5 things programmatic display still needs to prove to marketers

Whilst programmatic trading is now an established norm in the world of display advertising, many advertisers are still coming to terms with what it means for their strategies and how they should be planning and executing campaigns.

And although brand safety and fraud may grab the headlines as potential drawbacks of programmatic media buying, they are far from the only challenges that the technology must overcome in 2017. Here are just five things those working in programmatic need to prove to continue its growth in the industry.

That it can be creative

Traditionalists will lambaste the death of creativity in advertising and how Digital’s influence has led to a focus on numbers over creative execution.

The growth of programmatic trading has been fuelled mainly by direct response advertiser valuing the control and scale the buying model has provided them. And from a publisher perspective it has been used to fill their inventory for their ‘standard’ placements, with direct sales teams handling anything remotely innovative.

But there is no reason why programmatic trading and creativity cannot go hand in hand. Programmatic after all, is just the buying mechanism, regardless of the activity type.

As an industry we need to reinforce this through innovation in planning, and facilitation from the seller side in order to further our advancement as a channel.

That it can deliver impact through online video

Big bets are being placed on the future of online content being led by video. But many clients still cannot see beyond online video being cat videos and questionable content.

We are well on the road to addressing this in the premium marketplace with the likes of All4 and soon to be ITV player making their ad slots available programmatically, but outside of that there are still questions to be answered.

Transparency and accountability play a key role, measurement too. But it is on us as programmatic specialist to deliver more through our buying strategies.

There is life outside of Adblockers

Adblocking seemed to be the focus of the media attention around advertising in 2016 with many professing it was the consumer revolution that would serve as the death knoll for digital advertising as we knew it. That seems to have died down now but don’t let that fool you that the issue has gone away.

Whilst user figures may not be increasing as was first thought, they also haven’t declined so the questions remain for advertisers to address. Do we attempt to reach these people? Convince them to stop blocking? Or just ignore them as natural wastage?

It can deal with a complex user journey

The days of people viewing an ad, clicking a link, and making a purchase, all in one simple user journey are long gone. The path to conversion, even for the simplest transaction, is convoluted and complex.

This presents a problem for advertisers looking to measure the true return on investment for each of their advertising channels. Last action models favour search, first action favour awareness activity, and no one attribution model fits all.

What everyone agrees on is there needs to be a greater understanding of the path to conversion if each channel is going to get its fair amount of credit allowing advertisers to invest in a way which generates the greatest impact.

It has ways to address the cross device conundrum

An integral challenge in multi-touch attribution, but a nut to be cracked in itself, cross-device targeting is a major challenge for anybody without logged in user data. Even then it becomes a challenge identifying users outside of your owned environment. But the ability to target individuals wherever they may appear, on whatever device, is something which is key in reaching people at the right time to influence purchase behaviour.

Major strides are being made in this area – primarily by the duopoly of Facebook and Google – and 2017 will be the year that changes are made to eradicate this challenge. Advertisers however need to understand how this influences their own particular customer journey and subsequent advertising strategy.

These are not simple challenges to overcome. But thankfully we have a multi-billion dollar industry addressing them, and that tends to help!

For those interested in hearing how the market leaders are addressing these challenges, State of Digital readers can get a 10% discount on tickets for Bidex on March 16th at the Ham Yard Hotel in London. Simply use discount code BID10EX.

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About Rob Weatherhead

Rob Weatherhead is Group Operations Director for Dentsu Aegis Network. His current focus is on Programmatic Advertising and Technology as it disrupts the traditional media buying model.