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22 Best programmatic advertising platforms for 2023
Published on December 28, 2022
The ever-evolving ecosystem of online advertising motivated publishers and advertisers to ditch manually approaching one another to buy and sell ad inventory and switch to automation a long time ago. But recent times have seen a big rise in programmatic advertising platforms as the ultimate solution for trading digital ad space. What are these platforms, and who are the top players in the industry? Let’s find out!
What is a programmatic advertising platform
Programmatic advertising platforms facilitate buying and selling digital media or advertising space through real-time auctions. They automate and streamline the entire process from publishers requesting ads to the platform fetching them from advertisers and placing them in the ad space. This downright eliminates the need for human intervention to negotiate deals between publishers and advertisers.
Here’s a brief explanation of the steps involved in programmatic advertising:
Although an extensive process, a programmatic advertising platform makes it happen in a few milliseconds.
Types of programmatic advertising platforms
Many types of programmatic advertising platforms serve different stakeholders involved in an auction and perform different functions.
Demand-side platforms (DSP)
A DSP helps advertisers or marketers buy and manage ad inventory from publishers through automation. It aggregates multiple ad exchanges, allowing advertisers and ad networks to bid on different ad inventory types in real-time.
Supply-side platforms (SSP)
By using a supply-side platform, publishers can efficiently sell, monetize, and optimize their app and website inventories by connecting with ad networks, ad exchanges, demand-side platforms (DSP), and data management platforms.
An ad network is a mediator between publishers and advertisers. It aggregates several publishers and advertisers and matches their requirements, enabling them to sell and buy ad inventory in a programmatic setup.
An ad exchange is a programmatic advertising platform that aggregates ad networks, DSP, and SSP to aid in buying and selling ad space. It is a virtual marketplace where advertisers and publishers buy and sell ad inventory through real-time auctions.
Data management platforms collect, organize, analyze, and activate first, second, and third-party data so that it can be used to generate more targeted ads.
Different programmatic ad formats
Programmatic advertising platforms support multiple ad formats, as all publishers and advertisers have different ad preferences. The most popular ad formats in programmatic advertising are as follows.
Display ads are visual ads that are shown on a website’s header, footer, or sidebar. Publishers and advertisers sign up with a programmatic advertising platform to trade ad inventory. Publishers earn revenue for the clicks and impressions the ads generate.
There are three types of video ads.
In-stream video ads:
These ads play in-between video content. A predominant example of in-stream video ads is YouTube ads, which are further classified as follows.
- Pre-roll - Ads that play before the video.
- Mid-roll - Ads that play in the middle of the video.
- Post-roll - Ads that play at the end of the video.
Out-stream video ads:
These ads appear between online blog posts or articles. They are either placed between the content or appear in a pop-up window.
In-display video ads:
In-display video ads are shown in the search results or as recommendations. For example, if you search for a video on YouTube, you may see an ad as the top result.
These ads appear between audio podcasts and other audio content on streaming platforms like Spotify and YouTube Music. Some of the biggest players in programmatic audio advertising are Rubicon Project, Google, and Pandora.
Ads shown on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram are called social ads. These ads are shown using the data obtained from the platform users.
Unlike display ads that usually appear at the top and bottom of the pages, native ads can appear in other locations on an app or website. Native ads are designed to follow the look and feel of the platform they are shown on. Promoted posts on Instagram and sponsored content on news websites are good examples of native ads.
While the initial out-of-home ads followed the traditional way of manually negotiating for ad space, the modern-day DOOH ads use a programmatic advertising platform and programmatic processes such as RTB for media buying.
Benefits of using a programmatic platform
Benefits for publishers
Some aspects of programmatic advertising platforms make them essential, especially for publishers.
Automated inventory management: Publishers can easily segment their traffic on a programmatic advertising platform to show better-targeted ads. Besides, they can manage ad formats and placements by monitoring them in terms of engagement and other factors.
