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Display & Programmatic

This page aims to introduce you to the world of display and programmatic advertisement.

What is programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising evolves around the process of buying online advertising space with automated technology. This method utilises algorithms and data insights to ensure your target audience sees the ad at the right time and price and includes video, banner, and native advertisement. At Novicell, we help our customers with their digital strategy. We ensure that there is a strategy for how the current setup can be optimised, as well as how a plan can be drawn up to exploit the market potential and grow the business further across efforts and channels.

The three types of programmatic media buying

Real-time bidding (RTB)

This is when the inventory price is decided through buying and selling ads in real-time. It’s also called an open auction, as it’s open to any advertiser or publisher. When someone enters a website that sells online ads (e.g., news sites), the ads on the page are listed for sale on a virtual auction. Every interested advertiser has the opportunity to buy this ad space by placing a bid. Depending on your strategy and the person behind the screen that triggers the auction, you might be willing to pay to win and thereby have your ad served. This process (RTB) is what defines which ads are served to whom. The price per impression is defined by your and competitors’ bids and will vary from auction to auction. 

Private marketplace (PMP)
As the name indicates, this type of bidding is not open to everyone. This marketplace is only for a limited audience of advertisers selected by the publisher who makes their inventory available for a selected group of buyers. This is often more premium ad space and comes with a higher cost. The benefit to the advertiser is that there is often a higher value to the ads that you buy, as the website might have access to an exclusive audience, allows for better and bigger ad placements etc. Like RTB the cost per impression will fluctuate.

Programmatic direct  

In this type, auctions aren’t held. The inventory will be sold at a fixed price, also called Cost per Mille (CPM), to the advertiser. This is especially useful for when you have a trusted publisher that is a must-have on your media plan. This could be industry-pages for your niche, contextually relevant pages etc.

The formats of display advertising 

Standard display formats 

This is when the focus is on reach and frequency. Also, these are probably the ones you know best and can be found on most websites. The key here is high frequency and many exposures, so your brand is top of mind when the next sales opportunity arises. 

Retargeting & Custom Intent 

As part of the low-funnel initiatives, we recommend platforms such as StackAdapt or Google Display Network for retargeting campaigns and custom intent. Through this, we can enrich our ad purchases with Google's data and learnings from our Google Search ads. We are a Google Premium Partner, which means we are recognised for maximising our client’s campaign success and driving client growth by maintaining their campaigns. 

High-impact formats 

High-impact formats are advertising formats designed to capture viewers’ attention and make a strong impression. These formats are typically larger in size and strategically placed on the top pages of a website. They often include large banner ads, interstitial ads (full-screen ads that appear before the content), and overlay ads (ads that appear on top of the content). These formats have a larger visual presence than standard banner ads, which increases the likelihood of catching the viewer's eye. The goal of using high-impact formats is to ensure that visitors notice, remember and engage with your brand.  

How to target your audience 

There are several methods for targeting your audience and ensuring that you don’t waste your advertising budget on people who will never buy your product or service. The below section will introduce the most-used methods to give you a broad understanding of how this advertisement space works – if you’re still in doubt after reading this, feel free to reach out to us via this form. 

Behavioural targeting

This targeting tactic is based on the user’s online behaviour that Google collects via cookies. This behaviour creates a profile of the person who’s using the device, e.g. If they read sports news, they are most likely interested in sports, and advertising a TV subscription with all the sports rights might be relevant. This information is stores using cookies and will be used to allow for behavioural targeting regardless of which page the user visits next – even if the topic of that page is something completely different, we know that this person is interested in a given topic.

Contextual targeting

With an increasingly higher focus on online privacy, cookies collect less information about the users’ online behaviour compared to a few years ago. This makes it harder for advertisers to target accurately using the behavioural targeting tactic. Contextual targeting allows for targeting topics and words across the internet and is effective as it doesn’t rely on cookies to identify the relevancy. Instead, a semantic analysis is made of each page to understand the topical context (e.g., this is a sports site, this page is about football, etc.). A contextual targeting tactic allows you as an advertiser to promote your products, services or brand in an environment that is relevant to the user and your brand based on the contextuality.

Targeting demography and geography

Here you look at different parameters such as age, gender, parental status and income and sort them, so your target audience meets your desired criteria. Demographical data can be divided into two types; expected and known demography. Expected demography: Because a user visits x pages, reads about x topics, at x time of the day, using x browser etc., we can expect them to have a certain age and gender Known demography: Based on the IP address, we know that they are in the UK, or because their browser has English language settings, we know they speak the language. Overall, you have a target audience. This is when you target people with certain interests, life events and remarketing lists. You find out who they are, how they behave and what they need in their life at this moment.


In the world of advertisement, we love acronyms and esoteric words, but can sometimes be confusing if you are new to this. The below glossary aims to cover the most-used abbreviations.

  • CPM – Cost per Mille: This is the unit that is used to describe the cost of 1,000 impressions 
  • CPC – Cost per Click: Used for describing the cost of each click on your ads. 
  • CPA – Cost per Acquisition: Describes the price you pay to acquire a new customer
  • CPL – Cost per Lead: Describes the price you pay to acquire a new lead 
  • Imps – Impressions: Describes the number of times your ad was shown 
  • CTR – Click-through Rate: Describes the rate of clicks per impression served 
  • CTA – Call to Action: This is the action the advertiser wants to do, and is usually shown as a button within the ad. Examples are; "read more”, “buy know”, “sign up” etc.  
  • COV%/CVR - Conversion Rate: Used interchangeably and describes the rate of which your ads have generated a conversion on your website. Can either be calculated as conversion rate per impression or conversion rate per click, so be careful to fully understand this if you receive a report from a team member or agency and this is used. 
  • RTB – Real Time Bidding: Describes the method of buying ad space online. This is done every time a website is loaded from the time the user hits enter in the browser to the site is loaded and decides which advertiser can show which ad to whom – and how much it costs. 
  • PMP – Private Marketplace: Similar to RTB but private – only certain programmatic platforms or advertisers can participate in these auctions as opposed to RTB which is publicly accessible. 


Speak to us about display & programmatic

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We aim to get back to you within a couple of working hours.

If you'd prefer to call +44 (0)20 8144 8142

Or we can chat via email [email protected]