With digital advertising expected to become a $1 billion industry by 2020, programmatic advertising is expected to take more prominence in coming months. Concepts like header buying, programmatic direct, etc will be more widely accepted by advertisers, said experts we spoke with.
“Clearly ‘programmatic direct’ is going to take centre stage in 2017. Guaranteed delivery at a selected price on CPM is going to be fully automated and given the nature of transparency that brands are looking for this is going to be a clear solution where brands and publisher will close on a floor price on CPM and guarantee the inventory that needs to get delivered,” said Rammohan Sundaram, MD & SVP (APMEA) of C1X Inc.
Giving an idea of the scope of programmatic advertising, he informed that in the US, programmatic advertising today is growing at a rate of $14 billion a year. “It is gaining prominence globally given the automation enables visibility for advertisers and the issue of transparency that brands are facing today gets addressed with evolved companies in the space addressing the all the discrepancy that currently exists in the programmatic world,” he further added.
Online video is one medium that has taken the digital world by storm. But what is the scope of automated buying in this space? According to experts we spoke with, the scope is immense.
“Video-based content has progressively grown and has now become the preferred medium for mobile users. However, the inventory and demand for video ads through programmatic buying is currently small. Unfortunately, programmatic buying is largely used for the more traditional banner ads and pre-roll video ads. Its use must be upgraded to include buying of newer ad formats such as video and native ads. Video and native are the wave of the future and unless both the supply and demand side ecosystems start aggressively pushing for programmatic on them, movement will continue to be slow,” said Nadeesh Ramachandran, VP (Sales) of Vserv.
However, here marketers will have to define the boundaries of what makes a good ad and what actually works on the digital medium.
According to Ashish Shah, CEO and Founder, Vertoz Media, in 2017, programmatic advertising will grow 31 per cent faster than all other digital media channels.
Speaking specifically about the concept of header bidding, which he believes will become important in 2017, he said, “Header bidding is a concept in which the publisher simultaneously offers inventory to multiple ad exchanges to find the best value for it, before sending it out for auction based bids in real-time. This media buying process enables media buyers a new way to access 'first-look' inventory across a publisher’s sites, hence paving a new way forward in online advertising. Header bidding is increasing rapidly and is quite famous among marketers/ advertisers in India. It helps media buyers to find the best place to advertise online by gaining access to best inventory. This programmatic technology makes sure that the ads reach the right target audience. Not only this, there is also a better chance for the programmatic buyers to access premium inventory.”
According to him, header bidding also benefits publishers by providing a greater yield, giving them more transparency and providing a higher value for their inventory. “In the long run, header bidding will prove to be a very useful tool for both the advertisers as well as publishers,” he added.
Anuj Kumar designation is Co-founder & MD of Affle, also agreed that header bidding was a good option since it provided flexibility. According to him, two other major trends in programmatic advertising in 2017 would be a focus on fraud detection and elimination. He gave the example of the Methbot fraud case that hit the US digital advertising industry in 2016, which some claim led to losses of $3-5 million per day.
“Fraud detection and elimination is something that is seeing a lot of ongoing work. It is something that has not been completely addressed. I also see the usage of programmatic for performance advertising grow in 2017. The share is still small even though performance advertising forms a significant part of the advertising industry,” he further added.
Publishers, themselves, are making efforts to create programmatic platforms of their own and these have seen some success over the last year. In India, the Times Group has taken the lead in creating a digital platform that serves both content and advertisement needs.
When asked about what 2017 holds for programmatic, Swapnil Shrivastav , VP (Ad Tech) of Times Network said, “While programmatic shows a lot of promise for growth, the closed walled gardens of the big players are creating better value for advertisers increasingly leaving long tail and sometimes fraudulent inventory on the open RTB. It would be interesting to track how much premium inventory grows on programmatic this year.”
This does not seem to be an overstatement. Given the influence that platforms like Facebook have on the dissemination of content right now, it looks like publishers have their work cut out for them.