the marketing programatic landscape
Media agencies usually take the lead on planning programmatic strategy. They coordinate programmatic with other channels like search and offline media, and help analyze data.
Trading desks are programmatic specialist agencies that will execute the actual buy. They handle day-to-day decisions like what media properties to target and what tech to use.

Trading Desk

See Glossary Below

Brands that aim for lean, performance-driven campaigns can plan and run their own programmatic buys without an outside firm. This usually works best for small businesses, e-commerce retailers and businesses invested in internally run direct marketing programs.
In a hybrid model, a media agency plans and executes the campaign, but the brand selects the technology vendors used (often through contractual partnerships). The idea is to better see where ad dollars go while still leveraging the agency's expertise. However, it takes a bigger investment of time and expertise than letting the agency do the heavy lifting.
Demand-side platforms use algorithms to comb through exchanges for the best impressions to bid on. They take into account things such as viewers' browser history, their device, where they're seeing the ad, the seller's reputation and past performance of the ad placement.


See Glossary Below

Data management platforms help buyers amalgamate user data and connect it to impressions sold in the real-time marketplace. It tells the DSP how valuable a given impression is based on various factors about the viewer.


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The open market is made up of real-time ad exchanges that auction off individual impressions from thousands of sites and mobile apps to automated bidders. It tends to provide low-priced inventory, but there's also less oversight of sellers.


See Glossary Below

Programmatic direct places targeted ads across a more limited range of high-quality inventory in an environment where the seller is known and the ad placements are guaranteed to meet minimum quality standards (often considered "premium").
Ad servers are responsible for delivering ad creative to a viewer's screen. Because it is the actual point of contact between the advertiser and the user, it's important for reporting on how many ads are successfully delivered and confirming ads ran where and when they were supposed to.

Ad Server

See Glossary Below

A measurement provider independently reports on the size and makeup of the audience the campaign reached. They may measure the audience using publisher data, panels of viewers or a mix of both.


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Attribution ties campaign ads directly to desired outcomes like online sales, determining which channels, placements and creative formats were most effective. Advanced methods assign partial credit to all the ads the customer saw on their path to conversion.
Verification helps the buyer screen out potentially fraudulent impressions and monitor how often their ad actually showed up on a human's screen. They may also review the content around an ad placement and prevent the ad from loading if there's anything objectionable.


See Glossary Below

Canadian players



Serves advertisers Based in Toronto and New York, AcuityAds provides industry-standard features like consolidated reporting, fraud prevention and a classification system that scans an ad's context to ensure it lands in a brand-safe environment.

Addictive Mobility


Serves advertisers, specializes in mobile Toronto's Addictive works specifically with in-app mobile advertising. It's developed methods for retargeting mobile users across the apps they use and managing first-party mobile data, using it to target audiences on apps.



Serves advertisers and publishers Beyond its DSP and ad server, Montreal's AdGear builds custom white-label solutions for both buyers and sellers designed to meet their specific needs. It provides custom rich media ad serving for the tablet editions of both the Toronto Star and La Presse.



Serves advertisers and publishers Founded in late 2015 by the leadership of Atedra, AdStanding provides an exchange and supply management platform for publishers. It specializes in French and Spanish inventory across Canada, the U.S. and Central America.


Trading Desk

Serves advertisers, specializes in performance marketing A digital media consulting firm launched in 2015, it conducts all its media buying through Google's DoubleClick platform with the philosophy that strategy and experience drive a campaign's success more than a long list of tech providers. It promises 100% transparency into where client media dollars are spent.



Serves advertisers and publishers Atedra exclusively represents more than 250 Quebec publishers, collectively reaching 92% of the French-speaking Quebec population each month. It offers programmatic access to its inventory via a proprietary programmatic direct platform.

Canada's Premium Audience Exchange (CPAX)


Serves publishers CPAX is a private marketplace established by the CBC, Rogers and Shaw in 2011. It auctions remnant inventory on behalf of 15 of Canada's largest publishers (including Yellow Pages, Cineplex and Postmedia) to selected agencies and DSPs.

District M

Trading DeskDMP

Serves advertisers and publishers Montreal's District M provides a supply management platform for publishers and operates a trading desk for advertisers that uses a proprietary DMP and reporting platform along with licensed DSPs.

EQ Works


Serves advertisers EQ Works' cross-channel DSP offers quality control features that prevent fraud and low viewability, as well as point-of-interest-based geographic targeting in mobile. Founded in 1994 as Cyberplex, EQ is one of Toronto's longest-standing ad tech companies.


Publisher OwnedDSPDMPAd Server

Serves advertisers, owned by Torstar With a focus on high-touch customer service and transparency, the Toronto DSP has built a reputation for battling fraud and supporting the industry beyond its own immediate interests. Its third-party ad server is used by many mid-size Canadian media agencies and other DSPs.

