Commentary

A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Shift, Programmatic Affects More Than Just Budgets

The mind-set surrounding programmatic media-buying has evolved almost as rapidly as, well, a real-time media buy, according to MediaPost Events Editorial Director Steve Smith.


Kicking off this morning’s OMMA Programmatic event in New York City this morning, Smith pointed out how only a few years ago, similar OMMA events were talking about how programmatic was gaining share in the “5%, 6%, 7%” of digital media budgets.

Today, he said, 85% of major brands are buying programmatically, and it now represents $6 billion in the online display marketplace alone.

More significant than the budgetary evolution, he said, was the effect it has had on the way the industry thinks about media-buying and advertising markets.

“Programmatic has been more of a mind shift,” he said, “not just a dollar shift.”

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As a result, it is becoming infused in every facet of the digital media marketplace, including video and mobile. It’s just now beginning to disrupt TV too, alluding to a “changing balance of power.”

Smith said the angst industry observers are heaping on programmatic is not new, but is exacerbating issues of “trust” and fear that have always been part of the advertising marketplace -- including the trust between agencies and brands, trust in the ad tech stack, and trust between consumers and brands.

But there’s no denying its role on all sides of the “ecosystem,” he said, noting that just “six to seven years ago, we’d put publishers up here that would deny they were active in programmatic at all.”

Now, Smith said, publishers are among the fastest adopters and innovators of programmatic technology and their leverage has “finally taken hold and regained some power in the marketplace.”

“[They are] starting to assert things like scarcity again in the marketplace -- getting true value for their inventory in the marketplace,” he said, adding a final set-up for the day that one other significant stakeholder is asserting -- consumers -- “in the form of denying advertising itself” vis-a-vis ad-blocking technologies.
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