Why 'Programmatic' Is The Word Of The Year

According to an ANA (Association of National Advertisers survey), “programmatic” was voted the word of the year. The result is not all that surprising, and perhaps more interesting are the reasons voters gave for voting for “programmatic.” 

In the ANA’s release announcing the results, a handful of quotes were provided “from some members who voted for programmatic as the ANA 2014 marketing word of the year.” Some were hot takes, some had merit and several rehashed tired complaints.

Let’s break down some of those quotes:

  • “This is the year that we woke up to the potential of programmatic, and it became the biggest buzzword in the industry.”

2013 was probably the year the industry “woke up” to the potential of programmatic, with potential being the key word. However, it seems fair to say that 2014 is when it became the biggest buzzword in the industry -- it did just win “marketing word of the year” after all.

  • “It is everywhere and will eventually be the only way media gets bought until the next big advance.” 

It is everywhere, but it’s hyperbolic to say it’ll be the only way media gets bought. It’s more apt to say that technology will become a bigger part of every media deal -- from direct deals to the fully automated.

Also, if you find out what that "next big advance" is before it’s big, let me know.

  • “It has been the focus of every meeting and every conference I have attended, even the ones it wasn’t the focus of.” 

This quote does a great job of summing up why “programmatic” is the word of the year. The quote is funny because it’s true and also representative of the fact that ad technology has seeped into all corners of the ad market. 

  • “It is the least understood but most used word in marketing. Nobody can define it but everyone wants it.”

Gather round for Hot Takes 101!

  • "Programmatic was one of the most used words in marketing this year, as marketers sought out more efficient and effective ways to purchase digital media.”  

Whoever said that definitely works in ad tech.

  • “Everyone is talking about it, trying to see how to measure it, implement and/or define it. But few people get it or do it.”

Actually, the vast majority of advertisers and brands are using programmatic.

  • “This is an unstoppable sea change for all media, including TV. I predict that, in short order, 80 percent of all media -- not just digital media -- will be traded programmatically.”

“In short order” is an ambiguous timeframe, but programmatic is projected to account for nearly two-thirds of display ad spend by 2016. It’s not unreasonable to predict that programmatic will account for the majority of all media trades in the “near future.”

  • “Programmatic has as many positive connotations as it does negative ones. It is clearly the future of strategic and media planning, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty in what the present and future holds.”

This is one of the best quotes of the bunch. “Programmatic” is simultaneously associated with efficiency, accuracy and speed as well as fraud, sub-par inventory and complication.

2 comments about "Why 'Programmatic' Is The Word Of The Year".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 9, 2014 at 9:23 a.m.

    Programmatic is certainly the big new thing for digital media buying and, possibly, planning. However it remains to be seen whether it can be applied to "legacy media". The two quotes, above, that programmatic will be, in effect, the only way all media will be bought should be noted for future reference, just like the prediction that by 2015, 50% of all media will be bought programmatically. The clock is going to start ticking on that one in about three weeks. Anyone care to bet that it is really going to happen?

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, December 9, 2014 at 5:04 p.m.

    I'll start the book at a million-to-one

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