When the marketing community is not talking about the looming threat of GDPR or how ABM is a must, the conversation often goes back to programmatic advertising. Does it work? What is my budget being spent on? Is it brand safe?
While the growth has continued in 2017: "In its latest forecast, eMarketer estimates nearly four of every five US digital display dollars will transact programmatically in 2017, totaling $32.56 billion. By the end of the forecast period, that share will rise to 84.0%, leaving little doubt that buyers and sellers are continuing to invest in automated ad buying."
There have been stories and stats around the decline: "Brand safety concerns are having an impact on programmatic buys. According to ad tracker MediaRadar, the number of brands running programmatic ads this year from January through July dropped 2% compared to the same period a year ago."
So I was interested to read this article "10 signs that programmatic advertising is reaching maturity".
The key points:
1. Ads.txt adoption hits c.25% - The 'ads' stands for authorised digital sellers.
2. Header bidding allows competition against direct buys, and better storytelling - the chance to choose the impressions you want and now show ads on sites in sequences to tell a story.
3. A common-sense approach to personalisation and storytelling - find the balance between what you can do versus what will make an impact.
4. First price auctions have arrived, market value is better understood - with first price (as you would by in a shop) and second price auctions (as you would by on an eBay auction).
5. Cross-device solutions more widely used (and more channels available) - now you can track directly the impact of a channel versus another
6. Common-sense metrics - moving away from CTRs, ensuring you hit a baseline viewability
7. A crackdown on ad fraud - partnerships and tech are aiming to scan every impression for ad fraud.
8. Bid factors can let agencies focus on strategy - trade desks allow advertisers to multiply a base bid by a certain percentage, in order to increase win rates.
9. Transparency is the next big push - this is essential to show the value of what the budget is being invested in.
10. Client knowledge is improving - is this from bringing programmatic in-house, employing experts, as well as further learning?
I feel there are many areas that need to improve but I do not predict a decline in programatic spend anytime soon.
Amidst all the heated debate about viewability, the noise from FMCG clients reeling in their spend for a while, the talk about more direct buys – it seems 2018 could in fact be a big year for programmatic.