by app developers that requires developers to pay only when a user downloads their advertised app; also known as cost-per-acquisition. Source: AppFlood, PubMatic
  • Cross-Device Tracking: Describes the many ways platforms and publishers try to identify consumers across smartphones, tablets, desktop computers and other connected devices.

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