Are Google Ads Programmatic?

Google Adwords was introduced in the market in 2009. At the start, advertisers were given the ability to target ads based on keywords, and settlements were based on a CPM basis. Marketers got reports such as CTR and number of impressions.
Google AdWords remained the leader of the industry until programmatic advertising was introduced. Since it was using real-time bidding, many marketers embraced it, and it has been the case since then. 
Google AdWords and programmatic advertising have some common points, but there are a few differences too.
Let’s see how each of the systems operates in all fields.


Google ads offers access to all the pages that are in their system, which is quite large. On the other hand, programmatic advertising doesn’t limit itself to a single platform. 
It offers access to Google’s advertising combined with other ad exchanges such as AdForm, AppNexus, Rubicon project as well as Amazon.
This makes programmatic advertising inventory bigger compared to that of Google.
Additionally, some publishers allow very exclusive ad spaces such as the home page. But this is if they’re contacted directly by the buyer or via purchased models available in programmatic models.


Both Google ads and programmatic advertising offer targeting. They do so through options such as.

  • Context targeting through subject or keywords related to advertising, where ads are displayed to websites with the related information
  • The ads are displayed based on the interests of an audience that is actively looking for similar products or services.
  • Demographic targeting means ads are delivered based on the area code, age, gender, etc.

With that said, Google provides data that it collects on its platform, which is quality. Yet, programmatic advertising goes an extra step of allowing data from third parties. This is data collected by the Data management platforms (DMPs). This exposures marketers to more customized information, such as when a client might finish a product, and when they may need a refill, which enhances their advertising strategies.

Advertising Formats

This includes video ads, text ads, html5 ads, video ads, and app ads. These are the formats available in Google Ads. Although rich media formats are also available, a good number of web owners associated with AdSense don’t support this technology, which limits the available inventory.
In programmatic advertising, all formats such as rich media, screening, and native advertising are available. It’s important to note that these extra formats are available in advanced programmatic models.


Google ads give statistics regarding the running campaigns. This takes between a few hours and a day. However, since programmatic advertising employs the real-time-bidding concept, results are available within a few minutes. This helps in the effective optimization of the campaigns.  

Settlements Models

In this sector, Google is more flexible compared to programmatic advertising. Here are their available options.

  • Cost per Mile (CPM). A fixed fee per every 1000 views of an ad.
  • Cost per click (CPC). A fixed fee for every time a user clicks an ad.
  • Cost per action (CPA). A fixed-rate of every time the user takes action. It can be after a subscription or a purchase.

In programmatic advertising, payment is only made in CPM (views/expenses x 1000). This makes sense because all impressions are bid separately, meaning each view can have a different fee.
However, although the purchase takes place in CPM, the platforms where you buy the ad, allows you to optimize the expenses subject to the indicators. For instance, you can minimize the CPA or CPC rate. 
Cost and Entry Threshold
Programmatic advertising allows you to display ads on multiple pages, and in some exceptional cases, the publisher’s home page. However, these privileges come with a set of monthly expenses that small businesses may not be able to attain. Note that not all niches have this requirement.
Google allows advertisers to buy ad spaces for any amount. And expenses can be scaled proportionally to the advertiser’s needs. 
Final Thoughts 
Google ads and programmatic advertising have their similarities and differences. The major variances being the size of the inventory and methods of payments.
Both are effective based on the needs of the advertisers and their budgets. If this is still unclear to you, feel free to visit our blog for more insights.
Related: What is DBM called now and what is DBM Double Click?


Alvin is the Founder and CEO of He is a go-getter, and adventurous guy who believes in working smart to gain success in his business ventures and in life. He also founded and