Programmatic advertising for mobile - the perspective of a rookie

My expectation as I wrote this piece about programmatic advertising was that you would be at a loss or have close to no idea of what programmatic advertising is. If that's your position as you are reading this, then the way I felt several weeks ago is entirely justified and you should continue reading. So, enjoy!

What was programmatic advertising? I didn't have any clue when I took up the challenge and opportunity offered me by Jaduda GmbH to work there. Luckily for me, the CEO - Sven and the team members have been very helpful and always ready to answer my many questions and satisfy my curiosity. So today I thought, why not put some of what I have learnt out there and see if someone as ignorant as myself can get some insight into the field of programmatic advertising. Trust me; it is fun!

So let's begin! Now, do you use a smartphone and remember downloading some app for whatever purpose (especially those free apps)? Then you can quickly recall your experience while using that app and then some advertisement shows up (sometimes quite annoying that you have to search for the X button somewhere on the screen as fast as possible to take it away)? That is what a programmed advertisement is or let's say that's "basically" what programmatic advertisers do. (Note: there is also the programmatic advertisement for desktop devices, and don't forget I said "basically" - very important).

Honestly, the programmatic advertising industry is quite complex and involves several players performing several functions across the board. As I write about this, I still don't have a full grasp of the industry. Also, I must say that from this point, it gets a little bit technical, so I must be careful, that I don't lose you. So please try to stay with me till the end, I got this.

On one side of the spectrum, there are the guys known as the publishers, AKA app developers, app owners (whatever you prefer to call them), and then we also have the sales side platform (SSPs). An SSP or a supply-side platform is a piece of software used to sell advertising in an automated way. SSPs are most often used by "online publishers" to help them sell display, video and mobile ads.

On the other side of the spectrum we have the Advertisers (companies who want to advertise on apps or the advertising agencies representing the companies), and the demand side platform (DSPs). Like the SSPs, the DSPs help the advertisers or their agencies to buy ad impressions from the SSPs who are selling them. In a nutshell, DSPs are used to purchase ad impressions as cheaply, and as efficiently as possible, while SSPs are designed by publishers to do the opposite: to maximise the prices they sell at. That's it! 

No wait, that's not all, I missed something. There is the data management platform (DMPs). For lack of word, I would say they are used to manage customer data. With the help of DMPs, advertisers can store essential customer data, tap into new audience segments and extract knowledge to target prospective audiences, optimize media buying processes, to create ads that resonate with the public they want to focus on with the ad. See

I guess that might be a lot of technical information, so it will be absolutely necessary for me to try and give context to the broad picture. So let's work with a practical example. Say an advertiser like the fashion shop Primark wakes up tomorrow morning and say, "okay, we want to create an advertisement for our new skinny jeans offer for females in Berlin, New York and Lagos. We want the advert to target only women between the ages of 18 - 40 who use iPhones" (for whatever reason they might have for ladies with iPhones). Through a DSP like Splicky, owned and operated by Jaduda GmbH, they can be able to specifically target people within that demography. Unbelievable? Believe me; this is just the basics of what can be done by Brendon and the operations team at Splicky.

If you must know, after my first day of getting to see how a mobile programmatic campaign is created, monitored, optimized and report presented to the advertisers, I got home, and while browsing through an app on my phone, I saw one of those ads again. This time, I shook my head and smiled because I already knew who was responsible - it was Brendon and his operations team at Splicky.