What You Need to Know About Endemic and Programmatic Advertising

by Grant Cassiday
July 14, 2020

Endemic  vs Programmatic

Ad placement is driven by customer data, rather than the buyer

When it comes to planning the use of digital media to reach farmers, marketers have begun to view ad placement the way they view the farmer herself – multifaceted. Where we used to assume digital ads were best suited to appear on websites specific to the ag industry, the rise of Big Data and analytics now enable us to reach customers wherever they are.

For example, you might place digital ads for ag equipment on the site of an ag equipment publisher. This is endemic advertising. But you might also see that ad on a seemingly unrelated site, such as a weather website. That’s not by accident. This approach, called programmatic, can often be just as, or even more, successful.

In this blog, we break down the differences for you to help you see what goes in to how you use digital to reach your current and potential customers.

Endemic advertising has competition

Endemic advertising has evolved over time. Initially, it was the only way we targeted online audiences.  The assumption was that only people interested in a certain industry and its products, such as agriculture, would visit certain websites. So that’s where contextual advertising needed to appear. The introduction of Programmatic advertising changed all that.

Programmatic is all about the targeting; we find the right target regardless of where they are.  The assumption, though, is audience targets are engaged with content relevant to them even if it is not directly related to the brand. This is why an equipment ad might show up on a weather site.

Programmatic ad partners aren’t tied to specific websites, they can find the audience for almost any business vertical based on an algorithm that takes into account browsing histories. Using the example above, at some point, the algorithm found that person interested in ag equipment and weather.

There’s still unique value in endemic advertising

We wrote about the rise of programmatic advertising in 2017. when nearly three quarters of U.S. display advertising spend was directed through programmatic media, according to eMarketer, though a typical ag digital mix had much less. The latest eMarketer report, US Programmatic Digital Display Ad Spending, shows that number has risen to 83.5 percent.

As programmatic advertising has emerged as the most efficient way to target customers, endemic sites have transitioned to become the best places to align with relevant content. In this example, those that focus on agriculture are perhaps a place for brands to benefit from association with the media brand of the publisher that owns the website.

Endemic sites have also become a place where information from relevant brands is expected and even welcomed. Building a content experience for a brand in an endemic website – or a path to one – aligns with the audience expectation to find that type of content there.

The evolution of ag publishers

Programmatic ad buying allows us to use the full ad inventory of the web as used by our target audience, instead of being limited to the much smaller (and often much more expensive) pool of impressions available through endemic websites.

One very significant development in this dynamic for the agriculture industry has been the evolution of Ag publishers. Over the last 18 months or so, Ag publishers have created a hybrid, of sorts, between endemic and programmatic advertising. Ag publishers are creating new paths to their audience by partnering with programmatic providers to create site retargeting programs. This hybrid approach means an Ag website can use its own audience (traffic) as a targeting pool for programmatic ads outside of their site.  It combines a valuable layer of targeting (the Ag website’s audience) with the increased ad volume and efficiency of programmatic. Rhea + Kaiser has been using it quite a bit with good results.

If you’re trying to determine whether endemic, programmatic or this new hybrid is the best approach for your business model and products, always start with testing. Our Paid Media team is happy to work with clients on the best way to make this achieve measurable results.

Grant Cassiday
About the Author – Grant Cassiday

Executive Director, Paid Media. Grant has the ability to perfectly match the diverse needs of his accounts with appropriate media channels. Since joining R+K 12 years ago, Grant has been responsible for media plan development for Sandvik Mining and Construction, Caterpillar, Central Garden & Pet, DePaul University, and Aurora Health Care. Previously, he worked in-house at Allstate, and at Jordan, Tamraz , Caruso Advertising and Starcom MediaVest Group on clients including LaSalle Bank, Kraft Foods, McDonald’s, Kellogg’s, Lego and ComEd.

1 Comment

  1. Congrats to your post. You explained it very easy. Nice and Informative Article.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Since 1978, the ag-marketing experts at Rhea + Kaiser have been helping brands connect with the farmer customer.

Here at Marketing to Farmers, our panel of contributors regularly share their insights on latest marketing trends in the ag-marketing world, so be sure to check back often – you don’t want to miss a thing.

Related Articles


Stay current with the latest in ag marketing and get our point of view with the monthly Marketing to Farmers Newsletter. You’ll receive insights and advice on engaging your farmer target.