Understanding Two Types of Digital Media Buying

March 8, 2016 | blog | By Mike Sullivan


Digital media is one of the most effective ways to reach your target audience while measuring real impact. A key strength of digital media lies in the advertiser’s ability to measure direct impact on sales. However, when you begin you begin exploring options for buying online advertising, it can be overwhelming.

In this blog post, I give you the scoop on some of the terms you’ll hear in digital advertising.

Publisher Direct
Pro: premium ad placement
Con: most expensive
When a media buyer calls up the Huffington Post or Buzzfeed to buy an ad, he’s buying directly from the content publisher. It’s a smart move it you want the top spot on a high-traffic site. Depending on your budget, you’ll be buying a given number of impressions based on CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions). To give you an idea, $3 per CPM is a common cost; the more prime the placement or the more targeted, the more the ad will cost. Costs can vary greatly.

So what’s a publisher to do with the rest of the ad inventory that hasn’t been sold? Enter Remnant ads.

Remnant (also known as Programmatic Display)
Pro: cost-effective
Con: ad placement is based on leftover inventory Publishers offer up unsold ads on the supply side platform (SSP). Think of the SSP like a virtual outlet mall for digital advertising, and the two shoppers at the SSP are ad networks and exchanges.

Ad networks bundle up impressions to make media buying fast and efficient. Some ad networks focus on the quantity of impressions; others emphasize quality and placement. Since the ads are packaged up as an aggregate from different publishers, there can be less transparency in exactly what you’re buying.

Ad exchanges are virtual marketplaces for remnant inventory, often in real-time auctions. This method cuts out the middleman (ad network) to make buying Remnant even more cost-effective.

LOOMIS Imagibrand Process

A data management platform (DMP) is deployed alongside ad networks and exchanges to ensure impressions purchased meet the buyer’s specifications. This includes de-identified consumer behavior, demographics, and more. The data helps buyers know they are buying impressions to reach their target.

From where I sit as the media buyer, I use a demand side platform (DSP), and program into the DSP the exact specifications of the target audience.

The DMP overlays consumer data with available ads for sale, and my DSP finds a match and places a bid.

This process works seamlessly to connect buyers and sellers and serves up relevant ads to consumers.

ad networksadvretisingdigital mediamedia buyingonline advertising

Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


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