Advertising Week may have just about concluded, but the headlines were loud and clear last week: advertising needs to be simplified.
The amount of media consumed — everything from news stories on websites and blogs to watching streaming video on mobile devices — has never been higher, yet the ability for the content to be sustainable (read: fully monetizable) has never been harder. Fragmented media platforms and devices have added exponential amounts of complexity and friction to the once simple advertiser-media company transaction, spurring on the advent of technological middle men.
“Let’s blow up the LUMAscape,” was the message last week, encapsulated within the word “programmatic,” or the use of automated technology and data to make faster, smarter buying decisions. The programmatic movement would make technology fall into the background and allow the creative ideas and executions to shine wherever video is viewed by consumers.
While programmatic is still at its beginning stages, let’s not forget how quickly technology can flip the way business is done. Mobile was in its infancy six short years ago, and now we are discussing whether business should either go mobile-first or mobile-only.
Which is why AOL kicked off the week with the industry’s first Programmatic Upfront, the first step in the movement to help digital finally take its fair share away from TV.
Amid the presentations by thoughts leaders such as Nate Silver and Kevin Spacey, five of the six major holding companies committed to programmatic, saying that the process will cut down research time and errors, while increasing development of creative multi-screen messages. “This is a physical manifestation of the desire of all of our organizations to move forward,” said Kristi Argyilan, president of MAGNA Global North America.
But there is still confusion among some around programmatic. Some say that “programmatic” and “upfront” don’t go together, that they are opposites or an oxymoron. But M2 Universal’s Will Pate points out that this thinking comes from a more archaic definition of programmatic, one that has changed from where it began several years ago: “Digital programmatic may have started with aggregating low value content, but now we’re moving into mapping out premium content for buying efficiency.”
Adap.tv CEO Amir Ashkenazi agreed in AdExchanger: ”The idea that programmatic doesn’t require planning is ridiculous. If anything, it requires more advanced planning. You need to find the right platform, you need to find the right data in order to define the right strategies.”
The fact is that the agencies, brands and publishers that leverage automated technologies are recapturing a large portion of their budgets currently lost to “features” masquerading as companies that chisel away at pieces of the ad transaction.
And putting together all of those technology pieces is what programmatic is all about, says industry analyst Jack Myers in his influential newsletter: “Programmatic or automated ad buys will be a big way you get business going forward, if not the only way. Learn how now and act, or risk losing sales later.”