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Programmatic advertising is currently one of the most talked about channels in digital marketing. 

Econsultancy founder Ashley Friedlein mentioned it several times while discussing his top digital trends for 2016.

It has become a hot topic as, although there’s a general sense that it’s an effective marketing channel and one worth investing in, many in the industry also struggle to understand how it works.

And it’s also commonly criticised for relying too heavily on automation, thus removing the creative element from marketing campaigns.

To see whether this is the case, we spoke to two seasoned digital experts, namely:

  • Clare Deloford, Digital Development Associate Director at ‎Starcom MediaVest Group
  • Jan Mikulin, Global Head of Digital Marketing at Grayling

You can watch their answers below, or read a brief summary of what they had to say.

And to learn more about programmatic advertising, come along to our Creative Programmatic event in London next week.

These videos were created in partnership with Wooshii and are the first in a series of interviews we’ve carried out with senior digital marketers from various agencies and brands.

Now, on with the show...

People often accuse programmatic of killing creativity. Do you agree with this point of view?

Clare and Jan both strongly disagreed with the suggestion that programmatic kills creativity.

According to Jan, it’s incumbent upon marketers to think about how the technology can enable them to be more creative.

The technology has a momentum around it which in turn creates a need and a desire for more creativity.

Clare said that the ability to run targeted, personalised ads actually encouraged greater creativity. 

How do you think programmatic will impact the role of marketing professionals?

Clare said that programmatic has been quite difficult for marketers to understand, which creates fear and apprehension, however people now realise that it’s a very important technology.

And by automating the buying process, marketers will have more time to invest in content creation and richer experiences which are really important for every brand.

Jan suggested that programmatic has seen a similar cycle to other advancements in advertising and communications.

There was initially a flurry to understand how it worked, then marketers gradually got to grips with it, now we're beginning to use it as a standard operating procedure, and that process will start again soon when a new marketing technology appears.

How has programmatic affected the relationship between agencies & clients? Are there misgivings over transparency?

Another major criticism of programmatic is that the process isn’t transparent, which can lead to mistrust between agencies and their clients.

Jan said that things will only turn sour if the agency had a poor relationship with their clients in the first place and wasn’t being upfront and honest.

However, he also referenced an IAB report which shows that only 45% of people who use programmatic in agencies actually understand the technology and the concept behind it.

That lack of knowledge can potentially impact the entire industry in terms of trust and failure to generate ROI.

Clare said that Starcom MediaVest tries to educate its clients to ensure everyone understands how the technology works.

For example, it has an online tool where clients can run a dummy campaign and take a look “under the hood”.

Marketers are more comfortable with programmatic once they see how it works.

And finally, to learn more on this topic book yourself onto Econsultancy’s Programmatic Training course.

David Moth

Published 24 February, 2016 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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