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20 November

An ad impression is a measure of the frequency with which an ad is seen. It is sometimes referred to as an “ad view.” Every time an ad is displayed on a webpage, it counts as one impression. The number of impressions an ad receives depends on the number of times a page is located and loaded.

200 milliseconds is the life span of a programmatic ad impression.

Here is how it works:

  • Kathy Consumer clicks on a URL, and the content of the publisher begins to load in the browser.
  • The publisher may find information about Kathy Consumer stored in its data management platform (DMP).
  • The publisher sends available information to its ad server, asking if an ad campaign is available that would target Kathy Consumer.
  • If there is a campaign that matches Kathy Consumer’s profile, an ad is served.
  • If there is not a campaign that targets Kathy Consumer, the server seeks to match the impression, programmatically requesting a response from selected traders, ad networks and supply side platforms (SSPs).
  • If the impression is not cleared, the server may seek to clear the impression in a direct, programmatic way, via private exchanges.
  • If the impression is again not cleared, the request is sent to an open ad exchange, in hopes of achieving liquidity.
  • Open ad exchange sends a bid request containing information on Kathy Consumer’s browser, website URL and ad type to multiple bidders, including traders, ad networks and demand side platforms.
  • Each bidder processes the bid request, overlays it with additional user data and marketer’s targeting and budget rules.
  • Each bidder’s algorithm evaluates the request, selects the creative, and sends it, along with the optimal bid price to the ad exchange.
  • Ad exchange selects winning bid from bidders’ responses through second price auction. Ad exchange also sends winning ad URL and price from winning bid to publisher’s ad server.
  • Publisher’s ad server tells Kathy Consumer’s browser which ad to display.
  • Kathy Consumer’s browser pulls the ad from the winning bidder’s ad server and sends matching ad to browser.
  • The browser displays the webpage, including the matching ad.
  • Winning bidder’s ad server receives ad tag data on Kathy Consumer’s initial interaction experience.

And that is 200 milliseconds, the life of a programmatic impression. It doesn’t take long, but there is so much accomplished, both for the consumer as well as the marketer.

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