The Programmatic Marketing Ecosystem: What You Need to Know

Programmatic Marketing, Marketing Ecosystem

The Programmatic Media Ecosystem

Programmatic is quickly becoming a centerpiece of successful campaigns. Most marketers and agencies, however, don’t fully understand the various layers of the programmatic marketing system. Yet, this ecosystem affects the elements that an agency or marketer needs to have in place in order to successfully execute programmatic buying. To help marketers and agencies understand the ecosystem, here is a breakdown of and what you need to know about each layer.

Ad Inventory

The programmatic marketing ecosystem is similar to the food pyramid. At the bottom of programmatic ecosystem is the ad inventory layer. Every marketer/agency has the ability to tap into any inventory channel. These channels include:

• Paid Search
• Banner
• Mobile
• Video
• Text
• Audio
• TV
• Retargeting


The next layer is the buying side, which involves DSPs. Most people currently only use a single DSP setup. To fully take advantage of programmatic, however, it is recommend that marketers/agencies have multi-DSP setup. This allows them to tap into all of their desired or needed inventory channels.
Why is this important? It allows marketers to tap into many ad exchanges. Oftentimes, ad exchanges have different rules and privileges, meaning that one DSP may have access to those ad exchanges while another does not. If someone is only relying on a single DSP, they may be missing out on important ad exchanges. To truly take advantage of the potential of programmatic, multi-DSP setups are required.

Targeting & Optimization

The targeting and optimization layer involves obtaining access to and aggregating large amounts of data. This data drives both the relevancy of campaign targeting and the intelligence. This layer also encompasses integration with security or control technologies/partners. It’s important to ensure that the security measures are in place here, especially in regards to who has access to and control over data.
At this stage, it’s also highly recommended that people think about creative technologies and how to integrate those. This includes thinking about A/B and multivariate testing down to ad creative and landing pages.
If someone wants to truly tap into the advantages of programmatic, a proprietary DMP is absolutely a required element. A proprietary DMP doesn’t have to mean that someone builds their own. They can license the product from a vendor, but they need to be able to customize it. This includes feeding in any types of data points, including data from licensing partnerships and unique third-party data relationships, and first-party data.

Analysis & Reporting

The final layer is analysis and reporting. Before setting up reporting, marketers should think about what they need from reports: What type of reporting is necessary for you and your organization? Who is your partner in regards to the reporting infrastructure? What types of reports do management and other executives need? Do you need more advanced reporting structures, i.e. attribution of multi-click analysis?
Within the analysis and reporting layer is trading intelligence – commonly known as trading desks throughout the industry. Trading intelligence involves triggering the analysis that is needed to gather quality insights for the marker or agency.
There’s no single algorithm that has proven to be the absolute best for doing this. There are many ways of gathering this intelligence. The best algorithm really depends on preferences, media buying characteristics and strategies. Marketers should establish a technology layer that allows them to have trading intelligence as well as identify all the different data signals in real time. This data can then be used to make buying decisions.

Extra Credit

To really become successful at programmatic, marketers should also have a sound pixel setup and strategy, and a tag manager strategy/technology. This allows them to properly place the tracking mechanics across their own or their client’s website. Overall, the goal is figure out and pursue both a comprehensive strategic and trading approach methodology, and then take advantage of their programmatic ecosystem. To fully be successful with programmatic, agencies and marketers must take advantage of each layer of the programmatic ecosystem. This all starts with understanding the requirements of each layer. Want to learn more? Download our Marketer’s Guide to Programmatic today.