Within programmatic advertising, display ads are bid for in real-time. Understanding the bidding process will generate higher Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). In order to better understand the terminology used within this space, please read our Display Ads Glossary.


Fall is right around the corner and Sally needs new professional clothes for work. She begins to shop online and places a blazer in her shopping cart. Suddenly, Sally becomes distracted by her dog, who is barking to go outside. While outside, Sally notices that the sky is getting dark. Sally returns to her laptop and decides to go check the weather. When she lands on the webpage, Sally sees a leaderboard ad displayed at the top of the page. 

Sally is instantly reminded as the webpage is loading that she wanted to buy that blazer.


Let's take a look at the diagram below to better understand this process.

  • Merchant: the process begins with a merchant, which are Listrak's client. Merchants are the advertisers.

Once a merchant decides that they want to advertise, the information is then passed on to a demand side platform. All of the collected information gathers into the marketplace.

  • Marketplace: An online environment where merchants are able to bid and buy ad inventory (like eBay) that's offered by a publisher, such as weather.com.

The ad inventory is won by the highest bidder in less than one-tenth of a second. The supply side platform organizes and monetizing the ad inventory. Finally, the ad is sold to the publisher.

  • Publisher: The publisher who has the ad inventory, as seen in our example above. Examples include: weather.com, nytimes.com, and yahoo.com.

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