07 Media Buying

Programmatic Media Buying: Digital and Social Display

“Truth is found in simplicity. Not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” Isaac Newton

The more the merrier?

Programmatic media buying: it’s everywhere, and everyone is doing it. Your spotify playlists are programmatic. Facebook and Google are programmatic. Consulting firms that analyze the profitability of perishable produce logistics are doing programmatic. But what exactly is programmatic?”

We define programmatic media buying as demand-side media buying which uses automated algorithms to aggregate media (whether digital, addressable TV, audio or other), filter by datasets (1P, 3P, etc.), bid, purchase, analyze and optimize digital media buying, whether in real-time (as in RTB), or near-real time.

This page provides a 3-part framework for understanding programmatic, and how our management as an independent media buying agency is unique from other players.

1. Reach at Scale

Programmatic’s magic lies in its automated, market-based ability to buy media from innumerable sources via a centralized platform. For brand and direct-response marketers, programmatic media buying opens up a world of possibilities for video, digital display, programmatic audio ads, and even certain search integrations. Our work in programmatic media buying helps global brands buy higher quality media, not simply greater volume.

That’s because, for all the promises of reach and responsiveness programmatic DSPs provide, programmatic pitfalls abound. To counteract the commodification of advertising inventory, publisher-side inventory controls work hard to drive costs up. Through real-time inventory analysis, we use acquisition strategies such as header bidding and primacy/recency prioritization to offset these effects.

2. Goal-focused, Technology Agnostic

Marketers should question anything that purports the superiority of a single platform or algorithm or dataset. No one – not even Facebook and Google – owns the entire ecosystem, so be wary of single-player buys. In all likelihood, hidden fees and markup are sneaking into platform costs through consolidated platforms.

Actionable data affords organizations the ability to nimbly pivot to improve marketing outcomes. Criterion Global begins in the area of marketing and customer acquisition, and merges data with internal insights on sales volume, profitability, funnel math, and cost-of-goods considerations so that our clients can easily plot projections and make the decisions needed to grow.

Even to integrate learnings from “walled garden” platforms, such as Facebook or Amazon, and for advertisers with unique challenges. Our expertise in media buying across industries is wide. We deliver results for consumer-facing brands in Fast Fashion – where trends change instantly and production must scale to meet demand, and Global Hospitality– where pricing must adjust competitively and dynamically on a day-to-day basis.

3. Programmatic, not Automatic

Building relationships will never be automated effort; data makes our work in marketing more efficient, accountable, and effective by revealing actionable data and insights.

Whilst programmatic media buying uses automated algorithms to aggregate, target, bid/purchase, and analyze/optimize digital media buying, algorithms are nothing but problem-solving operations, or rules. Without experienced media planning to establish rules and strategy, programmatic media buying simply accelerates the rate of wasteful spending. In media and in life, failing to plan is planning to fail.

As an independent media buying agency, we work across a wide range of accounts, many in regulated industries, where transparency in our practices are paramount, and confidentiality is essential. We take extreme measures concerning client privacy so that our clients can take advantage of opportunities in data targeting and programmatic media buying without exposing their own proprietary data in a competitive marketplace. Ask us about programmatic best practices for your brand.

Programmatic Framework

  • Platform and Market Analyses
  • Ad Tech Selection Consulting
  • A La Carte Strategy, and/or
  • A La Carte Implementation

Data Strategy, Benefits

  • Data Onboarding Management
  • GDPR-Compliant Workflows
  • Conquesting Strategies
  • Location + Population Modeling


  • Private Marketplace Deals
  • Brand Safety Best Practices
  • API-based Log File Access
  • Clear Management Model

Management + Optimization Benefits

  • Programmatic Expertise
  • Cost, Workflow Transparency
  • Ad Tech, Visualization Integrations
  • Standardized KPI Reporting

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