UK: 2018 Predictions for Programmatic Growth

January 9, 2018
by Sacha Berlik – Managing Director of EMEA

With programmatic ad spend estimated to grow 23.5% from last year by the end of 2017, I have no doubt that 2018 will be a transformative year for the industry. As the advertising space continues to mature, it will become necessary for marketers to embrace programmatic, especially as a few of the following trends continue to manifest in 2018.

The end of channel siloes

Consumers don’t bucket their time across channels and devices, so brands shouldn’t divvy up their solutions as such either. 2018 will be the year brands truly recognize that the most effective way to reach consumers is through a holistic, multichannel advertising strategy on a single platform.

Running a multichannel campaign on one platform allows the brand to glean more insights into the habits, actions and affinities of their target audience. This information is not easily accessible and sometimes impossible to piece together when the campaign is running through various specialty targeting shops.

Instead, working with one platform enables brands to reach a target audience with a coordinated story across multiple channels and optimise toward the channels of the campaign that are most successful in reaching the target audience.

As the advertising ecosystem becomes increasingly fragmented, brands and agencies will look for the all-encompassing power of insights gained by using a single objective, multichannel buying platform, rather than working across multiple vendors.

The beginning of better consumer ad experiences

The result of marketers combining their multichannel strategies under a single solution is a holistic buying strategy that creates better ad experiences for consumers everywhere. For example, a brand could aim to deliver ads on streaming radio during the consumer’s morning commute, engage them with an in-feed native ad during their lunch break, and again on mobile video while they are surfing for dinner recipes on their way home. These coordinated brand experiences across channels and devices benefit consumers and brands alike, seamlessly driving engagement as consumers browse, listen, watch, and read throughout their day.

Not to mention, because of their holistic media plans, advertisers will reap the reward of full-funnel attribution. The granular cross-channel insights that stem from each campaign will allow for improved optimizations and better targeting. In the above example, if the campaign is seeing higher engagement during non-work hours, a multichannel tech platform will adjust the campaign to automatically optimise to the channels, times and devices that best engage the target audience.

The rise of the robot: AI in adland

AI will continue to pop up in conversations in 2018. And rightly so. In advertising, AI solutions – like programmatic - can be used to apply automated scale, speed and insights in areas such as campaign optimisation and audience discovery. But the automation has yet to reach the level of efficacy to perform all tasks of a human trader. Instead it’s a delicate balance of human judgment and machine learning for the highest quality results.

In this brave new world of AI and data-driven marketing, humans are and will remain in the driving seat. Systems that currently rely solely on AI could make bidding, site list, or audience segmentation decisions without explaining the factors considered in making these choices. Humans might not have the number-crunching skills to compete with a computer, but we have something far more important. We have the context, intuition, emotion, and relevant experience to understand how and when to apply custom strategies to ensure the campaign is aligned with the brand’s priorities.

All this to say, 2018 is destined to be a powerful year for digital advertising – in the UK and across the globe. So, happy new year to all, can’t wait to see what’s next.