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What Changes When Programmatic Goes Mainstream?

In our latest piece from the IAB’s Display Trading Council, council members provide their views on programmatic as a dominant trading mechanism.

The last few days have been like research Christmas at the IAB with our flagship Ad spend report showing continued double-digit growth in digital and, for the first time, PwC have undertaken the annual MOST research – tracking the scale of programmatic use in the UK – alongside ad spend. The key stat is that, in 2015, 60% of display was being traded programmatically, up from 47% in 2014, confirming that last year was the tipping point. We asked members of the IAB’s Display Trading Council to answer the question – what changes when programmatic goes mainstream?

“It’s incredibly exciting to see more advertisers embracing the efficiency and effectiveness that programmatic offers. As an industry, we have put a lot of focus on how the technology works. Now, we need to start focussing on what we can do to make the advertising better. This is more about creative and planning rather than just ROI. I am excited to hear the conversation at Cannes this year, what were murmurs last year should be conversations this year as the creative industry begins to understand the value that data and technology can bring to advertising.”

Amit Kotecha, Head of Marketing, EMEA, Quantcast

“We’ll see a landscape where programmatic players collaborate so that publishers maximise ad yield, advertisers generate improved ROI, and consumers enjoy access to content whilst experiencing personalised and relevant brand interactions. A win-win-win. For this to happen, the industry can only consolidate — it can no longer afford fragmentation. As a result, new digital trading standards are being defined by programmatic direct, but it will still take a wholly united effort to truly shed the industry of its shady practices (ad fraud, blackboxing, artificial floor pricing), thus bringing programmatic to its mainstream stride.”

Erika Soliven, Marketing Manager UK, Sociomantic

“The challenges still remain in bringing other areas of the advertising industry into programmatic – like linear TV (outside of the US/Australia) – and the metrics the industry uses to measure effectiveness. Inefficient, laborious, traditional buying methods with poor data and outdated metrics like click-through rates can be a thing of the past and replaced by campaigns that are underpinned by great data and attribution, enabling dynamic creative.”

Shady Twal, Senior Director, Demand Platforms EMEA, AOL International

“The obvious point is that the people underpinning our industry will change. This goes beyond a need for traders rather than planners – it’s data scientists and engineers who have the ability to make sense of a proliferation of data and to apply this in real-time on a campaign. As programmatic becomes mainstream, talent of this nature will be even more scarce than it is today. The only players capable of delivering results for advertisers will be those with intelligence on the value of everything – people, places and moments – across all channels.”

Paul Silver, COO, Media iQ

“The fact that in an auction, by definition, the winning bid was the highest price and every impression is bought at a different price requires a sea change in the way media procurement teams approach digital media evaluations. Evaluating an agency’s performance needs to be an ongoing conversation not just an annual review. In a world of real-time optimisations so too must be the agency evaluation. It is very hard to understand the strategies and optimisations in an annual aggregation of data.”

Mary Healy, Digital Lead Global Clients, Accenture

“We have recently seen the decentralisation of some agency trading desk models as agency holding groups have acknowledged the importance of this delivery mechanism and the pending ‘normalisation’ of this buying and selling model. Accountability will be the biggest output of mainstream programmatic adoption, by this I mean technology empowering buyers to truly identify ‘premium’ inventory based upon tangible ROI at the impression level.”

Paul Gubbins, Country Manager UK, PubMatic

“I think there will be a bias towards performance advertising and RTB. Other forms of programmatic advertising will only grow when the misconceptions that this is only a method for direct-response campaigns is truly lifted, only then will we see further brand advertising enter the mix. This is directly linked to technology advances that cohesively marry creativity, data, scalable premium inventory, TV convergence, and flexible trading models including guaranteed/direct.”

Andreas Dooley, Commercial Director UK & IE, Adform UK

“Market reaction to the rise of ad blockers and the relatively unregulated marketplace of programmatic is fuelling proactive responses from publishers and tech providers alike to improve inventory and data quality across the board. We can expect the creative scope of programmatic to expand as the industry benefits from more interactive formats, increased accountability, transparency, and regulation to deliver better targeting, engagement and overall value for advertisers.”

Sam Wade, VP Commercial Partnerships, Amobee

“As programmatic media buying continues to scale, and consumers continue to spend more time on mobile, the premise of delivering the right message, to the right person on the right device becomes critical in proving advertiser value. The key to successful cross-device advertising will be through the use of a scaled, persistent ID in order to track and measure across all media channels and devices, including online to offline, in order to maximise business impact.”

Andy Mihalop, Group Head UK, Facebook Atlas

As an industry, we’re in a very different situation than we were as little as two years ago, with the advantages of programmatic being demonstrated daily and a cognisant appreciation of the limitations and flaws still to tackle. Undaunted though, there is a strong appetite to expand what are now proven techniques into other media until everything that can be automated will be.

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