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Programmatic Curation: The Path to Transparent Media Buying

Fragmented audiences. Fractured identity signal. A minefield of low-quality inventory. The digital advertising landscape can be treacherous. But programmatic curation emerges as a strategic superpower to help marketers conquer the industry’s biggest pain points.

Programmatic curation empowers marketers to:

  • Reach unique and valuable audiences at scale without reliance on fragile 3rd-party cookies or legacy identifiers. 
  • Increase transparency and improve control of inventory included in ad buys by consolidating suppliers, to separate premium, brand-safe placements from the junk.
  • Measure and optimize campaigns using “upstream” supply-side signals to drive effeciencies and improve campaign performance. 
  • Seamlessly manage and scale coveted Private Marketplace deals across multiple publishers and targeting tactics.

Programmatic curation redefines how ad campaigns are built, bought, and optimized – representing a true paradigm shift. This guide delves into the intricacies of programmatic curation, exploring its definition, significance, benefits, and how marketers can leverage it to enhance their advertising outcomes.

Understanding Programmatic Curation

What is programmatic curation

Programmatic curation refers to the strategic aggregation, selection, and management of digital advertising inventory through programmatic channels, combined with enhanced audience targeting, and advanced optimization. It involves creating tailored Private Marketplaces (PMPs) that bundle specific inventory and data to meet precise advertiser needs, and deliver to the demand-side platform (DSP) as an easy-to-activate Deal ID.

Why Programmatic Curation Matters

The digital advertising landscape has its challenges: the impending demise of third-party cookies, a complex and opaque programmatic supply chain, and the delicate balance of user privacy and experience. Programmatic curation addresses these issues head-on by offering a transparent and efficient way to navigate the programmatic ecosystem. 

1. Addressing the Complexity of the Supply Chain

The programmatic supply chain is notoriously complex, making it difficult for advertisers and publishers to ensure transparency and efficiency in ad transactions. The perception of efficient reach with free market pricing has attracted buyers to open auction programmatic, but hidden beneath the surface is a glut of low-quality, high-risk supply designed to “game” campaign KPIs, without true impact to a brand’s business.  Programmatic curation streamlines programmatic ad auctions, offering a clear and consolidated path from advertiser to inventory, to ensuring that ads are reaching their desired audiences in relevant, effective contexts.

2. Privacy and the Shift Away from Cookies

As the industry moves away from reliance on third-party cookies, marketers need new methods for targeting and measurement. Curated deals are built using universal IDs and first-party data from publishers which are packaged into PMPs and matched to audiences outside of the open marketplace, emitting a more precise and privacy-friendly Deal ID signal to DSPs. This makes programmatic curation a smart choice for advertisers looking for reduced reliance on third-party cookies and allowing them to utilize first-party data across multiple publishers for data-driven contextual targeting.


The Benefits of Using Programmatic Curation

benefits of programmatic curation

Programmatic curation offers numerous advantages for all parties involved in the digital advertising ecosystem:

  • Better Transparency and Control: Programmatic curation cuts through the complexity of the digital ad supply chain, offering advertisers and publishers a clear view of media vendors in their supply chain (data providers, publishers). This transparency lets buyers know exactly where their ads will appear and helps publishers understand who is buying their inventory, fostering trust and control over the process.
  • Improved Targeting and Relevance: Leveraging first-party publisher data and cookieless signals to map website visitors with target audience segments on the supply-side results in 30-40% higher match rates – and increased addressability – compared with cookie-based matching within DSPs. Higher segment resolution combined with sophisticated contextual and audience suppression levers available in curation platforms enables advertisers to target their campaigns precisely and effectively, leading to higher engagement rates, as ads may be more relevant to the audience, and better business outcomes.
  • Enhanced Performance: By fine-tuning ad placements informed by rich contextual and audience data, and ingesting real-time performance signals to execute optimizations from the supply-side (inventory, audience data and bid price), programmatic curation not only increases the relevance of ads for consumers but significantly boosts campaign KPIs. Precision targeting paired with rapid supply-side optimization of PMPs drives deeper message resonance with intended audiences, leading to higher click-through rates, higher conversion rates, and ultimately, superior campaign ROI. This level of performance optimization is a key advantage, offering a competitive edge to marketers leveraging curation.
  • Operational Efficiency and Cost Savings: Curation streamlines the ad buying process by reducing the number of intermediaries, simplifying the selection of quality inventory packaged with data, and introducing flexible, dynamic pricing of multi-publisher PMPs. Curated Deal IDs are seamlessly delivered to buyer DSPs to be activated programmatically. Optimizing workflow and pricing models results in decreases resources strains and operational burdens to maximize returns on media investment and human capital, making marketing budgets more effective.
  • Direct Access to Quality Inventory: Allows advertisers to access customized packaged audience data combined with inventory from multiple supply-side platforms (SSPs), bypassing multiple intermediaries. This direct access ensures higher quality inventory, data and delivers more favorable match rates, and pricing enhancing the value of each ad dollar invested.
  • Data Monetization and Enhanced Publisher Revenue: For publishers, programmatic curation opens new avenues for monetizing their first-party data. By curating their inventory and associated data, publishers can offer more attractive and targeted opportunities to advertisers, potentially increasing their revenue.
  • Restored Relationships Between Advertisers and Publishers: The direct nature of curated deals helps rebuild the relationship between advertisers and publishers. By removing layers of complexity and intermediaries, both parties can work closely together, tailoring deals to meet specific advertising goals and content environments. This collaboration can lead to more successful campaigns and long-term partnerships.
  • Adaptability in a Post-Cookie World: Programmatic curation is well-positioned as a future-proof strategy in the evolving digital advertising ecosystem. It provides an alternative to cookie-based targeting, relying on contextual signals and first-party data to match traffic with highly sought-after audiences, empowering brands to reach consumers effectively, even as the industry moves away from third-party cookies.


