This is the second of a three part blog series that does a high level overview of digital display programmatic buying industry and how programmatic direct buying has risen to a become a major player. To learn more about the history of display programmatic media buying, go to Part 1.

Programmatic direct is automation technology that serves as a channel to guaranteed display ad inventory between the buyer and the publisher.

This new digital buying innovation was previously called “programmatic premium” to describe the new programmatic access to the “premium” inventory that was unreachable by old programmatic RTB methods. RTB ad exchanges started using that label even though they clearly only sold remnant spaces, and critics claimed it was too subjective. On April 24th, 2013, the key players invested in this new programmatic trend came to the rescue at the Ad Exchanger Programmatic Conference and decided  to officially name the new innovation as “programmatic direct.” At the conference, Eric Picard,  Founder and CEO of Rare Crowds, defended the new name, saying “programmatic premium as a term causes too much confusion, especially as RTB inventory sources keep adding more inventory that most agree is ‘premium quality.’ The right way to describe this different channel from RTB is ‘programmatic direct,’ reflecting an automated, integrated buying and selling channel directly connected to the primary publisher ad server.”

The results of programmatic direct are promising. Ford used DataXu’s programmatic direct solution and experienced “a 20% increase in effectiveness and consumer engagement” when compared to its previous campaigns.

To see how programmatic direct has risen to its current level within the display industry, go to Part 3 of my blog series.