There are several different ways of offering and acquiring inventory in the programmatic ecosystem. The four main ways are: open auctions, private exchanges, preferred deals, and programmatic guaranteed deals.
Each of these programmatic deals offer their own unique benefits. This guide will explain the differences among each type and help you choose the best option for your programmatic advertising strategy or monetization plan.
Also Known As: Open Exchange, Real-Time Bidding (RTB), Open Marketplace, Smaato Exchange
As the name suggests, open auctions are open to all. All marketers on the exchange/SSP/ad network have an opportunity to bid on all available publisher inventory. This is the most traditional form of programmatic auctions.
With real-time bidding, publishers can set the floor price for an ad, but the marketer demand still determines the final price, and the highest bid wins. Inventory is not guaranteed.
Historically, Open Auctions came with some risks. Publishers wouldn’t always know who was purchasing the inventory, which could hurt their brand image. Meanwhile, inventory isn’t necessarily disclosed, so marketers didn’t always know what they’d be getting. At Smaato, we share IDs with our partners to help improve transparency in the RTB process.
Also Known As: Private Marketplace (PMP), PMP Programmatic, Private Auction, Invitation-Only Auction
A private exchange is another form of real-time bidding, but instead of being open to all marketers and all publishers, a single publisher invites a mere handful of marketers to participate.
Private exchanges are quickly becoming industry standard. In 2020, US ad spend in private exchanges outpaced open auctions for the first time.1
To access the auction, these hand-selected marketers will need a time-sensitive deal ID. Publishers set a floor price, and the bidding starts there. As in the open auction, the highest bid wins. Inventory is not guaranteed.
Also Known As: Unreserved Fixed Rate, Programmatic Non-Guaranteed
A Preferred Deal is a private, 1:1 relationship between a publisher and a marketer. In a Preferred Deal, publishers offer premium inventory to the marketer at a pre-negotiated fixed eCPM price.
While eCPMs are a bit higher, marketers are paying to get what’s essentially “first dibs” on premium ad space. When an ad request comes through, a marketer with a preferred deal has an opportunity to bid at the pre-negotiated fixed eCPM price in real time, before the inventory heads to open auction. Inventory is not guaranteed.
Also Known As: Guaranteed Buy, Programmatic Direct, Automated Guaranteed
With a guaranteed buy, a publisher offers specific, reserved inventory to a marketer at a fixed price.
Publishers and marketers negotiate a price for a guaranteed volume of impressions, or flight date. This is similar to a direct sale/buy, but programmatic automation replaces the manual IO process, improving efficiency and reducing error.
And How to Pick the Right One for You
Best for: Offering cost-efficient placements and ensuring high fill rates.
Best for: Gaining predictability and opportunities for brand alignment, without the obligation to buy or sell.
Best for: Delivering a positive UX by offering premium, brand-aligned inventory to hyper-relevant marketers.
Best for: Replacing manual IOs with the convenience of a programmatic buy.