According to the US arm of the IAB, programmatic media buys now account for 85% of all digital ad spend in the States.
- The estimates, contained in the IAB’s Brand Disruption 2020 report, put US programmatic ad spend at nearly $79 billion, an increase of 87% from 2017, the first year benchmarked in the report.
- Australia has often been cited as being a global leader when it comes to adoption of programmatic which means we’re likely neck and neck with the US.
- Some consumers, and marketers, think programmatic is a dirty word. It’s time to get over that and embrace the automation benefits it provides.
News that programmatic now accounts for the lion’s share of digital ad spend in the US would no doubt be met by many with an upturned lip, given programmatic is a somewhat tarnished word in marketing circles. Perhaps it should be replaced with the word ‘automation’ since that’s ultimately what we’re talking about. There’s no doubt automation is changing the way we do business. And we’re just getting started.
To put it into context, UQ’s psychology department has determined that when making decisions, the average human (or media buyer) can handle about four different variables at one time. The technology fuelling programmatic can handle more than four hundred. I don’t know many media people who consider themselves average but perhaps that’s a discussion for another day.
Consumers today expect brands to ‘show ‘em that they know ‘em’ and that means crunching a whole lot of data to deliver on what we all know as mass personalisation. As personalisation becomes more important to advertisers, we not only need to understand the customer, we have to grasp the context and device and serve the appropriate creative, all in less than one second.
The automation made possible by programmatic is founded on a rules-based system that brings together tech, creative and media and makes personalised messaging a reality for large audiences. Done well, this approach improves efficiency, relevance and effectiveness. But most importantly, it sells more stuff. Sure it doesn’t replace upper-funnel, mass branding activity. However, it does supercharge mid-funnel and lower-funnel activities and what brand won’t benefit from that?
There is no doubt today’s agencies and marketers are under pressure to do more with less. So let’s get on with implementing the efficiencies of automation (or whatever label you want to put on it if you don’t like programmatic) and then we can get back to complaining about procurement departments like we used to.