The amount of data and intelligence available for programmatic media buying grows exponentially every day. RTB platforms can distill the data and design algorithms to endlessly exploit their potential. This gives agencies and their media buyers a daunting -- but not impossible -- challenge. They must effectively evaluate the ability of one platform or algorithm against another in an age where technology is growing more complex.
Real-time bidding offers indie publishers an efficient way to maximize their revenue stream. "We grew up with the reality of technology stripping out inefficiencies and disrupting established systems. We are not going to fight it. We are going to embrace it and take advantage of it," says Alex Magnin, CRO of Thought Catalog. "Efficiency is a great thing. One only needs to look at the differences between the net CPMs of old school ad networks and the CPMs of the RTB market to understand the value of programmatic and RTB, especially to an indie publisher like us."
Wind back the clock and envision yourself as a digital marketer in 2005. Chances are, you don't recognize it one bit, especially if you're using today's market as a comparison. Believe it or not, RTB came on the scene as the popularized, go-to acronym for marketers only five short years ago. Since then, the digital ad industry has undergone a wholesale evolution in which traditional creative strategy has had to confront the new age of big data and analytics: "Mad Men" versus "Math Men," as they say.
As real-time bidding and programmatic media buying become more commonplace in the online advertising industry, the question of creative will need to take center stage. Jeff Hirsch, CMO of CPXi, says that as brands adopt programmatic buying, they face a new challenge: the ability to deliver creative in real time. Enter the need for what Hirsch calls "programmatic creative" -- "using technology to automatically create and iterate ads on the fly, in any size, that can be served in real time." "This means more creative flexibility and more efficient campaigns."
2013 was kind to programmatic marketing. RTB display alone accounted for 20% of all digital ad spend. By 2017, it will reach 30%, or $9 billion. Does this mean we're finally reaching the age when all advertising dollars will flow through RTB pipes? Not quite. True, there promising trends that will move the needle forward, but others will hold us back at bit. Here are five trends we predict will affect programmatic 2014.
Richard Frankel, RocketFuel's president and co-founder, and I agree on many things. One of them is that programmatic will continue to grow in the new year, not that you'd need to be an oracle to foresee that. Not only will more brand marketers begin using programmatic -- they'll be using it more intelligently as well.
2013 was a banner year (pun intended) for programmatic media. Both participants in the ecosystem and the systems/platforms they are leveraging are starting to evolve as mechanisms for efficient deployment of performance-oriented ad dollars. eMarketer estimated nearly $3.4 billion in programmatic spend being delivered in 2013. RocketFuel's IPO, Criteo's IPO, mergers, acquisitions (SiteScout/Centro), and massive growth continues to demonstrate the power of programmatic media. But most of these firms are associated with DR advertising. Even private exchanges these days aren't proliferating due to a lack of brand dollars in the RTB ecosystem.
John Battelle, founder/CEO of Federated Media, saw the rise of programmatic coming from a mile away. Back in 2010, he realized that the number of people directly involved in selling largely undifferentiated display media was going to decline dramatically. At the same time, data about publishers' inventory was increasingly in the hands of the buyers, but not the sales force. In fact, that data was more likely than not owned by middlemen, leaving the publisher with no control. Given this situation, Battelle reasoned, publishers needed an automated platform to give them back control of their data. It turns out, that's …
The year of 2013 was very telling for retargeting, and there is a wealth of knowledge to reap from the advancements -- which include the early uptick in ad spending across various retargeting efforts, the massive increase in biddable inventory (via FBX), and Google and Microsoft's major announcements regarding data encryption. Consider the following key takeaways from 2013 when you plan your retargeting strategy: