The Programmatic Primer: Exchanges in the online advertising ecosystem

This article is part of The Programmatic Primer, Warc's essential guide for advertisers to the latest online advertising techniques. The report includes detailed advice on how to work with companies in the online advertising ecosystem, plus use cases of programmatic in action. View a PDF version.

Need to know: Exchanges

  • Exchanges attempt to match buyers and sellers one impression at a time to create a liquid market.
  • Exchanges can become outlets for remnant inventory.
  • The dominant mode of transaction on exchanges today is real-time bidding. This allows buyers to bid for impressions against other buyers.
  • Exchanges handle billions of impressions a day. A lot of good inventory does not get bought simply because the bidder cannot answer a bid request fast enough.
  • Lack of transparency is a flaw in the advertising marketplace because it blocks the connection between media value and business outcomes.