Detailed reporting: The reporting tools in programmatic advertising platforms offer publishers insights into how the ads on their apps and websites perform and which advertisers’ ads have the best outcomes. This information helps publishers make future decisions about ads and demand partners.
Ad fraud prevention: Programmatic advertising platforms are equipped with capabilities to detect ad fraud, such as click fraud, domain spoofing, etc. Ads.txt is an important measure to prevent ad fraud, and some programmatic platforms enforce this practice on all publishers to ensure that they do not become ad fraud victims.
Programmatic deals: While some platforms support one type of programmatic deal, most offer multiple options, allowing publishers the freedom to sell ad inventory in their preferred setup. The four types of programmatic deals are programmatic guaranteed, programmatic non-guaranteed, private marketplaces, and real-time bidding.
Benefits for advertisers
Increased transparency and control: One of the significant advantages of programmatic advertising platforms is that they offer transparency and better control. Using such a platform, advertisers can know where their ads are displayed, the users that are seeing the ads, and the real-time costs involved with them. This makes optimization easier for advertisers.
Real-time measurement: Programmatic advertising platforms allow advertisers to measure how effective a campaign is or how the overall targeting is performing as soon as the campaign is launched. This enables them to make adjustments and optimizations as required and, in turn, increases efficiency.
Better targeting capabilities: With programmatic advertising platforms’ increased flexibility, advertisers can directly reach their target consumers. According to studies, only two percent of consumers convert on the first visit. But with retargeting, advertisers can continue reaching out to the remaining 98 percent and work toward converting them.
Improved reach: On average, there are over 5 billion active users on the internet at any given time, which is the potential reach, depending on targeting parameters. Programmatic advertising platforms help advertisers expand their reach by running campaigns with little effort.
- Automation: One of the biggest advantages of using programmatic advertising is the automation of mostly all advertising tasks. The platform handles everything from placing bids to tracking results, saving you loads of time you could utilize elsewhere.
Top 22 programmatic platforms
GROW by GreedyGame
- It is a self-serve user acquisition platform for mobile apps.
- Provides access to premium ad inventory and has a network of over 5000 apps.
- Offers a real-time bidding (RTB) marketplace for CPA campaigns.
- Supports targeting based on country and device.
- Has a built-in tracking system and also supports third-party tracking.
- Offers a dashboard with detailed ad performance insights.
- Provides dedicated account managers for assistance.
Adobe Advertising Cloud
Kedet by War Room
- Supports display, search, video, native, and many other advertising.
- Offers access to a wide range of DSPs, ad networks, and suppliers, and over 90k premium ad networks.
- Known for its cross-channel attribution and hyper-targeting capabilities.
- Offers performance-based campaigns with high Return On Ad Spend (ROAS).
- Meant for both publishers and advertisers as an SSP and ad exchange.
- Supports private marketplaces programmatic deals.
- Offers a wide range of ad formats: Banners, in-app, interstitial, native, rewarded video, rich media, and video.
- Offers detailed real-time analytics.
- Has ad fraud protection capabilities.
- It positions itself as a website monetization platform.
- Supports header bidding.
- Has a network of more than 15 supply-side platforms, including Google.
- Offers a reporting tool with crucial metrics such as eCPM, ad revenue, and impressions.
- Provides dedicated account managers for assistance.
- It is a Google AdX partner.
- Provides access to Google demand and other premium advertisers.
- Offers policy compliance support.
- Has an analytics dashboard with comprehensive ad performance insights.
- Dedicated account managers for support with ad operations.
- Functions as a data management platform and an ad exchange.
- Works with lookalike modeling to expand the advertisers’ target audiences.
- Works as a data management platform and an ad exchange.
- Connects advertisers to web and mobile CTV publishers.
- Performs audience segmentation for publishers.
Data management platforms
Programmatic advertising platforms have become a pillar of the modern AdTech industry owing to their all-encompassing capabilities. Their level of automation has been equally benefiting publishers and advertisers both operationally and financially. It is highly recommended to major players in the AdTech ecosystem to future-proof their digital advertising efforts by using a programmatic platform.
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