Programmatic Curation: Best Deal in 2024?

January 25, 2024
6 minutes

Before we explain programmatic curation, let’s address the problem it solves.

In an age where every click counts and user attention is a fleeting commodity, programmatic curation offers unparalleled efficiency, precision and relevance in a sea of online content.

It empowers advertisers to cut through the noise, delivering personalized and engaging ad experiences to the target audience. This guide demystifies the complexities of programmatic curation and illuminates its pivotal role in modern advertising.

Whether you're a marketer, a business owner, or simply curious about the future of digital ads, this is for you

What is programmatic curation?

Think of programmatic curation like organizing a bookshelf in a library.

The same way a librarian selects and arranges books based on topics or genres to make it easier for readers to find what they need, programmatic curation organizes ads to simplify discovery.

The goal is to ensure the ads (ad inventory) match advertisers’ needs. For example, if an advertiser wants to show ads for sports equipment, the curator makes sure these ads appear on sports-related websites or sections.

The curator (the person or system doing the organization) selects and groups ads in a way that will be more meaningful and appealing to the people seeing them

Maybe a music analogy is more fitting if you’re not the library type. Think of it like creating a themed playlist of songs, where each song is chosen to fit a particular mood or occasion.

Curation goes beyond mere selection; it involves shaping the inventory to maximize its appeal and effectiveness for advertisers.

Programmatic curation examples

Let’s see some examples to understand real-life applications.

Contextualization: Agency A wants to run a localized campaign for a brand looking to reach a sports audience. The brand wants to prioritize running on local sites. Enter the Curator. The Curator offered the agency a tailored list of local sports sites that match the advertiser's criteria, such as +95% viewability.

Standardization: Agency B is working with distributed trading teams and wants to manage their supply strategy at scale efficiently. By working with a Curator, they created a marketplace of "company-approved" media packages that their trading team can use, removing the room for user error and effectively managing compliance.

How does inventory shaping work?

Curation goes beyond mere selection; it involves shaping the inventory to maximize its appeal and effectiveness for advertisers. Curators expertly shape the inventory by categorizing and bundling it based on parameters like

  • audience demographics
  • content relevance
  • behavioral patterns

This process ensures a more cohesive and targeted advertising approach. The advantages of a well-curated inventory are manifold. Advertisers benefit from higher engagement rates, better campaign performance, and a more efficient advertising budget allocation.

Key players in programmatic curation

Certain key players play a pivotal role in shaping the landscape in the realm of programmatic curation.

Curators in the programmatic arena are entities that specialize in aggregating and organizing ad inventory. They possess the expertise to evaluate and categorize inventory, ensuring it aligns with the nuanced needs of advertisers.

Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs) are instrumental in the curation process. They offer specialized curation services, bundling inventory from their publishers and driving media sales to enhance platform utilization.

However, the true game-changers are those who curate inventory across multiple platforms. Entities like Eskimi, Seedtag, Captify, and Multilocal are notable examples. Additionally, some large holding companies have developed their curation strategies, enabling them to manage their global supply strategy at scale and reducing reliance on local trading teams.

These entities will offer pre-packaged bundles according to audience segments doing the hard work for the advertiser. For example, the sports enthusiast media package would include football lovers, health and fitness apps, sports betting/gambling and more.

Standard curation process

Here’s how curation works from when working with Eskimi.

Client brief: Gather the necessary information: DSP, buyer seat ID, Brand, Ad Format, Sizes Dates and country.

Pricing: The curator will check available inventory and come with a proposed CPM for the deal, including margin.

Deal creation: Once all parties agree, the curator will set up the deals with the chosen buyer and share the deal ID.

Launch: The client can find the deal ID in their selected DSP seat and set up a campaign, targeting the deal.

Benefits of programmatic curation

One of the primary benefits of programmatic curation is its ability to provide a more relevant and targeted advertising inventory. But there's more.

Cross-publisher inventory bundling: Traditional methods often scatter inventory, making it challenging to achieve consistency and relevance. Programmatic curation combats this by bundling cross-publisher inventory. This approach streamlines the process and ensures that advertisers have access to a more coherent and relevant selection of ad spaces.

