5. What Is Premium Programmatic?

Advertisers, publishers, and marketers are increasingly turning to premium programmatic to better serve the consumer.

In its simplest definition, programmatic advertising is an automated method for buying and selling ads online, standing apart from transactional methods in which humans manage the process more or less directly in the roles of hands-on buyers and sellers.

However, programmatic based purely on scale — i.e., open exchanges — has a history of fraudulent and hard-to-verify outcomes. In some cases, as Digiday reports, up to 1-in-5 such ads have been shown to be invalid.

And so, advertisers, publishers, and marketers are increasingly turning to premium programmatic — which we will also refer to as programmatic direct — to better serve all participants in the advertising ecosystem.

Premium Programmatic Advantages

Taking a premium programmatic approach, marketers are able to buy guaranteed ad impressions in advance from publisher websites. The inventory is sold directly between one buyer, which is the advertiser, and one seller, the publisher.

Furthermore, engaging with programmatic direct, a publisher may give an advertiser a choice position on its website — in other words, a premium location that is brand-safe and offers more viewability at an agreed-upon price and number of impressions.

While effective premium-programmatic campaigns often require partnerships with trusted vendors who can deliver the appropriate data and performance indicators — the kind that translate into creative, targeted, and effective outcomes — that step often leads to the following advantages for all parties.

  • For advertisers, premium programmatic powerfully addresses issues of brand safety and inventory-placement assurance.
  • For publishers, a premium programmatic campaign is more streamlined, allowing teams to focus on developing customized ad solutions for their valuable brand partners.
  • Marketers benefit from premium programmatic advertising because it enables direct consumer targeting, keeping advertisers attuned to their individual customers’ shopping habits and interests. For instance, a customer who likes a particular type of car may receive a relevant ad in a prime spot on a publisher’s home page. These factors lead to better-performing campaigns.

Next Steps and Considerations


Although the above advantages — coupled with the benefits of increased transparency, relevance, and efficiency— are significant hallmarks of premium programmatic advertising, there are some collateral issues worth considering.

  • Since premium-programmatic deals are brokered in advance, impressions often cannot be purchased as quickly as those in an open marketplace.
  • In addition, not all publishers participate in premium-programmatic campaigns, and those that do sometimes charge higher prices for placements.
  • Advertisers must also consider the scale and scope of audience targeting. If a brand buys a certain number of impressions on a premium publisher’s home page, the ad is shown to all visitors of the home page, not only those visitors within the desired demographics.

In light of these factors, strong partnerships with programmatic vendors working at a premium level are especially desirable — in fact, they’re often necessary. It’s the strong partnership that fuels exactly the kind of relevant and highly contextual relationships between advertisers and consumers that premium programmatic helps create.

Direct interactions that maximize premium web inventory, boosting ad revenue — with the right team in place, advertisers, publishers, and marketers are cutting through the noise of fraud and poorly verified programmatic to realize a better future for the consumer experience and the campaign outcomes that follow. That is the primary and underlying value of programmatic direct.

Jeff Haber is Content Development Manager at Verve.

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