Earlier this week I attended and spoke at the Digiday Programmatic Summit.  The event was a chance to meet with industry peers and hear speakers outline the challenges, successes, and opportunities for programmatic. My presentation focused on the overarching themes that crystalized from a co-sponsored State of the Industry (SOTI) report by RhythmOne and Digiday that will be released shortly. The themes, and their impact on moving programmatic buying forward in the next 12 to 18 months were echoed in many of the other presentations given during the event:

  1. Getting more creative
  2. Aligning measurement with goals
  3. Integrating the adtech and martech stacks to achieve a more complete 360 degree view of the consumer

digidayWhen you reflect on it – programmatic has very much been a product of science, but it is not a big island separated from the much larger advertising ecosystem – where one of the fundamental elements is creativity. And that element, creativity – and going beyond standard display ad formats.

Going beyond display is essential because the farthest edges of our marketplace – demand (advertisers) and supply (consumers) want more creative, engaging advertising experiences that only high impact formats can deliver. Our SOTI research focused on formats and not platforms. The most striking point found in regards to formats amongst programmatic buyers was the broad opportunity that exists with high impact formats – including video, rich media and native (a format of particular interest to Digiday participants). We were pleased to see this as it reaffirms that there is still room to grow.

The second major theme emerging from the SOTI study is alignment (or misalignment) of campaign measurement with campaign goals.  This topic also percolated in discussions during the event and was tied very closely to transparency.  

Our study found that the majority of those buying programmatically focused heavily on the top end of the classic marketing funnel – brand awareness. Interestingly though, across all channels, performance was the #1 metric defining success KPI. This gap may be part of the explanation as to why only slightly more than half of media professionals interviewed buy programmatically. Because they can’t see the alignment, for whatever reason, between campaign objective and the KPIs programmatic buying can deliver. Despite the gap between goal and measurement, it is welcoming to see programmatic being used for purposes across the consumer journey – and impacting on awareness as much as acquisition.

Without a doubt, the biggest opportunity presented by the next generation of programmatic advertising is in powering a more complete view of the customer.  Fueling this opportunity is how the programmatic stack is becoming the nexus between the key components that will empower this consumer view.  Those components being:

  1. Data – whether 1st party, 3rd party or proprietary
  2. Immediacy – geo location, in-store beaconing, device information, search behavior, and who knows what from wearables
  3. Reach – massive scale across connected platforms

But the question has to be asked – are our platforms aligned to deliver on this potential? Sadly, right now the answer seems to be no.  In the SOTI study we found that too often programmatic buyers were losing the efficiency they should gain from programmatic technology because they were needing to log into and aggregate information from multiple platforms.  This pain point was hammered home at Digiday by many participants.

So what’s the solution? Volume of supply. Our study found that regardless of whether respondents were for or against consolidation, respondents would not or could not consolidate platforms because they were not able to access enough volume – especially relative to meeting specific performance metrics and for specific ad types.  So this becomes a challenges for the platforms themselves as we tackle the next frontier in programmatic advertising – developing cross-screen advertising platforms that can provide the depth and quality of supply that agencies and brands need to fulfill their media buying needs and goals.

Those are just some of the highlights from Digiday – I haven’t even touched upon data, PMPs, header bidders and more. Many of those topics will be covered in the RhythmOne/Digiday SOTI study that will be released soon. I would be happy to send you an alert when the report is released, just send me an email and let me know.