Zero masters. At least not yet.
DataXu, a demand-side platform (DSP), says it processes 300 trillion bytes of data every day. Some quick byte math (thanks, Google!) tells us that’s about 280,000 gigabytes -- a figure that's a bit easier to comprehend.
If the company stored that data on 16 GB flash drives (it wouldn’t), it would spend $175,000 a day just to keep it somewhere. That would be just under $64 million a year. (If the data were stored on un-contracted iPhones, it would cost the company over $4 billion a year to store.)
Obviously, companies such as DataXu don’t store data this way, but it gives you a sense of what that data is worth -- and how much of it there is. But despite the mountains of data -- or maybe even because of the mountains of data -- ad buyers don't govern programmatically driven campaigns the way they want.
The information comes from DataXu’s “Marketing in the Programmatic Age” roundtable series. The company had six roundtable meetings with over 200 senior-level execs from 186 different brands and agencies, covering programmatic marketing, data, transparency, measurement and more.
Even with 300 trillion bytes of data being processed each day helping them reach consumers on a potential 300 million sites, none of the 200+ execs from those brands and agencies said they have “achieved mastery of programmatic marketing (yet).”
Perhaps that's one reason GroupM is tipping its hat goodbye to the open ad exchanges -- so much hype, so much opportunity, such little mastery. No mastery, in fact.
“Today’s programmatic technology is capable of doing much more than we understand how to get out of it,” DataXu quotes a major entertainment company exec as saying.
“There’s so much rich data available through programmatic marketing … trying to figure out exactly what to do with it is a major challenge,” an independent agency exec says in the report.
Perhaps in an effort to better understand what the tech offers and how to wrangle Big Data, more brands and agencies are bringing programmatic buying in-house. Rather than shying away from the overwhelming nature of it all, brands and agencies are meeting it head on. And apparently, once they do it’s hard to stop.
“It’s a challenge to get people to adapt to programmatic, but once they do, it’s like a drug,” an exec from a major entertainment company is quoted as saying in DataXu’s report. “They want it all the time.”
So while there are no masters just yet, there are certainly some neophytes willing to make sense of all the bytes.