According to a recent survey from AOL Platforms, a whopping 87% of brand and agency respondents plan to increase programmatic spending by at least 50% over the next six months. The unsurprisingly bullish survey included executives at 25 advertisers, 96 agencies and 56 publishers, and centered on programmatic buying of display, mobile and video.

It may, however, come as a surprise to some that display will be a crucial driver of this predicted programmatic growth. “I hear people talk about display being less important, and that is a myth that this survey debunks,” AOL Platforms CMO Allie Kline told AdExchanger. “Display is not only where the majority of money is spent, but also where the majority of increase will come from.”

Kline added that programmatic access to reserved inventory and premium formats accounts for the increased investment in display.


Transparency, Well-Defined Units, and Reserved Media

Automated guaranteed’s entry into the programmatic landscape is a key factor in that shift. For the first time, technology is enabling the automation of reserved inventory – by far the largest market segment of display advertising.

Previous challenges to programmatic expansion are familiar to most of us. In describing the same survey, Adweek noted that “[f]or agency and brand senior executives, the top three programmatic ad spending challenges are the quality of the inventory in these programs, transparency of the process and the technology used to…place the ads.”

That’s why automation of reserved media is such an important force here— transparency and quality are no longer issues. By enabling programmatic access to well-defined, high-quality ad units, publishers give buyers an opportunity to choose exactly what they’d like to buy, erasing any quality or transparency concerns.

Why now? Both buyers and sellers are motivated by economics – 76% of agencies and brands identified economic efficiency as a key benefit of programmatic buying, while publishers appear to be focused on ways to improve CPMs and strengthen their bottom lines.

The Sell-Side

The survey also explored publishers’ plans, need, fears, and confusion.

From AdExchanger:

“Publishers said their No. 2 challenge in the digital marketing ecosystem was education. Only half were confident in their understanding of programmatic.”

It’s not surprising that publishers lack confidence in their understanding of the options out there. The marketplace is crowded, with each vendor coming up with a different marketplace term—often for the same capabilities! One of the best resources is the IAB, a non-biased industry source whose mission isn’t to sell, but rather to educate. And for both publishers and advertisers, education is the first step.




San Francisco (July 1, 2014)  iSocket, the leader in automation for guaranteed media buying and selling, today announced that former AppNexus executive Karl Bunch has joined the company as CTO. He will be responsible for overseeing the company’s product vision.

Mr. Bunch comes to iSocket from AppNexus (New York) where he served as VP of Product Management since January operating the business globally across numerous different regional markets. Before that, Mr. Bunch was President of The Rubidium Group, LLC a business consulting services company for almost 14 years. Earlier in his career he was Chief Solutions Officer at CPX Interactive, and SVP of Strategic Technology at Warner Music Group.

“We couldn’t be happier to have Karl join the iSocket team,” says Richard Jalichandra, CEO, iSocket. “iSocket’s mission is to build the best media automation in the business, and we do that by investing heavily in our products. Karl’s tech background, his start-up experience, and his product vision make him the perfect addition to our team.”

“As digital matures, automating the transactions that drive real value for both the buyer and the seller will be crucial,” says Mr. Bunch. “There’s this misconception that mastering automation will be simple, but in reality it’s a major challenge. iSocket has a significant head start here. I would compare them to SalesForce in its early days. I’m excited to help iSocket continue to lead the market and push the entire industry forward.”

Earlier this year, iSocket announced $5 million in new funding led by Time Warner Investments, with participation by Condé Nast. iSocket also recently announced partnerships with MediaMath and Kantar Media’s


iSocket ( is a technology platform purpose-built to simplify the buying and selling of fixed price, premium, reserved inventory. iSocket For Publishers (iFP) sales automation and programmatic direct tools allow top publisher sales teams to focus on relationships and strategy, while iSocket For Advertisers (iFA) makes it easier for agencies, brands, and buying and planning platforms to execute orders of well-defined, guaranteed inventory directly with top publishers. Through automation, iSocket is able to eliminate many of the errors and overhead costs that plague the manual media sales process.


eMarketer recently released a new report on the state of automation in guaranteed, direct media-buying: “Programmatic Guaranteed: Meaningful Momentum, Despite Murky Industry Definitions.”

