Programmatic advertising is the automated buying, selling, placement, and optimization of digital ad space.

When a user visits a website, a request is sent to an ad exchange with information that is then matched against available advertisers in a real-time auction. The winning bid gets to display its ad on the webpage.

This all used to happen manually, but real-time bidding allows for improved and faster targeting. It’s significantly more efficient – only visitors who are in your target audience will see your ad.

While programmatic has been around for a while, the technology is still in the early adopter phase, however its adoption has been growing exceptionally in the U.S. lately. Media buyers everywhere are ramping up programmatic investments and devoting higher shares of their digital ad budgets towards programmatic purchases. By 2023, we’ll likely see U.S. programmatic ad spend surpass 200 billion dollars.

A lot sits in the future of programmatic. Two trends that are looking big right now focus on accessibility. Self-service platforms are making it easier for smaller brands to compete with brands with bigger budgets, and with the rise of self-service platforms, brands can take their ad buying in-house, as opposed to relying on agencies or middlemen.

Check out 4 reasons you should adopt programmatic advertising.