Are you ready for the programmatic revolution?


You don’t need to go far in the world of advertising these days before the phrase ‘programmatic’ gets brought into the conversation.

Robert Weatherhead Robert Weatherhead Group Operations Director, Amplifi Manchester Programmatic Amplifi trends

You don’t need to go far in the world of advertising these days before the phrase ‘programmatic’ gets brought into the conversation.

It’s a mantel previously held by the word ‘digital’. Everyone was developing their ‘digital’ strategy and looking and what the ‘digital’ revolution meant for their business (some laggards probably still are). Now programmatic has taken over where digital left off.

But what is programmatic aside from the word of the moment? Our Dentsu Aegis definition for programmatic is:

“Programmatic is the harnessing of technology to aid the automation of media buying.”

And taking this definition one step further we can add on the following:

“Programmatic buying technologies allow access to a wealth of data that drives audience addressability and campaign insight.”

Looking at the first part of the definition we can see how basic and simple the core principle of programmatic really is. Buying your media using technology. Rather than trading over the phone and booking via a signed order, it is done using technology. That’s it.  It’s not about display advertising, it’s not about websites; it’s a method for buying media.

Of course once we enter into the second part of the definition and the overlay of data, things become a little more complicated. Not all media channels will make it this far anytime soon, but all are on the journey.

Dentsu Aegis Network has committed itself to being 100% digital by 2020 and is already well on its way to achieving this goal. All PPC is inherently programmatic. The majority of our display spend is now programmatic, if not traded through our trade desk Amnet, then through programmatic partners.  More and more of our AV spend is running through Video On Demand (VOD) platforms and traded programmatically, and traditional TV is making moves in a programmatic direction.

Whether you work in an agency or as a client side marketer this programmatic revolution is going to affect how your go about your job and how you measure your campaigns. We all need to understand what this means for us and our future roles if you are going to thrive in the programmatic future.

The invisible ad

As programmatic media buying enters all areas of advertising our roles as advertisers and agencies fundamentally change. Less and less will we be seeing our ad in a predefined location at a predefined time as we focus more on buying an audience than a location. We may never even see our ads at all, but as long as our target audience does then our goal is achieved.

This is a huge leap of faith for advertisers. Placing trust in the technology and the media partners to deliver as prescribed in the media plan or strategy. Our roles become more about the monitoring and management of effectiveness and feeding the relevant information back into our programmatic buying strategy.

The rise of the machines

Technology and platforms also become critical to our campaigns and advertising performance. Technology to drive performance, powered by the data we fuel it with. Technology to measure effectiveness and accuracy of your advertising. Technology to report results and deliver insight. We all need to get comfortable with this.

Cross channel, cross media, cross device

As more channels progress along their programmatic journey, the ability to measure between them becomes greater. Sky are already able to run cross media campaigns spanning TV and online thanks to their broadband and email network.  Once we progress to being in a position where more channels come on board, it opens up a world of opportunities for advanced measurement of effectiveness and impact.

The ability to understand the relationship between channels and also create a user experience across them which shifts brand perception and consumer behaviour will never have been greater. This will produce a fundamental step change in how we plan campaigns, we need to be ready for this.

Data, data everywhere

The ability to collect, store, interpret and activate data will become the core of advertising effectiveness. Of course specialists and technology will take care of the intricacies, but we all need to be talking about it, understanding how we are using it, and maximising its potential to drive performances.

We also need to understand the implications of privacy and data laws on our activity as they are not going to go away and come with hefty penalties for potential breaches.

Are you ready?

The pace of change is only increasing so if you are not already on board with the changes that means for you and your advertising strategy it’s time to start playing catch up. New skills will be needed, new outlooks will be developed and new opportunities will be created so make sure you are ready to take them.


Robert Weatherhead Robert Weatherhead Group Operations Director, Amplifi Manchester Programmatic Amplifi trends
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