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What the Programmatic Experts are Saying: The Myths & The Realities

By Nick Price

Not long after making their debut, programmatic advertising platforms quickly became the ad serving technology of record for marketers across channels and industry verticals. The automation of media buying enabled better targeting at scale for the first time ever, and programmatic has since evolved to meet the various needs of modern advertisers and publishers in both existing and emerging channels.
So what does programmatic look like now and what does it hold for the future? Experts from across the industry and trade media are weighing in.
On the Growth of Programmatic:
Programmatic buying is on track to make up $14.88 billion of the approximately $58.6 billion digital advertising spend in 2015, a jump of nearly $5 billion from 2014, when it accounted for $9.9 billion.


“90 percent of all advertising will flow programmatically within a decade. Over the last several years, we’ve all witnessed a meteoric rise of programmatic mobile and video. TV will follow suit within the next few years. The millions of smart TV units flying off store shelves, and the increase in digital content consumption, will accelerate the shift towards programmatic. In fact, I predict that within the next decade, 90 percent of all advertising dollars will flow through a programmatic channel that’s paperless and tag-free.”

Craig Teich, SVP of sales and business development, Connexity Inc.

On the Importance of Data:
 “Ad buyers can use programmatic buying to fan ads across the web and then, mid-campaign, evaluate what’s working best — which geographies, times of day, audience segments, publishers — to narrow their target accordingly, so they’re paying only for highly effective ads. This is a radical change from traditional ad buying, where a buyer agrees to run a certain number of ads with a publisher and is locked in to the contract.”

Alex Kantrowitz, ad and mar-tech reporter, AdAge

“Marketers are quickly realizing that not all data is created equal. First-party data, for instance, is far more valuable than third-party data, because you inherently know a lot more about it: how it was created, why it was classified in a particular way, and its recency.”

Craig Teich, SVP of sales and business development, Connexity Inc.

On Common Myths and Misperceptions:
“[That programmatic is a] race to the bottom. The ignorant statement that people often refer to in market. Programmatic is about valuing each and every single impression at what the market is willing to pay at a particular time and not based on how a publisher decides to value their inventory.”

Doireann Ó Brádaigh, commercial director – AU/NZ, The Trade Desk,

“That programmatic technology will replace human beings. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Technology will never replace creativity, intuition, great ideas or the need for strong relationships between brands and consumers and buyers and sellers.”

Patrick Darcy, commercial director Asia Pacific, RadiumOne

“The biggest myth around the programmatic advertising market is that it’s not transparent. Our whole business, and media buying platform, is built around transparency. We provide our brand advertisers with more than sixty metrics at a site-level for each video ad impression delivered.
We believe that digital media is now more accountable than any other media, and the deployment of advanced software platforms is delivering advertisers a granular view of where and how their advertising is performing.

Sam Smith, Australia/New Zealand managing director, TubeMogul

On Common Pitfalls:
 “Don’t treat programmatic as simply a way to reduce cost.
Programmatic is a strategy… If you give programmatic one job to do you’ll never utilize it to its full potential. Cost reduction is a benefit of executing a well-crafted programmatic strategy. Don’t lump it into the tactic category from the beginning.”

Gary Milner, director of global digital marketing, Lenovo

“Fraud is still a problem. The programmatic ecosystem is especially susceptible to a fraudulent practice called “URL masking,” where a publisher lists its website in the ad exchanges as another, usually more reputable, website entirely. The buyer has no idea where the ads are actually running.”

Alex Kantrowitz, ad and mar-tech reporter, AdAge

“Don’t think programmatic is right for every client. Some brands are seeing the greatest lift in customizable campaigns in the native and content arenas. Others need targeted, automated display and social campaigns to spread awareness. Offer programmatic solutions depending on what life stage your client is currently in.”

Gary Milner, director of global digital marketing, Lenovo

On the Future of Programmatic:
 [re: the gradual shift toward in-house programmatic] Marketers’ internal programmatic ad buying is the fastest-growing category of programmatic spending. At the end of 2013, 11 percent of the ads bought through Index were from brands’ in-house teams. At the end of 2014, the number had grown to 15 percent.

Index Exchange

“Increased specialization will become the norm…companies will specialize in either a specific format (such as video, TV or mobile geo-targeting) or an industry focus (such as travel or retail). Similar to how ad networks trended towards specialization over the past few years, these hyper-focused companies will innovate faster by concentrating on becoming a “best of breed” in their space. Programmatic will empower these companies to apply their expertise at a new scale and efficiency.”

Craig Teich, SVP of sales and business development, Connexity Inc.

Image via Cheryl Oakes

Nick Price

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