Programmatic Gets Personal: What to Watch in 2015

Trends don’t emerge out of thin air each December, and I will simply be one of many making an educated but calculated guess at what is to come. That said, over the course of a year things can and do evolve dramatically. Programmatic, for example, has made enormous headway during 2014, and video advertising is no longer considered a separate “channel.” Here are three movements that I believe will gain serious momentum in 2015, driving even more epic change.

Programmatic goes vertical. Over the last three years, we in the ad tech industry have built out the infrastructure needed for programmatic buying to take root, starting with open auction real-time bidding (RTB). This took a lot of work and a lot of thought about what the pipes had to look like and what the business rules between buyer and seller should be. Now, with our systems in place, we have an opportunity to develop more sophisticated approaches to programmatic. I predict that 2015 will see more custom solutions for specific verticals -- CPG, B2B and financial services, for example -- using programmatic channels to drive education. Applying data to content strategies that go beyond traditional “advertising” can help change customer behavior, eventually encouraging buying behavior. This tactic should go well beyond the packaging up of some inventory, to solutions truly tailored to the workflow and needs of specific industry verticals.



Identity becomes an imperative. This has been brewing for some time, but in 2015 we will see broad adoption of identity solutions by advertisers and their digital providers. Major industry players (Amazon, Facebook, Yahoo, Google, etc.) that own PII and niche players that specialize in “cross-device” will debate the scale, accuracy and privacy compliance of their IDs. This will confuse the market and cause some minor adoption delays, but ultimately budgets will shift to players with sound identity solutions. Since it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see a marketer willing to put their data into many different systems, there will only be a few winners.  There will be more acquisitions and strategic partnerships in this space, and I predict that by the end of 2015, identity won’t be a standalone product or niche business, but instead will be an integrated and core component of larger solutions.

CRM meets PRM: Prospect Relationship Management. In 2015 we’ll see more frequent and larger-scale use cases of brands bringing their customer relationship management (CRM) data assets to bear on their anonymous marketing. Some brands have been utilizing CRM onboarding (the process of bringing anonymous and aggregated CRM data and appending it to a cookie or Mobile ID), but friction in the market, lack of training and standardization of ID matching and fear of privacy compliance has slowed down a marketer’s ability to actually DO things with the data. Partnerships that bridge the two sides of the marketing spectrum are now allowing brands to think about coordinating their messaging and getting smarter with their dollars.

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