What are the Differences: Programmatic and Display Network Advertising

If you are new to the digital advertising world, the terms used in the field may confuse you. The main reason for this confusion is the new digital marketing technologies introduced every year.

These new technologies are introduced for a good reason. Digital marketers have more tools to reach and convince their target audiences than ever. If you think about taking your first step to this new world to promote your brand on online channels, we’ll try to make things a little bit easier for you. We’ll explain the differences between programmatic and display network advertising.

What is Display Network Advertising?

Let’s start by explaining one of the oldest types of digital advertising.

Display network advertising has been one of the dominant advertising types on the web since its introduction in 1994. It mostly consists of visual elements often called “banner” ads that you can see on a web page, social media, or app.

Display network advertising is a closed system. Each network publishes its clients’ ads on the websites in their network.

What is Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic advertising is a relatively new technology. The main focus of programmatic advertising is to provide both advertisers and publishers with fair prices through dynamic bidding systems.

Programmatic advertising uses more sophisticated algorithms to place ads in more efficient ad spaces to obtain more impressions.

Programmatic advertising defines the best ad spaces to buy for a campaign and the maximum price to buy this ad space. When there is a request for an ad -Simply, when a user visits a webpage-, an auction is organized and concluded automatically in milliseconds. Programmatic advertising attends this auction and decides to buy the ad space for you.

What’s the Difference?

Let’s have a deeper dive into the differences between display network advertising and programmatic.


The first significant difference between display network advertising and programmatic is the reach. As we mentioned above, display network is a closed system. An ad on a display network can be published only on that network’s websites or apps.

Programmatic advertising works with several ad exchanges instead of a limited network whick provides advertisers with more choices and higher flexibility.

Budget Management

Another key difference between these two advertising distribution systems is the overall management of ad campaigns.

In display network advertising, most of the campaign management must be done manually. It can be a time and -particularly if you are not an expert- money consuming job to do.

Programmatic advertising tries to get the most effective ad spaces with the lowest budgets possible. This is done in milliseconds. The micromanagement capacity of programmatic is much higher than display network advertising thanks to artificial intelligence technologies.


More data means more efficient targeting. As programmatic advertising can reach more people through different ad exchanges, it provides more data.

Collecting data is important. But when not processed effectively, the data is meaningless. Thanks to different technologies provided by third-party networks, programmatic advertising can make a more accurate targeting than display advertising.

We tried to sum up the differences between programmatic and display network advertising. But if you are still confused and don’t know how you can take your first step into the digital advertising world, drop us a line or call us. We’ll be pleased to help you!

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