Predictability similar to PMPs: Private Marketplaces (PMPs) are known for their predictability and quality assurance. Programmatic curation offers similar predictability but with an added advantage. Unlike PMPs, which require dealing with multiple publishers, curation simplifies this by aggregating inventory, making the process more efficient and user-friendly.

Leveraging first-party data

The utilization of first-party data in curated advertising presents a significant advantage. Here's how:

Targeted inventory access: Advertisers can tap into highly targeted inventory using first-party data from publishers. This specificity allows for more tailored and effective ad placements, ensuring that the right audience sees the suitable ads.

Data privacy and control: With the growing concerns over data privacy, programmatic curation offers a safer way to use sensitive first-party data. Advertisers can leverage this data without sharing it extensively with Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs), maintaining better control and confidentiality.

Benefits to buyers

There are three main benefits of buying inventory through Eskimi.

Supply management: Manage supply at scale. The curator provides tailored packages that increase your operational efficiency.

Data curation: Access premium data partners to reach the right audience without wasting your advertising budget.

Commercial incentive:  Depending on volume of spend, you will be eligible for commercial incentives that will help drive profitability.

Standardization and efficiency

Standardization in programmatic curation brings about numerous efficiencies in the trading process:

Streamlined strategy on the supply level: By setting strategies directly at the supply level, advertisers can centralize control over the inventory their campaigns purchase. This standardization simplifies decision-making and reduces the complexity of managing various ad inventories.

Efficient trading team operations: With the standardization of curated deals, trading teams are relieved from the burden of targeting a myriad of uncoordinated deals. They can focus on approved, curated deals that align with the advertiser's strategy, leading to more efficient and effective campaign management.

Centralized inventory control: Advertisers gain the advantage of centrally controlling the inventory. This centralization means that changes to campaign strategies can be implemented more swiftly and cohesively across various platforms and publishers.

Low barrier to entry

There is no commitment at the beginning. You test it and adjust accordingly.

Programmatic curation classification

Now that we’ve identified programmatic curation let’s dig a bit deeper into how we can categorize curators.

Creative services

Creative services vendors elevate buyer experiences through innovative and often visually compelling media solutions, such as rich media or interactive ads. They partner with publishers capable of supporting and enhancing these creative efforts. This collaboration aims to cultivate a selection of inventory that buyers can utilize to deploy these imaginative creatives effectively.

Audience targeting

Vendors in audience targeting assist buyers by enriching publisher inventory with valuable audience data. Depending on the situation, these vendors may either possess the data themselves or act as intermediaries, making it accessible to buyers. Their primary goal is to achieve sufficient scale, enabling buyers to connect with their desired audience effectively.

Buyer services

Buyer services vendors focus on delivering a range of beneficial services to buyers. This may include strategic planning, optimization of processes, expert guidance, or other value-added services. These vendors seek partnerships with publishers that align with and complement their service offerings, enhancing the overall value they provide buyers.

Where does programmatic curation go from here?

In the near future, programmatic curation could very well become synonymous with advertising intelligence. It's evolving into an ecosystem that understands consumer behavior and anticipates it, crafting ad experiences that are not just seen, but felt.

As machine learning and AI technologies continue to advance, the precision of programmatic curation will reach unprecedented levels, making the concept of 'advertising noise' obsolete.

Each ad placement will be relevant and engaging, inviting the consumer to a dialogue rather than a monologue. This development will redefine the advertiser-consumer relationship, forging connections rooted in value, respect, and mutual benefit.

As privacy concerns and regulations reshape data usage, programmatic curation will be at the forefront of responsible and ethical advertising. It will leverage first-party data and contextual targeting to deliver impactful advertising without overstepping the bounds of privacy.

Antonis has a decade of experience in marketing. From blog posts to newsletters, he is responsible for (almost) all things content at Eskimi. When he is not typing away, he is searching for new restaurants or adding more travel destinations to his bucket list.
Antonis has a decade of experience in marketing. From blog posts to newsletters, he is responsible for (almost) all things content at Eskimi. When he is not typing away, he is searching for new restaurants or adding more travel destinations to his bucket list.
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