What are RTB, Private and Programmatic Direct Marketplaces?

Contributor, October 13, 2020


As the methods how buyers and sellers exchange programmatic inventory and campaign budgets continues to evolve and improve, it is vital to continue to stay up to date on the frequent changes currently taking place in the programmatic industry so your company can maximize its involvement and success. Today, we wanted to quickly run-down the most common methods in which advertisers are purchasing media programmatically and then we’ll zero in on a very dynamic method currently growing in importance for premium advertisers, Programmatic Direct.

What are RTB, Private and Programmatic Direct Marketplaces?

Real-time Bidding (RTB) – Buying ads through computer-run, real-time auctions.  The buyer/advertiser only knows the category, not the actual website, that the ads will appear on. Private Marketplace (PMP) – An invitation only RTB auction where one publisher or a group of select publishers invite specific buyers to bid on inventory. The buyer/advertiser knows precisely which sites their advertisements will appear on. Programmatic Direct – Method for advertisers to automate direct ad buys for set campaigns.  Programmatic direct incorporates both guaranteed and non-guaranteed contacts. Programmatic direct differs from real-time bidding in that it is a guaranteed-buy rather than an auction like RTB.  Publishers and advertisers are adopting programmatic direct because it allows for premium purchases to be conducted programmatically rather than through a direct ad buy.  

Programmatic Direct Continues to Grow in Importance for Premium Advertisers

Programmatic direct allows for priority access to premium inventory for advertisers which previously has only been available through a direct relationship with the publisher.  Whereas this was once known as a method for unloading leftover remnant traffic, much has changed since that was true in 2015-2016.  Today, advertisers that were previously skeptical to begin using programmatic buying due to its lack of one-on-one relationship with the publisher, can now safely buy premium inventory in an automated manner. Most commonly, the method in which a programmatic direct transaction takes place is when advertisers and publishers negiotiate deals beforehand with a fixed CPM and then the actual execution of the deal happens programmatically. Google is bullishly predicting that in the near future, “The majority of advertisers and publishers will choose to conserve resources and streamline the sales process by conducting direct deals programmatically.”  Clearly, both advertisers and publishers stand to gain huge benefits from the programmatic direct relationship and .

Programmatic Direct’s Core Benefits


  • Early access to premium inventory
  • Ability to use data to target campaigns with precision
  • Real-time optimization with analytics
  • Ability to segment target audiences
  • Ensure brand-safety by targeting specific websites and apps


  • Create new partnership with advertisers for premium inventory
  • Brand safe advertisers to work with
  • New opportunities for selling premium ad units
  • Minimize unsold premium inventory and move more premium inventory more easily
  • Increase content exposure at the audience segment level Target premium audiences beyond the publisher site (audience extension)
  • Optimize content to grow high value audiences
  • Systematically sell paid subscriptions leveraging programmatic marketing
  • Demand maximum CPM rates for narrowly defined target audiences

We have an abundance of experience working with both premium advertisers and large publishers to maximize their results using programmatic direct.  If you would like to begin using programmatic direct on either the buy-side or the sell-side and are not sure how to begin, we can help! Contact us today!