Programmatic Is Growing Up

Two of the largest holding companies in the world -- Publicis Groupe and Interpublic Group -- made headlines this morning, and programmatic advertising was part of the reason why.

IPG’s Mediabrands unit this morning unveiled a new platform that allows “its agencies and clients to plan, buy, post and retarget local TV viewers” using technology from WideOrbit, according to MediaPost’s Media Daily News. In short, IPG’s announcement this morning is about bringing programmatic advertising to the local TV level. 

Publicis’ news was not as overtly about programmatic as IPG’s, but it’s $65 million investment for a 20% stake in Matomy has ad tech overtures. Earlier this year, Matomy launched a supply-side platform (SSP) for video advertising which allows publishers to sell video ads via real-time bidding (RTB). Matomy also has a multichannel ad platform for display, mobile, social, video, email and search advertising.

The combined announcements also show that programmatic, tech-driven ad buying is no longer relegated to the slums. In a statement, Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy said that Tel Aviv -- which is where Matomy is headquartered -- “is second only to Silicon Valley in technological innovation.” Reading between the lines, it's clear that Publicis is placing a bet on the ad tech industry, not just on Matomy.

We already knew IPG was bullish on programmatic, announcing in mid-2013 that it planned to automate 50% of its media-buying by 2015. IPG's expansion into television is a maturation of the process, and not just because "expansion," by default, represents maturation -- television has been programmatic's next frontier for some time.

And explore that "next frontier" marketers have: Programmatic TV -- or "data-driven audience-targeting," if you don't believe "programmatic" is an apt term to use when it comes to ad tech's current application in the TV space -- has been a hot topic of late. A recent AOL study found that about 8% of ad-buyers are using ad tech to buy TV inventory. 

However, as skeptics will point out, just because agencies and advertisers are dabbling in “programmatic TV” does not mean they are spending any significant chunks of money.

Others will point out that when major players such as IPG make investments in the space, it lays the groundwork for something bigger in the future. (And it’s not just IPG: Havas recently announced an expanded with AOL to include the programmatic buying of linear TV.)

"Ladder" image from Shutterstock.

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