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Ready, steady, cook(ie-less): a programmatic recipe for success

It’s no secret that programmatic is one of the fastest moving industries around. Agility is part of its DNA, with players on both sides having to adapt to keep pace with regulation, policies, technology and consumer preferences at both a global and local scale.

Amid an ever-increasing number of privacy regulations, the deprecation of the third-party cookie in 2023 and recent changes to Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) change is on the horizon once again.

While in this state of flux, it can sometimes be difficult to find the North Star – what we, as an industry, are striving for. But arguably in the face of change, comes the opportunity to improve, and today we are in a stronger position than ever to rebuild the digital ecosystem with the right ingredients to make it better for advertisers, publishers and consumers alike.

Re-creating programmatic

The Drum and Xandr brought a team of industry experts to The Drum Labs to discuss what the core ingredients would be if we were to re-create the programmatic industry starting today. Head chef for the day was Karan Singh, commercial director of Xandr, who was quite literally in The Drum Lab’s kitchen with sous chefs Dora Michail-Clenndinnen, chief strategy officer at The Ozone Project, and Lauren Ogundeko, chief digital officer at Bicycle London.

“Just how quickly we have moved in this industry is super exciting – there has been no precedence, we’ve almost made it up as we’ve gone along,” says Michail-Clenndinnen. She notes that technology – and the ideas around how to use that technology to create better experiences for clients and consumers – has evolved so fast that “we’ve forgotten some of the core ingredients”.

Now, however, we are in a position to “reset and reimagine what our industry could be if we stripped away some of the bad practices we’ve allowed to happen over the last 20 years,” she adds.

Singh explains that every brand has different needs and that different players in the market offer different niches – something unique that works for that brand advertiser’s strategy. But, he notes, “a lot of the time brands just default to what they believe is the one solution they have to work with or engage with”, which can stifle innovation – “not just on the tech side, but from a brand advertiser perspective because you’ve worked within the limitations of one or two partners”.

As for what the industry should look like moving forward, our experts highlight the importance of being more sincere and authentic towards consumers, as well as making programmatic easier to buy, and that this needs to be enabled in a scalable, safe and transparent way to drive results.

“There is so much complexity in our space,” says Ogundeko. “If we make things super simple and take out all the complexity, I think we’ll find that we’re working better as partners. It’s important that we all understand each other’s language.”

While the ingredients selected might not sound like the most delicious meal, says Singh, he has “no doubt that the core topics covered today are the right ones to ensure programmatic success in 2021 and beyond”.

Watch the episode above to discover what the four core programmatic ingredients are.

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