Efficiency: Programmatic's Blessing And Curse

The new survey results from AOL, which reveal that over 90% of ad buyers are using programmatic in some capacity, brought a few things to my attention. AOL surveyed 177 AOL Platform client execs from brands (25), agencies (96) and publishers (56) for the study.

First, the report supports a theory of mine -- that the ad industry’s worst enemy is often itself. I also noticed that the report didn’t cover radio or digital out-of-home (DOOH). The adoption may not be as widespread, but it’s worth noting that programmatic has permeated those channels, as well.

Back to the first thought: the ad industry fighting and confusing itself. Publishers and agencies/brands alike cite “economic efficiency” and “organizational efficiency” as two of the three biggest benefits of programmatic technology in the survey; the other top-three benefit is better targeting.

Allie Kline, chief marketing officer at AOL Platforms, told Real-Time Daily: "Programmatic is mainstream, yet unfortunately buyers and sellers aren’t reaping all the benefits they could be."

Those other benefits include control, measurement, transparency and creativity. Fewer than 50% of survey respondents cited any of those four areas as benefits of programmatic.

But why, if economic and organization efficiency are such clear benefits of programmatic, did nearly 60% of the survey respondents say digital media buying and selling is still too time-consuming?

Why, if efficiency is a main benefit of programmatic, do 73% of buyers work with up to 20 vendors? Maybe I’m wrong, but that sounds like the exact opposite of efficient.

"Efficient" is defined by dictionary.com as "performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort."

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