Index Exchange


Serves publishers Formerly Casale Media, Index was founded by the Casale family in 2001. It's now one of the world's top exchanges and has earned a reputation for its vigilance against fraud. Index also powers CPAX and other PMPs operated by top publishers like CBC.

Juice Mobile


Serves advertisers and publishers, specializes in mobile
Juice offers a mobile DSP and a specialized programmatic direct platform that helps buyers discover mobile inventory and negotiate bulk buys with publishers. With Nectar, buyers invite publishers to a reverse-auction where they compete to offer the best rates and volumes.

Magnet Intell

Agency OwnedTrading DeskDMP

Serves advertisers, owned by Vision7 International Founded in 2011, Magnet Intell combines licensed tech with a deep understanding of the Canadian landscape. Vision7's proprietary D_Mart DMP underpins its in-house data science and platform engineering capabilities.


Trading Desk

Serves advertisers MediaNet began in 2003 as Casale Media's real-time ad network and was spun out as an independent, platform-agnostic trading desk in 2015. It's one of Canada's longest-standing programmatic players with more than 80% of client relationships dating back more than five years.


Publisher OwnedTrading Desk

Serves advertisers and publishers, owned by Yellow Pages Group Mediative's strength lies in its exclusive access to user data from Yellow Pages' apps. That data gives it a lot of power to target consumers interested in specific brands and categories. It uses licensed tech for programmatic campaigns and to help publishers package their own audiences for clients.



Serves advertisers, specializes in video Although most online video providers lean towards TV-style brand advertising, SourceKnowledge believes video can be just as effective for driving conversions. It offers a specialized version of its video DSP for cost-per-acquisition campaigns.



Serves advertisers, specializes in native StackAdapt specializes in native (or in-stream) programmatic ads, meaning that when it buys an impression, it analyzes the surrounding publisher content and creates an ad that matches the look and feel. It offers a platform that buyers can use to both bid on and dynamically create ads.

Wave Digital Media

Trading Desk

Serves advertisers, specializes in performance marketing Wave offers transparent media buying, strategic expertise and access to programmatic technology. It licenses its tech from several vendors and is the only authorized Canadian operator of MDC Partners' proprietary DSP/DMP, The Lens


Agency OwnedTrading Desk

Serves advertisers, owned by Media Experts Media Experts' trading desk uses DoubleClick, TubeMogul and Turn to connect to 50+ RTB ad exchanges. It strives for a holistic portrait of each Canadian user, tying together keywords they've searched for, content they've consumed and social interactions they've made.



Agency OwnedTrading DeskDMP

Serves advertisers, owned by Omnicom Omnicom's central trading desk Accuen brings a mix of proprietary and licensed technology to its media agency clients. Central to Accuen's offering is Omnicom's Annalect data management platform, which helps clients identify and target their audience across the web.



Serves advertisers and publishers Adobe offers programmatic buying within Marketing Cloud. Programmatic is tied together with other marketing channels like social, email and mobile app design through shared creative assets and Adobe's DMP, Audience Manager.


Agency OwnedTrading DeskdspDMP

Serves advertisers, owned by Havas Havas's Meta-DSP coordinates trading between each of the licensed DSPs its traders use, while its Artemis DMP analyzes the data they generate. Affiperf says this setup gives it the flexibility to work with tech that fits each client.


Agency OwnedTrading Desk

Serves advertisers, owned by Dentsu Aegis Network Amnet's motto is "technology alone can't solve the problem," asserting that smart strategy and talented experts help make campaigns work. Founded in 2012 in the U.K., it now operates globally following Aegis' merger with Dentsu.


Publisher OwneddspDMP

Serves advertisers and publishers AOL has embarked on a project called the One platform is a single piece of tech that automates every part of the programmatic process. When complete, One will bring together AOL's many acquisitions such as and Adtech.



Serves advertisers and publishers AppNexus has a large catalog of tech components that power both programmatic buyers and publishers. Its extensive set of APIs make it easy for users to connect the pipes between its tech and other vendors'.


Agency OwnedTrading Desk

Serves advertisers, owned by Interpublic Group Cadreon licenses technology from top tech providers and uses it to run programmatic campaigns for IPG Mediabrands' clients. It works to ensure its team is highly experienced and thoroughly understands the accounts they work on, and as a result boasts a client retention rate of 98% in Canada.

The Exchange Lab


Serves advertisers The Exchange Lab's mega-DSP called Proteus coordinates simultaneous campaigns across 10 top DSPs. The idea is to get a holistic view of the marketplace and optimize media dollars based on the strengths of each platform.


