Programmatic Digital Advertising Technology

Digital advertising is being 'bouyed' by smartphones, social networks and programmatic buying says Economist media editor

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

September 13, 2014 | 4 min read

Digital adverts will become increasingly tailoured to viewers as a result of the rise of smartphones, used by over 1.7bn users, according to a digital study from the Economist.

20 per cent of the world's population own smartphones

The report on the personalisation of advertising, penned by Alexandra Suich, media editor of the Economist, found that technology was dramatically changing the dynamics of the advertising business, with significant consequences predicted for consumers as well as companies.

Suich commented that smartphone users connections with their devices had changed the way they browsed the net: "Users now prefer apps (self-contained programmes on smartphones) to websites’ home pages, and in America they are spending less time on desktop computers."

The prominence of social networks also granted advertisers access to substantial data, such as user 'likes' and details such as age and gender. This was buoyed by an increase of real-time bidding, or “programmatic buying” which allowed publishers, advertisers and intermediaries to bid for digital ads granting instant access to a consumer-base.

In response, Dominic Joseph, CEO and co-founder of Captify, told the Drum: “It’s understandable that people are wary of sharing their personal data with third party companies, but in the case of advertising the majority of data that is used is non-personally identifiable information. The use of data serves a purpose to ensure that users are suggested products that are more relevant to them, and so that media companies understand how to market to the correct audience.

“It’s important for a compromise to be agreed between brands and consumers. Advertisers also need to be completely transparent about how they are using and securing data."

Joseph added: "Advertisers are not interested in anything more than serving ads to those who are actually in the market to purchase a service or product. Behavioural data provides the insight needed to target consumers with relevant ads, improve ROI for advertisers and keep the internet free."

The report concluded that web users have so far not objected to the use of their private data but may well do so if they realised the extent of which their online activity was being analysed.

Earlier this month the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) released guidelines to help brands tackle programmatic ad trading transparency and arbitrage issues.

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