What’s the difference between Display and Programmatic Advertising?

What’s the difference between Display and Programmatic Advertising?


As a consumer, you may not immediately recognise whether the advert you are being served is through Google or Programmatic, but as marketers, it’s important we understand the difference between display and programmatic advertising in order to spend our digital advertising budgets strategically and meet the objectives of our efforts.

Explore the Difference between Display and Programmatic Advertising

Explore ad formats in more detail to better understand the differences and when to apply them.

Display Advertising (or Google Display Networks) takes place through a closed network such as Google Adwords. Trueinfluence.com cites Google Ad Networks as one of the largest display advertising networks with around two million sites and reaches 90% of users on the Internet. They don’t have access to many premium private marketplaces.

Programmatic advertising runs typically runs through an open network such as a Demand-Side-Platforms (DSPs). While they both use data analytics for placement. Programmatic covers a vast inventory and is a more complex process. Statistics for South Africa show “in 2019, 79% of digital ads were generated by programmatic. This percentage is predicted to reach up to 83% in 2024.”

Both platforms have different capabilities when looking at the ad formats

Display networks allow image ads predominantly in the form of banners. Their content type is image ads. You can run formats such as video and audio, but only on sites like YouTube.

Programmatic advertising allows for diverse content such as videos and interactive html5, supports creative placement and retargeting options. You can even manage your video ads to only display for a certain length. For example, if your user has watched above 50% of the video, you can move on to the next video.

Adclick Africa has the latest in video and image advert content where the advert appears over your publisher’s page, thereby ensuring your ad is truly seen by the consumer.

What is the difference when looking at these options from a budget perspective?

Programmatic advertising can be seen as more costly than Display, as you are paying to reach a far broader audience. We will uncover why when we go through the targeting differences in platforms a bit further down. It’s often the advertising method of choice by bigger Brands. To save on costs and know that you will achieve your targets, use an agency like Adclick Africa who has its own DSP and negotiated rates. It’s often more cost-effective than placing your adverts directly with the publishers.

This doesn’t mean you should shy away from GDN. It is a lower cost of entry (cost-effective for smaller digital budgets). When running adverts using the GDN, you pay per click only also known as Cost-Per-Click (CPC), while Programmatic charges you based on a Cost-Per-Mille (CPM).

Is there any difference in targeting?

Targeting options for both display advertising and programmatic are advanced and include options such as retargeting etc. Programmatic has far reaching capabilities and a broader range of non-traditional options such as Wifi or Carrier based, OS, Device etc. This is due to the sheer volume of user-generated data that is available for analysis via programmatic advertising. Unlike display networks, with programmatic, the advertiser is not limited to the websites in the network.

No matter which forms of paid media you choose, make sure your content is strong and creatives eye-catching. Call the experts to get the maximum return on your digital advertising spend.