Direct vs. Programmatic: A Breakdown of Media Buying


Do you know the difference between direct media buying and programmatic media buying?

Direct Buying

Direct buying of media refers to advertisers working directly with a publisher to purchase advertising space on a website or in a traditional publication. They negotiate the price, pick the placing and the date the ad will run, and for how long the ad will be shown to the publisher’s readers. It involves people talking with people, and the process can take time, as ad copy is sent back and forth for approval. Results are calculated manually and provided to the buyer when they become available. Ads are optimized manually based on the data. This is the traditional mode of advertising media buying.

Programmatic Buying

Programmatic buying happens automatically through an ad-buying platform. The ads are bought and sold through an automated process through a dashboard. Real-time optimization occurs and KPI data are available as it comes in. There is no need to interact with any salespeople at the publishers.

Which one is right for you?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Our friends at Centro have put together this infographic detailing the differences between direct and programmatic media buying. If you have questions about which might work for you, please contact 301 Digital Media today.

direct vs. programmatic media buying
Image: Centro


John is a writer with an interest in healthcare and SEO. In his spare time, he enjoys basketball and memes and spending time with his family.

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