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The digital marketing industry is growing by the minute. Every year, the industry comes up with new technologies and methods. Such growth ultimately results in an influx of new and unique tactics and tools at the disposal of advertisers and performance marketers. 

This, for the most part, is a good thing, but what happens when a lot of complex terminologies get thrown around?

Answer: Confusion. It is hard to keep up with this digital marketing industry. This article aims to uncomplicate a small part of it by showcasing the fundamental differences between Programmatic and Display Network Advertising. 

Some people like to use the words Programmatic and Display Network Advertising interchangeably, but are they the same? Not really. While they both work towards the shared objective, each has its pros and cons. 

Let’s Start with The Definitions in Simplified and yet Meaningful Words

1. Programmatic Advertising

Contrary to popular belief, Programmatic Advertising is not an advertising network. Instead, it is an automated way of purchasing advertising space through algorithm-based technology to get the most accurate ad placement, in the fastest time, at the best possible price. Programmatic Advertising space is purchased and sold through ad exchanges. 

Here’s how it works: First, a person clicks on a website. The website’s owner puts the ad impression up for auction on Supply Side Platform (SSP). After that, advertisers offer bids for the impressions through the Demand Side Platform (DSP). The highest bidder then wins the ad impression and the ad is served on the website to the relevant users!

A recent study shows that in 2021, 88% of digital display ad marketing in the US will be done via Programmatic Advertising. 

2. Display Network Advertising

Display Network Adverting (also referred to as Display Advertising) has been prevalent since the 1990s. It is the process of advertising a product or service via visuals such as images and videos on networks of publisher websites like the Google Display Network, Facebook, and more. 

Display ads are placed on relevant third-party websites as banners, images, and text ads. It pretty much is a blanket term that encompasses every visual ad placed on a website. 

Google Display Network (GDN), Google’s ad platform, is one of the most famous Display Ad Networks. According to Google, GDN has more than 2 million websites with a reach of over 90% of people on the internet. Many other Display Ad Networks such as Bing, Yahoo, Conversant, serving the purpose.

But What Are the Differences? 

Both Programmatic and Display Network Advertising are auction-based bidding platforms. But despite this striking similarity, there are many differences:



Some Numbers to Sum it Up

Both Programmatic and Display Network Advertising are two of the crucial elements in every well-rounded digital marketing strategy. Both of these options have their advantages and disadvantages. Many advertisers use both Display Network Advertising and Programmatic Advertising in combination to handle different kinds of ads in their ad portfolio. 

Despite the cost and learning gap, Programmatic Advertising is always the best option as it provides increased control, a broader scale, and better judgment capabilities. A recent study by Adobe predicted that 62% of the brands would take Programmatic Advertising in-house by 2022.  

Unlike Programmatic Advertising and its vast reach, a famous Display Network Platform such as GDN doesn’t have access to many Premium Private Marketplace (PPM). While it does include 2 million sites, it is important to note that the internet currently has 200 million active websites. But such a number doesn’t mean Display Network Advertising is a “bad” choice. When you’re first starting, working on a small budget, Display Network Advertising can be a great way to play around and learn how to develop a clear marketing strategy.

A clear message, engaging content, advertising strategies, and effective marketing is key to a robust brand image. In the end, it all boils down to you understanding which method would best help your business or client. So, choose wisely! 

Disha Bhattacharya is a seasoned content writer prolific in engaging the customer with her content in any given realm of writing. With 6 years of Freelance Content Writing and 3 years of Marketing Management experience up her sleeve, she believes in transforming businesses with her well-researched, SEO-based, innovative content. A story-teller at heart and a perfectionist by nature, she rolls out informative content with a personal touch that provides an entertaining read to the audience.

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