Programmatic Marketing: Beyond RTB is aimed at marketers, agencies, and publishers who want to understand the new programmatic landscape, and its applications beyond real-time bidding (RTB). Today, new technologies and approaches are connecting buyers and sellers, and eliminating many of the manual tasks associated with planning and buying digital media.

In this 52-page report, we explore the new programmatic direct landscape, the implications for demand- and supply-side players, and the barriers to successful adoption of programmatic approaches. The report includes insights from key executives in ad technology, agencies, and publishers as well as daily practitioners to see where programmatic automation stands today, and where it is going.

It’s hard to believe, but agencies and publishers are still closing digital media deals with fax machines. However, large-scale growth in web-based RTB platforms and increasing adoption from marketers is putting pressure on all sides to automate processes for buying and selling digital media. This report addresses the following key questions:

  • What is the difference between programmatic and automation?
  • What is needed to embrace a programmatic approach?
  • What are the benefits of a programmatic approach to transactional media?
  • How will my company’s organisational personnel needs change?
  • What are the barriers to successful programmatic strategy implementation?

Readers of this report should come away with a solid understanding of current programmatic direct approaches, available solutions in the space, and how they can structure their organisation to implement programmatic techniques.


This report aims to provide an unbiased, balanced look at the manual process automation in digital media, aided by leading practitioners in the space. The author surveyed over 19 senior-level digital media and ad technology executives who provided detailed, written responses to a wide range of questions.

In addition, the author conducted extensive phone interviews with programmatic thought leaders, and drew upon his own previously conducted research. The opinions in this report are the author’s own, and may not reflect the views of his employer or companies in which he holds equity.

About the author

Chris O’Hara is the CRO and co-founder of Bionic Advertising Systems, author of several Econsultancy reports (Best Practices in Digital Display Advertising and Best Practices in Data Management) and a researcher and contributor to Econsultancy’s recently published Data Management Platforms Buyer’s Guide.

A domain expert on advertising platform technology and programmatic media technology, Chris is a member of the IAB’s Programmatic Task Force, and a contributor to the recently published Winterberry Group/IAB whitepaper “Programmatic Everywhere: Data, Technology, and the Future of Audience Engagement”.

He also writes frequently in industry publications including AdExchanger and Econsultancy.

Contributors to the report

  • Andy Atherton, SVP, AppNexus
  • Doug Burke, General Manager and Chief Revenue Officer, FatTail
  • Robert Burkhart, Vice President, Digital Strategy, STRATA
  • Sean Cotton, Interactive Director, True Media
  • Jason Fairchild, Chief Revenue Officer, OpenX
  • Matt Gay, SVP of Customers and Partners, Operative
  • Anthony Katsur, ad tech veteran and former CEO of Maxifier
  • Ian Lowe, CEO, Adslot
  • Raju Malhotra, SVP, Products, Centro
  • Ana Milicevic, Lead Industry Consultant – Digital Media and Advertising Technology, SAS
  • Ben Pashman, SVP of Business Development, Centro
  • Eric Picard, CEO, Rare Crowds
  • Roy Pereira, Founder and CEO, Shiny Ads
  • Joe Pych, CEO and Co-founder, Bionic Advertising Systems
  • Jay Sears, SVP Marketplace Development, Rubicon Project
  • Tom Shields, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Yieldex
  • Christopher Skinner, Managing Partner, MakeBuzz
  • Ben Trenda, CRO, isocket
  • Bill Wise, CEO, Mediaocean

Table of contents

  1. Overview
    1. Methodology
    2. About the author
    3. About Econsultancy
  2. Introduction: Pivoting to Programmatic Direct
  3. Programmatic Definitions
    1. Defining programmatic direct
    2. Defining programmatic RTB
    3. Refining and defining by programmatic approaches
    4. Chapter summary: programmatic definitions
  4. The Demand Side
    1. Agency trading desks
    2. Agency culture and personnel
    3. Agency pricing models and programmatic
    4. Fraud: the elephant in the programmatic room
    5. Standards
    6. Chapter summary: programmatic direct and the demand side
  5. The Supply Side
    1. New monetisation options: programmatic direct, native, etc.
    2. Programmatic direct: a sales channel or real trend?
    3. Programmatic direct and organisational change
    4. Chapter summary: the supply side
  6. Transactional RFP Workflow
    1. Research
    2. Media planning
    3. Demand-side order management
    4. Demand-side ad serving
    5. Supply-side order management
    6. Supply-side ad serving
    7. Billing and reconciliation
  7. Where Are We Now?
  8. Contributors