Ad Tech in 2015: Programmatic Hits its Stride
Advertising technology has changed a lot in a few short years. The complexity of digital landscape has prompted demand for more streamlined and automated solutions, and 2014 is the year that the programmatic buying and selling of ads has truly taken hold.
Here's how I see programmatic technologies impacting publishers in the months ahead:
- Follow the money — Publishers would be wise to follow the money, because their brand and agency customers are already onboard.
Case in point, during this fall's Advertising Week, MAGNA GLOBAL released a study on programmatic spending with estimates that media inventory transacted programmatically will reach $21 billion globally this year (up 52 percent, compared to 2013) and $53 billion by 2018. An October report from eMarketer estimates that automated ads will account for nearly 50 percent of the U.S. digital display market in 2014. And earlier this year, AOL Platform's survey of more than 175 brand, agency and publisher clients showed that 87 percent of participants would increase programmatic spend on display and video up to 50 percent in the next year.
- Data-driven Selling — Much of the talk around programmatic technology has been focused on automation and efficiencies. And while streamlined buying and selling processes (sans manual insertion orders) can certainly be valuable from a cost savings standpoint, programmatically-charged data and transparency will also begin to empower publishers to boost ROI. None of this is possible without a sales organization that can speak to marketers through a programmatic lens. For example, by leveraging sophisticated targeting, frequency capping, brand safety and other data-driven tools (traditionally thought of as "buy side" technology) to more precisely identify and segment key audiences, publishers will be able to entice a greater number of premium brands to spend through programmatic channels.
Programmatic data optimization capabilities can especially help mid- to long-tail publishers capture more premium buyers-they can compete on the quality of the audience delivered rather than on name recognition alone. Smart publishers will also employ techniques like audience extension, retargeting and more to augment their offerings.
- Bringing it all together — At the end of the day, the publishers who can best plan, execute, analyze and report-across audiences, screens, ad formats, time of day and content types-will see the greatest return.
Today's tech-savvy consumers interact with content on a variety of channels and devices and publishers that don't cater to, and capitalize on, changing media consumption habits will be left behind. Programmatic platforms will help publishers deliver the specific audiences that buyers want, and help them provide users with the most compelling and engaging experience.
Programmatic technologies are evolving fast and smart publishers are joining their brand and agency clients in embracing new innovations in the buying and selling process. Moving forward, programmatic will continue to transition from being used as an "efficiency/savings" assist on the sell side to a dominant means of driving more effectiveness, better outcomes and greater ROI.