How to Get Started with Programmatic Curation

Marketers looking to harness the power of programmatic curation can follow these steps to get started and achieve better advertising results:

1. Define Your Objectives: 

Start by getting a clear picture of who your audience is, understanding their preferences, behaviors, and online habits. It’s crucial to set precise goals for what you aim to achieve with your advertising campaigns, whether it’s boosting brand awareness, generating leads, or driving direct sales. You can also use Lotame’s audience analytics tools to help define and validate your target audience. 

2. Assess Your Data Capabilities

Begin by evaluating your access to and the quality of first and third-party data. Successful curation relies on robust data to inform targeting and personalization strategies. Lotame Curate offers 150 data sources across every industry category, first- and third-party data enrichment, plus AI-powered contextual audience solutions.

3. Partner with the Right Platforms

Select technology partners that offer curation capabilities, with a focus on platforms that provide transparency, flexibility, and robust data targeting and inventory options. Seek out data providers or curators who can offer in-depth audience insights and curated ad inventory that aligns with your campaign goals. Lotame offers leading data assets and strategic know-how in delivering optimal campaign performance, making us an ideal partner to help agencies and marketers navigate programmatic curation. 

4. Curate Your Ad Inventory

Use the insights from your audience research to pinpoint specific criteria for your ad placements. This involves selecting environments that are not only relevant and engaging to your audience but also safe for your brand. Through programmatic curation, you can pre-select inventory that perfectly matches your targeting criteria, optimizing the relevance and effectiveness of your ads.

5. Launch and Optimize Your Campaigns

Begin with a pilot campaign to gauge the performance of your curated approach. Employ A/B testing to fine-tune your targeting and creative strategies. Utilize reporting from your DSP and real-time signals from SSPs to make adjustments, focusing on metrics that directly correlate with your objectives, such as engagement rates, conversions, and overall return on investment.

6. Measure and Scale

Conduct a thorough analysis of your campaign’s performance, assessing its impact on your business goals beyond just surface-level metrics. Use the insights gained to refine and expand your programmatic curation efforts, applying successful strategies to future campaigns.

By following this streamlined approach, you can effectively harness the power of programmatic curation to enhance the precision, efficiency, and impact of your digital advertising campaigns. 

Partnering with Lotame for Curation Results

Programmatic curation represents a significant evolution in digital advertising, offering a pathway to efficient and effective ad placements. Lotame Curate gives advertisers a new curation solution tailored to meet the demands of the current advertising ecosystem, enabling marketers to overcome the challenges of audience fragmentation, inventory quality, and campaign management with unparalleled efficiency and effectiveness. 

Benefits include: 

  • Extending your audience across devices and activating with or without third-party cookies
  • Driving true incremental audience reach using our data-informed contextual targeting with intelligent suppression.
  • Achieving higher audience match rates vs demand-side targeting.
  • Consolidating your supply paths to maximize relevant inventory and minimize wasted impressions.
  • Gaining valuable audience insights about your target customer.
  • Driving exponential results using our innovative approach to campaign optimizations. 

Lotame is your audience expert. We know how to find the right audience to deliver superior campaign performance at scale. Contact us today to learn more about Lotame Curate and how it can help you make smarter, faster, and easier decisions with your data.