Programmatic advertising continued to creep into the generalist marketer's consciousness in 2015.

If you're interested, we recently wrote up a handy digest of some of 2015's programmatic trends.

But enough of looking backwards, let's look in the crystal ball and ask 'What's in store for 2016?'

Yet again, I've recruited two experts to help. Chris O'Hara, VP Strategic Accounts at Krux Digital (and Econsultancy's programmatic guru - see his articles and research here), and James Bourner, Head of Display at Jellyfish.

Here's what they had to say... 

Real-world attribution may become... well, a reality

Chris O'Hara, VP Strategic Accounts at Krux Digital

One of the biggest gaps with digital media, especially programmatic, is attribution. We still seem to have the Wannamaker problem, where “50% of my marketing works, I just don’t know which 50%.”

Attitudinal “brand lift” studies and latent post-campaign sales attribution modeling have been the defacto for the last 15 years, but marketers are increasingly insisting on real “closed loop” proof. e.g. “Did my Facebook ad move any items off the shelf?”

We are living in a world where technology is starting to shed some light on actual in-store purchases, such that we are going to be able to get ecommerce-like attribution for Corn Flakes soon.

In one real world example, a CPG company has partnered with 7-11, and placed beacon technology in the store.

Consumers can receive a “get 20% off” offer on their mobile device, via notification, when the they approach the store; the beacon can verify whether or not they arrive at the relevant shelf or display and an integration with the point-of-sale (POS) system can tell (immediately) whether the purchase was made.

These marketing fantasies are becoming more real every day. 

7/11 

Cross-device targeting is important, but so is improving moble inventory

James Bourner, Head of Display at Jellyfish

2016 will be the year of mobile: Just kidding!

Although on a more serious note, 2016 will be the year of more measured and more integrated mobile activity – we have only really just started to get to grips with cross-device targeting and tracking on a macro level.

While the big companies who are making a play for control of the ad tech industry will put a lot of emphasis on cross-device targeting and tracking in their battle plans, I think there will be a lot of improvements to the quality of inventory, especially in apps.

A lot of mobile supply is from developers, not traditional publishers, which has led to quality issues.

However, as we are now becoming very discerning in what we buy in mobile hopefully the developers will respond to the data and not be tempted to place banners quite so close to where accidental clicks may occur!

Google has been trying to prevent accidental clicks since 2012.

google combating accidental clicks

Frequency management will reduce waste and improve UX

Chris O'Hara, VP Strategic Accounts at Krux Digital

Before marketers could effectively map users to all of their various devices (cross-device identity management) and also match users across various execution platforms (hosting a “match table” that assures user #123 in my DMP is the same guy as user #456 in DataXu, as an example), they were helpless to control frequency to an individual.

Recent studies have revealed that, when marketers are only frequency capping at the individual level, they are serving as many as 100+ ads to individual users every month, and sometimes much, much more.

What if the user’s ideal point of effective frequency is only 10 impressions on a monthly basis? As you can see, there are tremendous opportunities to reduce waste and gain efficiency in communication.

This means big money for marketers, who can finally start to control their messaging - putting recovered dollars back into finding more reach, and starting to influence their bidding strategies to get users into their “sweet spot” of frequency, where conversions happen.

It’s bad news for publishers, who have benefitted from this “frequency blindness” inadvertently. Now, marketers understand when to shut off the spigot.

tap 

Increased creativity will harness new forms of inventory

James Bourner, Head of Display at Jellyfish

From the buy side we will be looking forward to more video-on-demand inventory and new areas of supply opening up, especially for the UK market, which is hugely exciting.

Closely linked to this will be far more involvement from the creative guys.

There have been rumblings in the programmatic community for some time that we do not exploit creativity enough and we need to encourage our creative counterparts to the possibilities of programmatic, whether that be simply more permutations of ads to complement targeting or a more subtle but fundamental shift in some of the tools used to build creative.

Additionally, 2016 will see more large and impactful formats, skins and take-over placements served programmatically. This is obviously excellent for both media planners and buyers as well as the creative teams.

On the subject of placements there will be a proliferation of in-feed display (or native-type placements) becoming available programmatically. 2016 will also see more connected TV and digital radio exchanges being added into the programmatic supply line.

Programmatic out of home has been on the horizon for a while but I would predict connected TV will be the faster growing element of these.

An in-stream Guardian ad format. James expects more in-feed display to be available programmatically.

guardian ad unit 

We should probably let the machines decide

Chris O'Hara, VP Strategic Accounts at Krux Digital

The adoption of advanced data technology is starting to change the way media is actually planned and bought. In the past, planners would use their online segmentation to make guesses about what online audience segments to target, and test-and-learn their way to gain more precision.

Marketers basically had to guess the data attributes that comprised the ideal converter. Soon, algorithms will start doing the heavy lifting.

What if, instead of guessing at the type of person who buys something, you could start with the exact composition of that buyer? Today’s machine learning algorithms are starting at the end point in order to give marketers a huge edge in execution.

In other words, now we can look at a small group of 1,000 people who have purchased something, and understand the commonalities or clusters of data attributes they all have in common.

Maybe all buyers of a certain car share 20 distinct data attributes. Marketers can have segments automatically generated from that data, and expand it from there.

This brand new approach to segmentation is a small harbinger of things to come, as algorithms start to take over the processes and assumptions of the past 15 years and truly transform marketing.

robot

Econsultancy runs Creatve Programmatic, a one day conference in London, as well as providing training on programmatic advertising.

Ben Davis

Published 9 December, 2015 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Deputy Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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