By Megan Du Toit, Ad Operations Manager, 365 Digital

In an ecosystem where domain spoofing, ad-fraud, bots, brand-unsafe content and fake inventory are pain points for advertisers, Programmatic Direct and more specifically Programmatic Guaranteed takes centre stage to breathe new life into the ecosystem.

The challenge with programmatic execution is brand safety and transparency. Brands could unknowingly have their ads displayed on sites with racial, extremist or sexual content.

Since DoubleClick lead the discussion on Programmatic Guaranteed at the US DoubleClick Leadership Summit in 2015 there has been much talk about this type of execution. Which, in South Africa, lead to many of the large publishers creating Private Market Place (PMP) deals with agency trading desks.

Programmatic Guaranteed (PG) as a deal type gives Advertisers and Publishers the opportunity to revisit the value of “premium” inventory, offering with it buying efficiency and full transparency for both parties. In effect, PG deals directly connect advertisers to publishers and allow direct media buys to take place programmatically thereby giving advertisers full view on where their ads are being displayed and to which audience. It’s a win win for both.

PG Deals have grown in popularity with agencies in 2017, so much so that a few brands have mandated their agency trading desks to only transact via Programmatic Direct – where the brands can have confidence that they are being aligned with credible publishers.

This execution not only guarantees access to brand safe inventory, it also allows for an overlay of data so that relevant audiences can be reached. This not only creates an ecosystem where brands are getting the best out of buys, but crucial buyer seller relationships are maintained and fostered.

Lloyd Naik, Performance Digital Marketing Manager at Liquorice, one of South Africa’s leading digital agency’s comments on a Programmatic Guaranteed Deal they ran on EWN through 365 Digital;

“We needed a new avenue for awareness and to generate leads. We felt that a homepage takeover run programmatically would give us the best exposure for the brand. We’re excited about the possibilities that are available with PG deals. Liquorice in partnership with our brands will in future purchase inventory through PG deals bundled with 1st and 3rd party data. Game changer!”

Lloyd continues, “PG is great because we are able to dictate targeting and very importantly because of the results we get. PG really does rely on the publisher’s ad tech capabilities and their skill – 365 Digital made the process simple and quick to get a campaign up and running. Working with a partner like 365 Digital gives us access to a wide range of publishers and some really great executions too.”.

3 things programmatic guaranteed offers

  1. Operational efficiency – many of the steps in traditional booking process are eliminated creating efficiency for both the publisher and advertiser.
  2. Transparency and trust – advertisers have full view of and can pick and choose the publishers they want to run campaigns on. Publishers can approve brands they trust thereby ensuring the integrity of the content, while also creating direct relationships with advertisers.
  3. Premium inventory – advertisers have access to new opportunities of premium inventory and remain in full control of targeting. Advertisers can bid on the latest brand-favoured formats exclusive to PG deals (native, brand takeovers in mobile apps, video inventory).


The appetite for Programmatic Guaranteed amongst brands and agencies is pushing the adoption of this media execution amongst South African publishers. However, the availability of this technology remains largely out of reach for smaller and medium size publishers, mostly due to lack resource and the high costs associated with Supply Side Platforms. Publishers who add Programmatic Direct to their offering will be future-proofing their sales and offering tremendous value to advertisers.