Ed Chater, chief marketing and chief strategy officer, at adtech outfit Adbrain, would aim his punches at the industry's walled garden providers for encouraging the internet economy to develop in yet more silos, whenever it is more open data that's required for it to continue as a largely ad funded medium.
"With more consolidation on the horizon for our industry with mega-deals like AT&T and Time Warner, this issue will continue to dominate our industry," says Chater, speaking with The Drum ring-side at last week’s Programmatic Punch content stream during Ad:Tech New York.
Along with the dominance of mega-deals in the industry, Chater believes the EU's impending privacy laws, a.k.a. GDPR, have the potential to dramatically change how the internet economy (thus-far a largely ad-funded medium) works.
Under current statute, IP addresses are deemed impersonal within UK law, and makes all users anonymous, "so companies and websites don’t need [specific] consent from users to use the data produced from their addresses," he says.
However, because the impending EU laws classify IP addresses as personally identifiable information (PII), such companies will need to start asking for direct consent to have their PII traded with third parties, Chater notes.
"Although challenging for advertisers, it is ultimately the right path for consumers – both in protecting them and their data, as well as educating them on how to use and protect their personal information. That being said, improvements and clarifications need to be made and the commission needs to ask questions around whether this actually makes the difference,” he says.
Adbrain, which has developed proprietary technology to help advertisers both tailor, and measure the effectiveness of advertisers across screens, but is quick to highlight the growing threat posed by digital advertising budgets being concentrated in the industry’s walled gardens, i.e. Facebook and Google – along with other leading voices in the space.
In looking at the current and future programmatic market, Chater compares it to adolescents navigating the transition to adulthood and (hopefully) maturity, he adds. "We now are seeing negative factors like fraud, viewability and agency business models rebelling against the rules being established in the programmatic space. Those who are trying to play honorably and fairly are getting caught up in these problems as well, but as we grow and mature, we are finding innovative ways to circumvent these circumstances and provide big returns."
As adtech quickly evolves, Chater says that in the coming year he expects so see the merging of adtech and martech. He adds that commuter-commerce and holistic customer identity is also on the rise.
The use of mobile devices continues to increase and research has shown that consumers are more comfortable making purchases on their smartphones while on the move, and advertisers are increasingly looking to capitalize on this.
"Advertisers will need to continue to adapt to this evolving customer journey and reach their customers with personalized messages on the devices they use throughout the day," he adds.
Innovation will also continue to pick up through next year. He notes that the rise of header bidding is a great example of the type of progress that emerged in 2016 and will continue throughout 2017; this is a development that will introduce more innovation to serve advertisers and publishers better, he adds.
"Going back to the adolescent example, the programmatic space is maturing, which means it will continue to grow into a more mature version of what we have today," he concludes.
Chater was commenting as part of The Drum’s Programmatic Punch event series. Click here for further insight from the event's proceedings