Programmatic Video #WotW: What Is Programmatic Direct?

Programmatic video is the fastest-growing category of programmatic buying, but a lot of marketers are still struggling to get to grips with the basics.

A recent study by the Association of National Advertisers and Forrester found that only 23% of marketers said they understood programmatic and were using it to execute their campaigns.

This is despite the fact that more than half of US publishers reported selling their premium video ad inventory programmatically in August 2014 (Adap.tv), while mega-brands like American Express and P&G vowed to shift the majority of their ad spend to programmatic by the end of 2014.

There’s clearly a knowledge gap between the programmatic front lines and everyday marketers, making 2015 a key year for programmatic education. As with any burgeoning new trend, one of the main causes of confusion is vocabulary.

Any discussion of the topic produces a web of jargon and acronyms that’s enough to send anyone running to Google. But fear not, this is easily solved.

Each week we’ll be serving up handy guides to the most important programmatic video terms, courtesy of Unruly co-founder and CTO, Matthew Cooke. Last week we looked at what Cookie-less Targeting is. This week, Matthew explains what Programmatic Direct means.

Stick around and see how quickly you can master the art of programmatic.

What is Programmatic Direct?

Programmatic Direct is the term used when a buyer negotiates media deals with sellers up-front, usually for a guaranteed price, but executes the deal using programmatic technology instead of a manual IO and fully managed service. The term is often used interchangeably with “Programmatic Guaranteed” or “Programmatic Premium” but there seems to have been some standardisation on the term “Programmatic Direct”.

In auction (RTB) environments there are usually no volume/price guarantees from individual publishers. This auction model doesn’t suit all buyers many of whom would like to be able to directly broker fixed volume deals with the same efficiency, control and targeting that is offered via RTB systems for auctioned inventory.

There are different schools of thought on the best technical ways to support direct sold guaranteed inventory programmatically, with some wanting to use existing RTB technologies and others wanting to create new API’s. The best known technical API proposed to support Programmatic Direct deals is IAB OpenDirect which is not based on Open-RTB.

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