2017 seems like it may prove a somewhat seminal year for programmatic advertising.

Ahead of a lengthier take on what 2018 might hold, our experts take a look at four key trends from this year.

Vigilance and distrust?

Daniel Gilbert, CEO, Brainlabs:

It’s certainly been a tough year in the media for programmatic. Every month it’s been in trouble: ad fraud, non-transparency, issues with brand safety, unreliable metrics, and so on and so on. 

You would think advertisers hated programmatic by now, but the stats tell a different story. A recent forecast from Zenith predicts the global display market to be more than two thirds programmatic by 2019, with countries like the UK, US and Canada having more than 90%

Growth is not slowing down, and positive changes are happening. With the support of trade bodies, such as the IAB and ANA, advertisers have become more vigilant. There has been some serious rethinking of advertiser-agency relationships. The WFA reported earlier this year that 90% of the advertisers it surveyed were reviewing their contracts. 

Vigilance is good, but distrust is not. The shift from open exchange to PMP programmatic buying reflects advertisers’ fractured relationship with agencies, whom they don’t trust to protect their brand or run programmatic campaigns effectively. I would hope to see real-time bidding become the preferred option again next year, but it may take time to rebuild trust.

Chris Jacob, director of product marketing, Salesforce:

We saw trust become central to the CMO. With things like GDPR, ad fraud and data security becoming top of mind, brands are recognizing the need for both their technology to be secure, as well as their strategies being authentic to their consumers.

Transparency

Jim Hawker, owner, Threepipe:

For 2017 I would argue that the biggest trend in programmatic has been the almost universal focus on the supply chain. It’s a real sign that programmatic is entering a mature phase that this is being cleared up with increasing transparency throughout.

The signs of this are everywhere in the industry: from visibility on 1st price auctions, adoption of ads.txt and other increasing attempts to eliminate fraud. To us this is huge indication of the strength of the channel and of better things to come in the future.

In-housing

Alessandra Di Lorenzo, chief commercial officer, Media & Partnerships, lastminute.com group:

As technology advances, the entire programmatic ecosystem is becoming more complicated. We’ve seen many brands bringing aspects of media in-house this year – and as employees develop the relevant skills, and the technology becomes more familiar, this trend is set to continue. 

With so many new options on the market, technology is no longer a barrier to many brands. In fact, technology today should empower marketers – and allow the focus to come back to the actual job of bringing the right products to the right customers.

Chris Jacob:

CMOs are retitling and reorganizing their departments so teams are not just working together, but are actually on the same team – working towards a given goal (i.e. a marketing team responsible for one product/service line will have all of the different channel managers in one group rather than the department being organized by channels).

The convergence of adtech and martech

Chris Jacob:

The convergence of adtech and martech continues in 2017. Organizationally, brands have been breaking down silos and different teams are increasingly working together to deliver personalized consumer experiences at scale. Where there was little interaction before (i.e email, customer service with ad teams), now we're seeing departments work closer together...

Further reading:

Ben Davis

Published 15 December, 2017 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is 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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