Media: The programmatic future


Media: The programmatic future

Emily MacDonald

Programmatic advertising is one of the key areas in our industry that is reaping the benefits of AI. Emily Macdonald, Head of Programmatic at Digitas, discusses some key recent developments and outlines some trends to look for in the future. 

What’s happening?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is powering the advertising industry’s transformation and the technology that supports it. Programmatic clearly demonstrates this with the rise of machines buying and selling advertising in real time more efficiently than human advertising operations teams alone. Humans are key but are unable to manage the vast amounts of data now available and provided through programmatic media for complex processing and optimisation against advertiser goals and success metrics. What’s more, we are now seeing the programmatic approach to media buying expand into radio and audio, OOH and TV.

Why does it matter for marketers?

With data processing in real-time through ever evolving AI-driven ad technology, making decisions about where to place ad spend and how to quickly adapt to meet time, budget, ad placement and KPI goals means there is less media spend wastage on reaching the right audience in a much more efficient and considered manner.

Core programmatic concepts like contextual and audience targeting, bid-multipliers and dynamic creative are all driven by machine learning algorithms.

AI offers an increase in operational efficiency and campaign performance through automation plus advanced modelling to evaluate impressions and their value to a brand at that particular moment.

This helps programmatic media teams more easily manage numerous campaigns simultaneously, while offering the ability to uncover new insights or unique trends that they may not have previously had either time for or access to. These insights or trends can prove to be an opportunity or advantage over competing brands.

What are the implications for the future?

Ultimately the goal is for a dynamic 360 degree view of consumers across all media and AI is helping enable this via programmatic advertising. This has long been seen as the holy grail of advertising, so advances are sure to prove exciting for brands. As a result, this is a fast-paced space with a lot of investment in AI-powered programmatic ad technologies across media buying.

One particular area where we’re seeing a lot of development and excitement is connected TV (sometimes called CTV or Smart TV). Here we’re seeing a shift away from traditional broadcast TV to targeted dynamic ad insertions in linear streams, as we have seen with radio. Initially, this is proving much easier for the likes of Sky, Apple and Amazon who have direct access to subscriber or household level set-top box data, but it is proving difficult in some markets like Germany due to regulations.

This sector is constantly evolving and there is much to look out for in the coming months. Not least with GDPR on the horizon. Watch this space…

 Suggestions for further reading

The connected TV advertising opportunity in Europe

A white paper on CTV by programmatic ad technology company SpotX, recently acquired by RTL Group, who commissioned MTM to explore the prospects for connected TV advertising – advertising viewed on a connected TV and delivered via the open internet – in the five largest Western European markets: the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Emily MacDonald

Emily MacDonald

Head of Programmatic

As Head of Programmatic, International, Emily is responsible for developing Digitas’s industry-leading programmatic capability and data and technology proposition, in order to help its clients to navigate the increasingly complex ad tech landscape and gain competitive advantage.

Prior to joining Digitas in 2016, Emily spent two years working as an independent consultant, advising Ebiquity and Global Radio on digital technology and data investments. 

She has 18 years’ experience working in digital media and ad tech, holding positions at some of the industry’s biggest names, including AOL, WPP, News UK and Microsoft. 


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