Demystifying Programmatic End to End Platforms

Digital marketing can be incredibly awesome.  

We have more power than ever before to reach audiences across all screens, and access to more and better data to allow us to target each impression on only the most desirable audiences. Yet as capabilities improve, things tend to get more complex.

Today we demystify Programmatic End to End Platforms.

Marketed as a simpler set up, designed to take you from one end to the other, all in one place. But what exactly is it, and are they worth it?

The Benefit:

End to end platforms market themselves as a managed service, where their team has the experience and capability to carry out programmatic buys on behalf of agencies.  The benefit to the media planning or buying team is that they can simply execute the buy in a very traditional manner.  

X# of impressions per $x CPM.  Then the end to end platform does the rest.

You’re happy if the partner provided the agreed impressions at the agreed cost.

The Disadvantage:

Though the media buy is carried out on a programmatic basis, in this set up, it functions much more like a direct buy.  The issue with this is that despite being a programmatic buy, and using real time bidding, the agency or client, don’t benefit from it.  

End to End Model

The How:

The illustration above allows us to better understand the dynamic of who benefits from the programmatic function.   In End to End Platforms, the job of the platform is to sell the impression to the agency at the highest, yet most competitive price point.  Once the buy is executed, the End to End platform’s job is to deliver on those impressions.  BUT- if their ad ops team manages to buy this inventory at lower than originally priced, which is the key benefit of real time bidding, the remaining balance is simply kept, allowing the End to End platform to maximize its margin.

In this scenario, neither the agency’s client, nor the publisher benefit from the programmatic function.  If the end to end platform manages to maximize the benefit of real time bidding, purchasing impressions at a better price, the benefit is simply kept in the platform allowing it to maximize the margin of the buy.

What we use:

Because we noticed the inefficiencies of this set up.  We integrated a new model using our internal agency trading desk. Essentially a group of highly trained traders who specialize in real time buying and are adept to the intricacies of programmatic buying.  

In this instance, the benefit of the programmatic and real time buying is passed on directly to the client.  

Agency Trading Desk Model

The how:

Instead of carrying out a traditional model, our team develops an initial price point based on historical data on the impressions desired.  Once the buy is executed, the team’s goal is to purchase the best quality inventory at lower than historic price.  Thus, taking full advantage of real time bidding.  If the ad trading team manages to purchase lower than originally estimated, we don’t keep the difference, we infuse it back into the campaign, thus allowing us to serve more impressions, at lower CPMs.

in this model, both the agency’s client and the publisher benefit.  

The client, receives more impressions at a better rate than originally expected, and the publisher sells more of its inventory.

We absolutely love this space.  We dissect and break things down daily, in an effort to better understand how technology can improve our client’s advertising efforts.

If you’re interested in learning how it we could improve your programmatic digital buys, feel free to give us a call or email us at:


Written by
Carlos Casas
August 1, 2018