Media buying

Direct aka Programmatic Media Buying – Let us correct the definition

While most of us are busy understanding the Web 3.0 world, trading those AI-generated jpegs in a bear market, ragging. Only a few are taking advantage of building and learning. Now, we all understand it is very simple to trade NFTs same as buying/selling traffic. Just a few years back It was hard to explain certain things, now it has become a very one-sentence explanation.

Let me tell you, I have been very surprised to read many articles about direct media buying, some say it’s like stitching clothes with a needle, we live in the 21st century, its manual optimisation, hectic paperwork, discrepancy issues, time-consuming, human error are all but far from reality.

What is direct Media buying?

It is bridging the gap between direct Advertisers and Publishers. Negotiating price, placement, time duration, signing a contract, and most importantly maintaining a strong bond with direct inventory holders. Bring them under the Ad: tech roof at once.

Is it like stitching clothes with a needle?

No, it is like buying clothes from Gucci or H&M. None stitches a cloth with a needle but one is mass-producing its design with low quality and another is high quality 1:1. Which one gives you more satisfaction in the short and long term? Who says direct media buy doesn’t involve business intelligence and tailor-made solutions?

Expensive and Time-consuming?

It depends on how we see it, my personal preference is I take time while going shopping. I also don’t shop often or wear H&M clothes. I don’t believe in sales or discounts but from time to time negotiate a better price. As a media buyer if you are buying inventory you must know the placement or how your ads are being displayed to the user, it will take time and could be costly but results will be even sweeter.

Is it Manual optimisation? Hectic paperwork? Discrepancy issue? Human error?

These are all but an illusion, for example, CNN quotes:

“Using business intelligence, we deliver tailor-made solutions for brands and publishers around the world”

Some direct Publishers outsource it, some use WordPress, and others don’t know, if they don’t know as a Media buyer you must know there are plenty of white-label services out there. With just a few clicks you can make anything and everything programmatic.

Few questions arise, how do you manage direct media buying if you have single vs multiple brands to promote?

Promoting a Single brand for any media buyer is a very challenging part unless you have strong connections and know-how Advertising Networks on-board their publishers/Inventory. For example, I strongly recommend working with only Networks in direct relationships with their Publishers. Do not spend your time and budget chasing a single Publisher yourself, find an Advertising network with direct relationships, it’s a no-brainer to say that Advertising Network already has plenty more direct inventory to offer and they sell you programmatic too.

Multiple brand promotion is a building block. Here I would prefer to create a network pool of direct Publishers, onboard AdNetwork with a direct connection with Publishers, and hunt Publishers yourself and bring them on board. It is like creating an entire ecosystem from the ground up, you may want to have extra helping hands. Use universal white-label tech, i.e. Adkernel or create in-house and let the bidding war begin. Now you just ended up creating your own Ad Network, name it Programmatic or Media buying agency.

Wait a minute, what just happened?

Suddenly, there is no difference between direct media buying and programmatic. But why do we have thousands of articles written differentiating it? Indeed back in 2015, all this programmatic hype came, I was confused as well. Since they don’t want you to know! But if Media buyers did proper research, we could have saved billions of dollars. We still have an unstoppable increase in “Ad Fraud” every year. Direct media is converted into the creation of any programmatic network in terms of easy trade, in short, they rely on each other. Any use of Ad: tech without the purpose of owning/buying direct inventory is nothing but purposefully creating a scam.

Back to my love for Web 3.0

I already see it’s happening all over again. It’s like living in simultaneous universes, lacking professionalism all over the space. Everyone is trying to sell you a difference that doesn’t exist. Same as “Metaverse”, differentiating Direct and Programmatic is nothing but an illusion. Metaverse will be a simple direct collaboration with brands, integrated into blockchain helps you buy/sell, track and earn, you will be able to wear your cool headset and walk around with your cool avatar as you do in the real world and well there is so much to it. Same as integrating direct publishers into Adtech and naming it programmatic. Trending Millions of dollars monkey jpeg is nothing but naive writing about the difference between Direct and Programmatic. And I also understand where it’s coming from, maybe someday we speak about “Ad Fraud” and how it correlates. The beautiful thing about Web 3.0 is we are early, don’t miss your chance to learn from the present Web 2.0 world or you may end up creating slow rug NFTs or hosting space with your beloved clients in whatever universe.

What a journey! If you have any questions, please feel free to engage. I also like being questioned, so do not hesitate to write. And my offer for sharing columns with bright minds like you are always open.

Advait Shah
Sr. Digital Media Buyer
✉️advait@ecartic.com

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Programmatic Media Buying: The ultimate guide

It’s 2022, we are already dreaming of living in Web 3.0 and the metaverse. Many of us have already been through NFT rug pulls and some degen plays sitting in our hidden folder. After ifs and buts, you finally start to understand the difference between all those NFT projects. What If, I told you that difference already exists in Media buying.

