Google AdWords was the king of online advertising until Facebook Ads has come on to the scene. Now a third competitor has appeared  and it threatens to reshape the landscape of digital advertising forever: we are talking about Programmatic Advertising. In this article, I look at the advertising comparing the functionality of SEM versus two other popular marketing channels – self-serve display advertising (Google Display Network) and programmatic display advertising.

Before we get into the details, it’s best to show you what programmatic advertising is and how it got started in the first place.

What is Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising is the process of using technology to buy and sell ad inventory through an automated and data-driven procedure. It also represents most types of ad spaces on all screens including video, mobile, native and display ads. The term gets used a lot within the digital advertising industry and often relates to areas such as real-time bidding (RTB), remnant inventory and open auctions.

It originally started with a relationship between publishers and advertisers. The advertiser is also known as the buyer and the publisher as the seller. Agencies then started helping advertisers to achieve their marketing goals and communicate with their target audience. 

Next, a new group within the advertising ecosystem emerged and called themselves Ad Networks. What this group did was categorize a publisher’s unsold ad inventory making it easy for media planners to consume, access and include it within their media campaigns. This meant that agencies had more than one channel to source ad inventories for their advertising partners.

But what about the king of Ad Neworks, Google Adwords?

Let’s see  now 7 differences between Google Display Network and Programmatic Advertising:

      1. Google Display Network (GDN) is an ad network with millions of sites as an inventory (the same ones                       signed up to Google AdSense).  
          Programmatic is an automated buying platform with a huge inventory, a collection of ad networks, ad                         exchanges and direct publishers.
      2. GDN supports all the basic targeting capabilities not as much as programamtic networks.
           Programmatic has a lot of detailed target capabilities that GND can’t support.
       3. GDN doesn’t not provide detailed insights on the audience.
           Programmatic offers detailed insights of audience (you can see audience to whom the ads were served).
       4. GDN does not support all the ad formats (customization is not possible).
          Programmatic supports customization and a huge inventory for reach media units.
       5. By using GDN you can only buy GDN inventory.
           With Programmatic you can buy GDN (AdX) inventory using different DSP (Demand Side Platform).
       6. With GDN bid adjustment has a lag of 2-3 hours.
            With Programmatic adjustment is real time.
       7. GDN allows CPC, CPA and CPM bidding types, though the backend is based only on impressions.
           Programmatic allows only CPM bidding.