The evolution of programmatic in 2018

Predictions 2018: Programmatic

2017 will be remembered by most as a year in which the programmatic industry faced unprecedented levels of scrutiny. Ad Fraud was called out as a key issue which in turn generated greater demands for visibility and transparency across all categories and verticals. Agencies and private market places were urged to provide clarity regarding the performance of marketing campaigns spearheaded by key industry influencers such as P&G’s Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard banging the drum for accountability.

If 2017 highlighted the need for significant change in the programmatic industry, 2018 will be the year in which we begin to see noticeable activity as a result of this call to action. With this in mind there are five key trends that will drive the evolution of programmatic in 2018.

1. Addressability becomes the ‘norm’ for programmatic and not the ‘exception’

Marketers will no doubt strive to know more about the effectiveness of their programmatic campaigns as well as the audience who has viewed them. This will increase the level of granularity applied to targeting of automated campaigns, finding the perfect audience for programmatic as well as the scale and reach required to maximise impact.

Much has already been said about how increasing levels of data can drive stronger results through highly relevant, targeted campaigns. Of course, planning with data in mind also brings increasing levels of addressability. Knowing who your audience are and how they react allows us to truly measure ROI. 2018 brings no shortage of data so accountability of performance should be a demand from all within marketing moving forward.

2. The Google/Facebook’ Digital duopoly will lead to massive opportunity for innovators

We all know the power Google and Facebook have when it comes to how much advertising spend they capture. Large players such as Amazon will make a real challenge to this dominance in 2018 but there is also plenty more opportunity to be had by others. The struggle for airtime in digital outside of the ‘walled gardens’ will lead to further calls towards transparency and the facilitation of ‘outside the box’ thinking, driving greater levels of innovation. This kind of thinking is why we begin to see more applications of automated ad-tech across other forms of media.

3. More partnerships will be established to crack the challenges around embracing programmatic across all channels

The scope of Programmatic everywhere isn’t limited to cross-device but also expands across marketing channels. We have already seen Sky partner with Videology to refine and improve the programmatic planning of programmatic television advertising.

We will continue to see more and more examples of partnerships and collaboration between businesses looking to capitalise on the need for high quality content that can be used to target known audiences with advertising this year. Twitter and Bloomberg made significant strides towards this in 2017.

Movement has also been made towards improving the targeting of programmatic across devices. The Infectious Media and Screen 6 deal was a clear indication that this was at the top of marketers minds in 2017, and long may this continue in 2018.

4. Existing and permissible customer data will become crucial

There is more chance that 2018 will bring us the first media agency being opened on the moon than there is of anyone in marketing not being aware of GDPR.

2018 will be the year in which any brand handling vast amounts of customer data will need to ensure adequate permissions are in place for future marketing contact. Much has been made about the sweeping changes GDPR will bring to programmatic.

I’d like to be more optimistic by believing that GDPR will expedite greater levels of relevance in campaigns. Increased relevance to an engaged database will only improve the strength of results. Far too little has been done thus far to truly utilise existing customer data and offer a truly personalised and relevant experience so this will be a good thing.

5. Programmatic everywhere finally becomes a reality

At Programmatic Punch in November Paperplanes joined Sky, Twitter and Spotify on stage to discuss just how programmatic can now be applied across all channels.

Programmatic everywhere is reality as opposed to a possibility. All brands should be planning communication around the customer as opposed to a channel. I’ve heard to many brands in 2017 claim to have a channel agnostic strategy that doesn’t include paper. This is crazy, especially considering some of the impressive results we see from our own programmatically triggered direct mail campaigns. Multi-channel strategy should truly mean all channels.

In 2018 I anticipate many more brands disrupting their own way of thinking by embracing the application of programmatic everywhere via the SkyAdSmart, Clear Channel and Paperplanes of the world.

Daniel Dunn, Founder & Managing Director, Paperplanes.

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