Here’s a snippet from the report:

Known as “programmatic guaranteed” or “programmatic reserved” for the ability to secure upfront commitments to both price and amount of inventory, this branch of programmatic direct is gaining significant traction among publishers and media buyers looking to automate the often lengthy insertion order (IO) process and bring greater audience insight to their premium ad buys.

Why Are Publishers, Media Buyers Excited About “Programmatic Guaranteed”?

The traditional IO process is woefully outdated. In many instances, a single deal can take upwards of 40 steps to complete, and for many publishers, literally dozens of employees often touch a single IO. The process is extraordinarily costly for publishers, eating into profit margins and burdening sales and ad ops team.

The process isn’t easy for the buy-side either. eMarketer reports survey results indicating that, “[f]or media buyers engaging with dozens of publishers and platforms, the power to automate the IO process is important.”

It’s no wonder given the length and complexity of the process that both sides are looking for tools that can take a 40 step process down to about 10.

Industry Definitions Are Getting Closer

Those industry definitions, though admittedly murky as eMarketer suggests, are beginning to coalesce into solid standards. With ad tech terminology so often in flux, it’s hard to get a handle on what to call what, but this industry segment is typically termed automated guaranteed these days, per the current IAB standard.

Automated Guaranteed


iSocket at Digiday

by Caroline Watts

iSocket recently joined Digiday at both the Brand Summit in April and the Programmatic Summit in June. Here’s our CEO, Richard Jalichandra, talking with Digiday editor Brian Morrissey about the future of automated guaranteed: Digiday Dialog with iSocket from Digiday on Vimeo. And here’s our VP of Product, Casey Saran, at the Programmatic Summit in […]

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iSocket Announces New Partnerships with Kantar Media and MediaMath

by Caroline Watts

Two new ways to buy premium, reserved inventory using iSocket’s automated guaranteed technology stack April 16, 2014. San Francisco, CA. iSocket, the leading provider of automated guaranteed advertising, today announced two new channel partners: Kantar Media and MediaMath. Both integrations will introduce a new way for buyers to discover reserved inventory from iSocket’s publisher partners. […]

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iSocket Launches iFA (iSocket For Advertisers)

by Caroline Watts

Removes Time, Cost and Pain for Buyers and Sellers of Guaranteed Inventory San Francisco (March 3, 2014) iSocket, the leader in programmatic direct and sales automation, today announced that it has launched iFA (iSocket For Advertisers), an automated way to buy premium, guaranteed inventory that saves both buyers and sellers time and expense while dramatically […]

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iSocket Raises $5 Million in Funding From Time Warner and Conde Nast

by Caroline Watts

iSocket Also Launches iSocket For Advertisers Media Buying Tool for Fixed Price, Reserved Inventory; and Hires Microsoft Ad Platform Executive Kevin McCabe iSocket, the leader in programmatic direct and sales automation, today announced $5 million in new funding led by Time Warner Investments, with participation by Conde Nast; R&R Venture Partners, a new fund created by Dick Parsons, former chairman and […]

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Programmatic Advertising in 2014

by Caroline Watts

In the ad tech trades, the dust has largely settled on the 2013 recaps and the 2014 predictions. Unsurprisingly, trends in programmatic advertising have been a key element of both last year’s overviews and this year’s forecasts. Looking back at 2013, programmatic deserves the attention it received, as it did make huge inroads. Programmatic buying […]

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The Growing Threat of Botnet Fraud and Why Premium Publishers Should Take Notice

by Caroline Watts

Botnet fraud has become the topic of the hour in the digital media world. Beginning in March, coverage of exploded in Digiday, AdExchanger, AdWeek (and even here on our own blog), and additional insights and revelations continue to pour in. Much of the discourse has (unsurprisingly) come from the advertiser perspective, with the notable exception […]

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Is the End of Third-Party Cookies Closer Than We Thought?

by Caroline Watts

Depending on who you ask, we’ve either reached the end of the era of the cookie, or the cookie is as integral to advertising as ever. There’s conflicting evidence for both sides: cookies are becoming less reliable. At the same time, cookies are still driving the RTB ecosystem, and impressions with matched cookies carry an […]

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