Programmatic: 3 ways it will evolve in the future

Future gazing expert Danielle Howe lifts the veil on the mysterious world of programmatic and outlines how it's set to evolve in the next few years

While many B2B marketers are starting to tap into the potential of programmatic, the industry itself is going through a turbulent time as a result of issues including ad fraud and its opaque nature. But programmatic isn’t going anywhere – so how is it likely to evolve in the coming months and years? Here are three ways we expect it to change.

1. Programmatic will increasingly come inhouse

This is because a growing number of advertisers will look to avoid some of the traps set by less-than-transparent agencies and trading desks.

Much as marketers did with search a few years ago, programmatic is increasingly moving inhouse, as demonstrated by brands such as Procter & Gamble and L’Oréal. However, most brands – especially in B2B – aren’t ready to do this yet. Some brands are looking at creating their own trading desks to deal directly with demand-side platforms, while others are creating dedicated units or creating their own internal programmatic teams.

However, considerable preparation is required to move programmatic inhouse successfully, including assessing business capabilities and hiring the right talent, so it’s a big step for many to take, especially if programmatic isn’t a major part of a brand’s marketing approach.

2. Artificial intelligence (AI) will play a part in the evolution of programmatic

The advantage here is that AI will allow marketers to anticipate when prospects are most likely to notice them, rather than simply reacting to online activity that’s already happened.

As AI starts to take on more significance across marketing, programmatic is unlikely to be left behind. This isn’t something B2B marketers should be particularly concerned about yet, but it’s important to keep an eye on trends within the industry, not least because as it’ll shape what different agencies and trading desks offer.

As our report – Demystifying artificial intelligence in B2B marketing – suggests, only in recent years have we had access to the amount of data and processing power needed to make practical applications of AI feasible, so it’s no longer a concept that sits within the realms of sci-fi movies.

3. Spend will become more targeted

According to research by Forrester, just 20% of programmatic spend will be invested in open ad exchanges (versus 65% today) by 2021.

B2B brands’ spend on programmatic is already likely to be considerably more targeted than the vast majority of B2C brands (indeed, 70% of B2B marketers planned to increase programmatic spend in 2017), so this is unlikely to be a trend that drastically affects B2B marketers. In fact, B2B marketers would be advised to always keep spend as targeted as possible, given the specificity of most B2B audiences and the unlikely need to reach millions of users at once.

Unleash the potential of programmatic in B2B

The world of programmatic remains one of mystery for many a B2B marketer – but it needn't be this way. As an increasing number of B2B brands tap into the potential that programmatic advertising has to offer, marketers need to ensure they know what it is, what it can do, how they can benefit, and what the pitfalls are. This comprehensive guide provides all this and more.

Perfect your programmatic

Unleash the power of programmatic in B2B