I recently described the concept of competitive ad exclusion to a colleague of mine who had worked primarily in programmatic display. I explained that its purpose is to give the consumer an unfettered brand experience, along with its commonality in the advertising world.
It made me realize that programmatic display is sometimes distanced from the actual purpose of brand advertising. That is, to enable a brand to communicate with consumers in a media environment.
This didn’t happen deliberately. The speed of automation and technology and the economic opportunity presented by programmatic display for direct response campaigns created a real market opportunity for the buy and sell-side. Besides, it did really strive to speak to consumers via third-party cookies
But help is on the way, and it is consumer-driven, as it should be. Programmatic advertising can be a real brand experience. Just like how CTV and other OTT ad content is served, it will be powered with the perfect blend of known and new bidding, ad selection and audience technology.
The new programmatic opportunity
Consumers are moving away from traditional TV and desktops. According to eMarketer forecasts, 51 million households will be cord-cutters or cord-nevers and there will be 73 million pay-TV households by 2023. In emerging markets, long-form video will stream on apps on mobile devices. TV buyers know this. In addition, eMarketer also forecast that digital video ad spend will grow 41% by 2021 and traditional TV spend will decline by 1%.
This presents an opportunity to do programmatic correctly and to make it a valuable environment for brands. OTT long-form video brings the real TV experience to digital, with the accompanying quality expectations from consumers, media providers and brands.
TV buyers also have fresh eyes and aren’t obsessed with cookies and uniques. They want to know basics about the households seeing their ads and what content they are consuming in the moment. Programmatic OTT technology can and will solve for providing this intelligence at scale in concert with media providers, SSAI, other streaming services and buyers.
This is a defining leadership opportunity for programmatic ad tech. We must grab it to truly take our game to the brand level and to think about our real end-users—consumers. Those of us with deep content creator and buyer relationships and a historical knowledge of what has gone wrong—and right—are uniquely positioned to help evolve the technology and standards of the space. We must rethink the assumptions we have fallen into making about performance and audience in both direct display and programmatic and whether they actually serve consumers or brands.
It is our time to root the principles of our technology in the communication between the brand and the user within a media experience.
Executing on this vision will require significant thought leadership and engineering ingenuity. It will require crafting an opensource server-side programmatic solution for global OTT environments which allows for direct and auction buying, fraud detection, forecasting and the exchange of relevant data. We will accomplish it, and as a result, digital programmatic advertising will enable the full range of real advertising.