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Programmatic buying: stormy clouds for sales teams? Rich media could be the silver lining

Ad exchanges and real-time bidding promise significant efficiency gains across the entire online advertising industry. As the technology becomes more sophisticated, automation in the area of buying and selling ad space is undeniably a growing trend. Just look at the latest research; according to Forrester, “programmatic exchanged-based trading will comprise 30% of total spend by 2017."[1]

This promise of the rise in programmatic buying has spurred some serious debate. For example, there’s a lot of chatter these days that automation could lead to many media owners scaling back their media sales teams.

Beyond automation, an opportunity

But while it might seem like bad news at first glance, look deeper and you’ll find there’s a superb opportunity for publishers to increase the quality – and therefore the CPMs – of their directly sold inventory. In other words, the flip side of this growth in RTB is that media sales execs now have a great chance to embrace rich media and custom or cross-platform campaigns for their clients. The savvy publisher is free to let programmatic buying mop up the bread-and-butter ads, enabling sales teams to focus on high-earning direct deals.

The same Forrester report estimates that CPMs will double between 2012 and 2017, and that rich media will grow by 16%. The latest developments in ad serving technology mean that media owners can be poised to make the most of both of these trends. While in the past a typical publisher would have relied on a third party or agency to deal with rich media, new tools mean that all the tasks for successfully serving rich media ads can be handled in-house.[2]

A win-win situation

Fortunately today there are rich media tools that aim to simplify the deployment of what were previously considered complex campaigns. The benefits to advertisers include better metrics, richer user experience and – thanks to the fact that rich media delivers higher click-through rates than traditional banners – more performance. For publishers, these make it easy to present higher quality ads alongside content and to garner higher CPMs.

The long story short? Programmatic buying is growing, but when it comes to rich media there’s still tremendous scope for publishers to capitalize on lucrative direct deals. And for those media owners with the right in-house technology in place, managing and serving high-value rich media ads is easier than ever before.


[2] If you want to learn more about ADTECH’s rich media tool, Canvas, read more at this link or feel free to send an email to me at


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Tags: Programmatic buying, RTB, Rich Media, Premium ads

Who am I?

Mark Thielen
Mark Thielen
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With eight years as a technology leader in the ad serving industry, my work has centred around leading local and remote sites in Europe and North America to drive product and technology innovation. Covering engineering, architectural and operational aspects of scalable performance system environments, I've been fortunate enough to serve as a business and technology executive since 2007.