The Knowledge Exchange Blog

The waterfall worked well in the early days of programmatic – it facilitated the notion of programmatic as a clearinghouse for remnant inventory. Advertisers who set up direct deals with publishers saw available inventory first (all of it, especially the really good stuff) and made the decision to buy or pass. They would usually secure the high-value placements and pass on below the page units, sending those to programmatic exchanges. Most publishers worked with a slew of exchange partners and prioritized them in order of perceived value; if exchange A passed, the impression would pass to exchange B, and with each pass the price dropped.

The role of programmatic has fundamentally changed – selling programmatically is table stakes for most digital publishers who rely on advertising as a substantial source of revenue and it’s no longer conceived as a last ditch effort to secure maximum ad placements on a…

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