Programmatic vs Display Ads: What's the Difference?

Programmatic and graphic ads are two distinct facets of digital marketing.

Programmatic advertising

is a specific advertising strategy, while display ads focus on particular ad formats. Some programmatic ads may include display ads, while others may be programmatic. The Google Display Network (GDN) is similar to programmatic advertising in many ways.

Both systems are auction-based and use graphic advertising to reach a specific audience. You can use either system to reach mobile device users, and both platforms have basic segmentation options where you can specify demographics, interests, and behaviors. There are many other platforms within the field of programmatic advertising that reach their own unique subsets of the Internet, such as Google. Despite the cost and learning gap, programmatic advertising is always the best option if your budget allows it.

The GDN does not have access to many premium private market (PMP) offerings that programmatic ad-buying software companies make with certain sites. Programmatic uses multiple data sources, including detailed data from trusted external agents and data from its brand. Programmatic advertising is a platform that covers the inventory of several ad exchanges and supports a truly massive inventory that expands the potential reach of the advertiser, which means that ads can be seen by many more people than they would otherwise on a display network. The difference between programmatic ads and programmatic display ads is that the latter focus specifically on the format of the banner ad.

Google's ad platform, called Google Display Network (GDN), is one of the best known: according to Google, it has more than 2 million websites and reaches more than 90% of people on the Internet. Programmatic ad buying software cannot directly access this data and may require an additional CPM cost. You can use GDN for video, audio, or television ads exclusively on YouTube and its app, while programmatic ads allow for more creative formatting options. You'll also want to have a well-informed programmatic media purchaser who understands the DSP of your choice to execute your campaigns.

While these platforms are becoming more accessible and easier to learn with each passing year, there is a much larger learning gap when it comes to programmatic advertising compared to Google's user-friendly configuration. GDN is usually much more accessible than programmatic advertising and, in general, you can get much more out of your investment in terms of access to data. Advertisers can purchase ad space for their display ads on a wide variety of publishers' websites, blogs, and apps. The broader concept of programmatic advertising has a greater distribution and scale, reaching more than 20 ad bags.

As an expert in SEO, I understand how important it is for businesses to understand the differences between programmatic and display ads in order to maximize their digital marketing efforts. Programmatic advertising offers a greater reach than display ads alone, as it covers multiple ad exchanges with a massive inventory that expands the potential reach of advertisers. Additionally, programmatic ad buying software provides access to premium private market offerings that are not available through GDN. On the other hand, GDN is usually much easier to learn than programmatic advertising due to its user-friendly configuration.

It also offers access to data that cannot be accessed through programmatic ad buying software. Ultimately, businesses should consider both options when deciding which type of digital marketing strategy will best suit their needs.

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