Publisher OwneddspExchangeAdserver

Serves advertisers and publishers Using data gleaned from signed-in users, Facebook targets audiences on desktop and mobile with unparalleled accuracy. Its programmatic products Atlas and LiveRail extend this capability beyond its site to the rest of the web.


Publisher OwneddspDMP

Serves advertisers and publishers Still the dominant ad tech vendor globally, Google's DoubleClick suite includes the largest exchange on the market, plus one of the most-used DSPs and a near-ubiquitous ad server. One drawback: Google's tech is designed to work best with other Google tech, and doesn't always play well with outside vendors.



Serves advertisers MediaMath's algorithmic product, Brain, balances "left brain" assessments of how much each impression will contribute to the client's goals against "right brain" predictions of how much the impression will actually sell for based on demand, and only bids on impressions it deems valuable and cost-effective.

Rocket Fuel


Serves advertisers and publishers Rocket Fuel believes that media buyers should step back and let machines do most of the heavy lifting. Its self-optimizing algorithms automate most tactical decisions, leaving time for human traders to focus on high-level planning.

The Rubicon Project


Serves advertisers and publishers The Rubicon Project began as an exchange platform serving publishers, but has expanded into buyer tech with a big focus on programmatic direct. In 2015, it purchased Chango, a market-leading Canadian DSP, giving it a much bigger footprint north of the border.

The Trade Desk


Serves advertisers If programmatic were a bicycle shop, The Trade Desk would be a high-speed performance racer. Tailored to sophisticated power users who work for agencies and trading desks, it's heavy on features and light on hand-holding.



Serves advertisers, specializes in video TubeMogul handles all things video, including mobile and the nascent programmatic TV field. Built specifically for brand advertising, it has pioneered the hybrid trading model with brands like Mondelez and Corby Spirit and Wine.



Serves advertisers Turn offers a well-rounded digital hub comprised of a DSP, DMP and campaign analytics platform. With this setup, it can move data back and forth to ensure the DSP is working with up-to-the-second data and reporting back to the DMP on customer interactions just as quickly.



Serves advertisers, specializes in video Videology's goal is to provide a unified approach to video advertising, whether online or on TV and whether bought up-front or in real-time. It coordinates cross-channel campaigns using data aggregated from 40 different providers.


Agency OwneddspDMP

Serves advertisers, owned by Publicis When Publicis dissolved its central trading desk, VivaKi was converted to a technology acquisition division that supplies platforms and training to Publicis' agencies. In addition to licensing from vendors, VivaKi has built its own DSP called Audience on Demand.


Agency OwnedTrading DeskDMP

Serves advertisers, owned by WPP Xaxis has built or acquired a stack of proprietary tech, including a DMP called Turbine, that's used to support GroupM's media agencies globally. Its heritage traces back to 24/7 Real Media, one of the earliest real-time ad networks, which WPP acquired in 2007.


Publisher OwneddspExchange

Serves advertisers and publishers Yahoo's Gemini marketplace offers a unique blend of mobile search and native advertising, as well as access to thousands of apps via mobile ad network Flurry. Yahoo also owns Brightroll, which offers an exchange platform and DSP that specialize in online video.




ComScore offers digital and cross-device measurement for reach and viewability, as well as tools for filtering out fraudulent and invalid impressions during real-time bidding. Its measurement is based on a mix of passive panel measurement and publisher-supplied data. In 2014 it acquired MdotLabs, a security firm specializing in programmatic ad fraud.



DoubleVerify helps advertisers filter out non-human and non-viewable ad impressions from programmatic buys. It also helps understand and avoid contexts that are inappropriate or unsafe for the brand via 350 contextual targeting options and 26 brand safety avoidance categories. It's available natively via DSPs Turn, MediaMath, The Trade Desk and Google DoubleClick.

Integral Ad Science


Integral Ad Science measures impression quality with its True Advertising Quality (TRAQ) score, which incorporates whether the ad is viewable, verified human, brand safe and delivered in a professional environment that isn't suffocated by ads. It is likely the most widely integrated verification provider, working with dozens of programmatic platforms and trading desks.



Launched in 2010 as a display ad search engine, Moat rapidly evolved into one of the top ad analytics providers around. It offers more than 100 ad performance metrics including granular in-view rates, traffic quality, interaction rate and attention quality. Any of its metrics can be used to create audience segments for follow-on optimization and targeting.



Nielsen has long been the standard for panel-based measurement in television, and provides comparable measurement for digital and cross-device ad campaigns. It supplies invalid traffic filtering through a partnership with Integral Ad Science, and operates a standalone DMP called Exelate (which it acquired in 2015) that is connected to 400 third-party data sources.

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