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In 2017, programmatic digital display ad spending reached $32.56 billion and is projected to continue to grow rapidly throughout 2018, and hit $45 billion in spending by 2019 (Source: Digilant). Everyone’s talking about the rapid growth and success of programmatic buying that can be used to eliminate archaic buying processes.

So what is it? Programmatic buying refers to an automated way of transacting media using a platform in which buyers and sellers of advertising space can then bid for that space. The way marketers have learned to manage digital advertising campaigns can now be applied to television advertising.


Television remains the most dominant and effective medium for reaching the most U.S. households, but at a high cost. For example, the cost of a 30-second ad airing during the 2017 Super Bowl averaged $5 million! With programmatic buying, you can hyper-target precise audience profiles and locations, lowering costs significantly. If you wanted to do this, traditionally you would have to pick up the phone and call each market individually and settle on pricing. Programmatic TV platforms allow agencies to also save time bypassing sales reps and verbal negotiation. Advertisers can digitally create campaigns that get matched with appropriate time slots and stations, proving to be more efficient and effective.

There are many different platforms you can use to get started with programmatic. WideOrbit is one of these platforms media companies can use to engage in programmatic buying. WideOrbit’s Open Marketplace feature is based on an opportunistic pricing model that benefits both ad buyers and sellers. TV stations have space to offer and buyers have advertisements they want to place. The bidding system ensures all broadcast inventory space gets filled and the advertisements resonate with their audience. Buyers can secure ad space quickly and at a lower cost, creating a mutually beneficial buyer-seller transaction.

You can customize a campaign just as you would in Google Ads or Facebook Business Manager, set a budget, and bid on television stations and times. This system does the rest for you as well as providing, reporting, and reconciliation. In 2014, WideOrbit acquired Admeta to expand their digital offering with artificial intelligence-based learning, real-time optimization, data management, and an improved user experience. With heavy investment in their technology, WideOrbit has grown to become a leader in the premium broadcast advertising. There are also other platforms that utilize programmatic television buying including Digilant, Outbrain, and Centro.

The benefits of programmatic media buying can be summed up into four thoughts:

  1. Automating the process of media buying reduces intensive labor costs.
  2. By streamlining the process you reduce human error and increase efficiency.
  3. Programmatic allows for real-time optimizations of a campaign, mid-flight.
  4. Buyers can rely on strong targeting capabilities with trusted data from sources like Nielson.

Embrace the digital era and explore the benefits of utilizing programmatic buying as a part of your media strategy!