The old proverb says that curiosity killed the cat, but in the case of programmatic advertising, curiosity is proving to be the lifeblood.
The IAB hosted a panel on programmatic earlier this week, and what stuck out to me was that so many panelists started sentences with phrases that, when scrutinized, underscore the industry's burning curiosity of the space:
"Agencies are coming to us asking…"
"Publishers are now saying…"
"The conversations are happening…"
"We're finding that…"
Bonita Stewart, VP partners business solutions, Americas, Google, said she thinks programmatic is "going to accelerate faster than we can possibly imagine." She said 91% of advertisers say programmatic is a way they would entertain media-buying.
What has curiosity taught people so? For one, that RTB is not a race to the bottom -- something I had an epiphany of just last month.
Stewart went on to say publishers are realizing it's not a race to the bottom, but a race to the top. "A race to the top is different," she explained, more or less arguing that it can't be a race to the bottom because that would equate to "fear," and what the industry is actually experiencing is "exhilarating."
"I hope everyone will leave the room thinking this as a race to the top," she said.
Paul Rostkowski, president of Varick Media Management, said that in 2008 he thought programmatic was in the first inning. Now? "That was the pre-ball game," he said. "It's the first inning now."
"There's still a lot we need to figure out here," Rostkowski said. And it's not because buyers and sellers have to -- it's because they want to.