What is Programmatic Media Buying?

Programmatic media buying is based on RTB auction, where Advertisers place bids simultaneously and the highest bidder wins. In programmatic, most media buyers have less intervention since it’s all automated. It’s built on adtech called DSP and SSP.

Demand-Side platform is a technology that allows advertisers to create campaigns, target audiences, and allow them to enter into an auction against hundreds of other Advertisers.

Supply-Side platform is where Publishers sell their inventory, and placement at a certain price. For example, CNN, NY Times, Theverge, etc are well-known Publishers that use such technology by outsourcing it to reputed programmatic Advertising platforms.

Now, Imagine the current meta: Free mint NFTs, 99% chance you have rug pull, and 1% chance to hit Goblin. As plenty of Free, Mint NFTs projects out there with identical names, AI-generated arts, and twisted & turn terminology; that’s as many Programmatic Networks we have available in the Advertising world. Aswell 99% are inventory rebroker and anyone can fall into its trap thinking it’s cheap, however, it’s nothing less than a rug pull. It may give you a bit of performance in the beginning but before you understand anything you might end up losing all the Advertising budget.

How are the greatest Programmatic platforms built?

It’s like your NFT artist creating a 1:1 pfp you might want to buy and hold. We shall speak about it in our column “Direct Media buying”

How to be successful in Programmatic Media Buying?

However, it seems like more cons than pros to Programmatic buying, it’s not that complicated to be a successful Programmatic Media buyer. All you need to do is quit the degen play and you will already eliminate 99% inventory rebrokers.

For example, we have a Clothing Ecommerce brand, find Programmatic Networks with direct collaborations with Publishers you like to target or have access to a direct inventory of respected audiences. Since bidding on this direct inventory won’t be cheap, do not forget to track the audience. Take your time optimizing the conversions manually, it will help you create a lookalike audience, buy cheaper inventory elsewhere or master your GoogleAds or SM buys, it will help extend your reach since not all Publishers sell programmatic or users visit your targeted inventory.

Now as you know the basics, before using any DSP always make sure it has a strong background with full credibility, ask questions, try to get an Account manager, only use SS after fully understanding their platform, and create campaigns yourself if possible, and last but not least meet them in the real world events to build strong connections. I guess that’s your Alpha right there. Wish you happy and successful Programmatic buys.

In the next column, let us speak about my personal favorite direct media buying.



Advait Shah
Sr. Digital Media Buyer
✉️advait@ecartic.com

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The image illustrates media buyers targeting people.

Let us start with the three main steps of a media buyer

Have you ever heard of digital footprints?


Have you ever wondered about that fancy-looking dress you just searched for on Amazon, and why are you seeing it elsewhere while surfing the Web? You might be panicking, thinking some lizards from Amazon, Meta or Google are tracking your online activities. Well, you are right and you are being targeted by someone sitting in their fancy office, possibly sipping a morning coffee, staring down their GoogleAds screen. Smiling and patting themselves, for doing an amazing job targeting, because you might be their potential buyer. And that’s the someone we call a media buyer in a fun form.

But we want to step back a bit, to know the difference between tracking digital footprints and targeting. Often we think it is the same. However, they are two sides of the coin and they must coexist to create a successful Media buyer. We will get back to it at the end of the article.

The three main steps of a media buyer


The first step of any Media buyer is 
to do a proper product analysis, categorize it, use the product yourself (if possible), or maybe go through some QA testing thesis. Testing could be anything depending on the form of a product, be it a physical or a digital. All you need is to fall in love with what you are about to present to the real audience.

Step two: knowing the expectations of a product owner. Most importantly, understanding the KPIs and budget. Since it’s the Media buyer’s job to provide ROIs, we ask no further questions assuming the product is fully developed and ready to go on sale.

The third and final step is optimisation! It doesn’t start without knowing the difference between tracking and targeting. Advertising Networks, let’s call the giants Meta, Google, Microsoft, or any other network with direct traffic, do the dirty job we call tracking the audience. Media buyers do a simple job of targeting those audiences, buying media on CPC, CPM, CPL, CPA, CPS, etc. Any Optimisation take less efforts if you have found the right tracker i.e. GoogleAds there are literally thousands of combine targeting options available and now as a media buyer if you have gone through first and second steps properly we just made targeting simplified.

In terms of being a successful Media buyer, one should have full knowledge of which Tracker/Advertising Network to use before targeting its audience. Be confident since there are plenty of Networks with tons of promises and do not be afraid of negotiating.

Today, we just scratched the surface of media buying. Next time we will dive deeper to discuss the complexity of media buying. Do let us know if there is anything specific you would like to find out! We have combined 10 years of experience in the Digital Advertising world, so give us your best shot.

Advait Shah
Sr. Digital Media Buyer
✉️advait@ecartic.com

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