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Time to get with the programmatic

Here’s my attempt at a bit of Derren Brown-esque trickery.

Marketing plans are on your mind. Events, email and content feature heavily. Two fifths of your budget is allocated to digital channels. How did I do? 

If I got close to the truth, it’s not clairvoyance but just educated guesswork. In particular the B2B Barometer – from the BMC – suggests, on average, B2B marketers spend 39 per cent of their budget on digital. 

Now, let me try again. If online advertising is in your marketing plan, it’s not programmatic (i.e. automated buying of ad space in real-time based on the profile of visitors). More guesswork of course. A new study from Appnexus, WARC and IAB Europe has found that only 22 per cent of European marketers currently use programmatic advertising. But if it’s not part of your plan now, it soon will be. Analysts predict that 60 per cent of all digital advertising will be programmatic by 2017.

Given the trend towards programmatic, here are a few nuggets from that Appnexus et al study you might find useful:

  • Is programmatic really the future? It seems so, 30 per cent of the 600+ marketers surveyed expect it to become ‘dominant’ in the future, and a further 59 per cent expect it to be ‘very important’.
  • What’s behind the rapid growth? Marketers feel programmatic provides better targeting, greater personalisation and less wastage than ‘traditional’ online ads.
  • If it’s so great, why isn’t everyone using it? Aside from that old chestnut: budget, marketers cite three key barriers: a skills shortage, a lack of transparency from owners of digital property and internal resistance created by a fear of the unknown. 

One final stat, just for any agencies reading this: programmatic is widely seen to be inevitable once the various barriers are overcome. And when marketers are asked how they expect things to pan out in five years’ time, 58 per cent expect ad agencies will manage the technical aspects of programmatic.