Programmatic Ads: What to Expect in 2017


Trends move the world.


They’re influential enough to have everybody wear the same style of clothes; for Hollywood to make the same movie or TV genre because that’s where the eyes are at the time; for politicians to take preemptive measures and stands to prevent or encourage further trends; and for the technology industry to build on certain products.


Technology, especially, is dependent on trends to transcend its ubiquitous, powerful influence throughout global industries, no matter the product or service being provided.


Last week, we discussed one of those trends: Programmatic advertising. But we only touched the tip of this iceberg. What we didn’t explore was what lied underneath the surface; the massive potential that will soon reveal itself with further investment and experience by its users. As we noted in the same piece, the biggest issue concerning programmatic advertising in its early stages was the “lack of sales expertise in selling programmatic.”


Deep learning,  “a branch of machine learning based on algorithms that attempt to model high-level abstractions in data”, will be heavily used in the future for programmatic buying and selling. Marketers believe that the result will “yield a higher value of conversions and enable advertisers to run advertising campaigns that are extremely effective without larger budgeting.”


A lack of experience is an easily reconcilable issue and, judging by the trends we’ll soon explore, it has done nothing to deter marketing agencies from investing in what is essentially automated real-time bidding.


There’s also a trend of less discrepancy in who employs the technology:


“‘Programmatic buying of digital media has become the norm in major markets, and is aggressively following this path in smaller markets,’ said Benoit Cacheux, global head of digital and innovation at Zenith.”


Seeing as we’re an agency that likes to focus on numbers, we found these worthwhile to note:


    • “The group’s Programmatic Marketing Forecasts report outlined findings from 41 key advertising markets and suggested that programmatic will grow 31% next year, outpacing social (up 25%) and online video (20%).


    • “Looking forward, spend will continue growing at an average 28% a year to 2018, when it will reach $64 billion.”




    • “Marketers have already realized the power of programmatic advertising, and 96% of those surveyed are already using it to buy display ads. 55% of digital display ads were purchased programmatically. In total, 52% of all non-search digital ad transactions were programmatic.”


  • “Programmatic video is also on the rise. It will amount to about 60% of all digital video ad spending in the US according to eMarketer, and accounts for almost a quarter of video ad spend in Europe.”


Efficiency and convenience are the igniters of this movement, as they are for any technological innovation that replaces the outdated and obsolete. It’s called creative destruction. 10,000 workers are replaced by 10 machines; search engines replace encyclopedias; cars replace the horse-and-buggy; the gun replaces the sword.


And to a much, much smaller extent, programmatic advertising replaces real-time bidding in what is another clear indication of what direction digital marketing will be taking towards automation.


Thankfully, copywriters can’t be replaced by computers……yet.


Since programmatic advertising is experiencing widespread adoption, marketers are beginning to discover new ways to wield it and expand upon its capabilities:


“Programmatic buying of digital media has become the norm in major markets, and is aggressively following this path in smaller markets. We believe that the growth of programmatic will continue to be fueled by improvements in the quality of media available in programmatic environments — especially private marketplaces — and the greater availability of programmatic mobile media, as well as the sophisticated provided by ad tech solutions such as data management platforms and connected ad tech stacks.”


And speaking of mobile…


“According to Econsultancy, smartphones accounted for 71% of all mobile programmatic transactions across Europe in Q1 of 2017, up from 59% in Q4 of 2015.”


We can also expect the storytelling element, one of the burgeoning traits of social media and digital media (and an all-too-well-known buzzword), to be successfully integrated with programmatic:


“Programmatic provides the platform to reach the right audience, but it’s still the content that resonates. This is where programmatic storytelling can really take off. The modern customer expects a journey, an experience and, above all, a story from their advertising, and by harnessing the near pinpoint accuracy of programmatic there’s now greater potential to deliver this.”


And to take that even further, not only should the storytelling element be added but a personalized touch as well:


“Personalizing your programmatic offering to individual users is, without a doubt hugely important. Whilst we’ve seen some excellent examples of personalized programmatic this year, we expect that the level of depth and targeting will only grow in 2017…61% of consumers feel more positively about a brand when marketing messages are personalized.”


Programmatic advertising has been accepted, and now it’s time to build on its early success by integrating practiced elements of digital marketing, such as personalization and storytelling. The end game of all of this, as it is for all copywriting and targeting, is fostering an emotional connection with the user to facilitate a conversion.


The only difference now is that it’s more efficient. The message, theme, targets, and intention remain the same. It’s the vehicle that has shifted, in order to get those messages and themes to a wider audience.


But why stop at the digital aspect of marketing? Why not pounce on other mediums that could spread a message to an even wider audience?


Well, coming to a screen near you….


“From requesting ad time and purchasing, to displaying the ad and measuring its success — the manual process can be slow and tedious. Programmatic TV effectively alleviates these problems, with many brands vocally expressing their ‘appetite for programmatic’.”


What’s even more interesting is the concept of one convenience fighting against another convenience. If you use YouTube often, then you’ve likely become acquainted with AdBlocker, the defender of those annoying 15-second or 30-second ads before every video, even on videos that are less than 30 seconds!


Marketers claim that programmatic advertising will be able to limit users employing ad blocking:


“With ad blocking we know users have actively said ‘make it relevant or don’t say it’. We need to continue to educate, consult and learn from and with brands to keep pushing programmatic further. Only then will ad blocking abate. 


Programmatic advertising has never been so vital as it is now. With economic uncertainty and the rise of ad blocking, every opportunity to engage with customers need to be maximized and programmatic methods give us that opportunity.”


The conclusive reasoning behind all of this is not just efficiency, convenience, and a widespread message, but also cost savings. As we noted earlier, “deep learning will yield a higher value of conversions and enable advertisers to run advertising campaigns that are extremely effective without larger budgeting.”


If it saves time and money without compromising the quality of the product or service to such an extent that it bears no resemblance to its original intention, then widespread adoption, which we will undoubtedly see in 2017, will follow.

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