I was so pleased to sit on the Advertising Week 2015 Programmatic 3.0: The Data Awakens panel yesterday with colleagues from across the digital ecosystem. Programmatic has been a part of the advertising mix for years now, but it’s been growing and changing to become a more central component of how the right ad reaches the right person at the right moment. In particular, the growth of mobile continues to drive the growth of programmatic adoption.
The panelists all concurred that Programmatic 3.0 is not about delivery. It’s about the use of data to inform buying decisions and measurement — particularly across screens. Doing programmatic isn’t that hard anymore, but doing programmatic well is still a challenge. Layer on cross-screen requirements, and the stakes get even higher. The plumbing is no longer the differentiator. It’s the data.
The growing digitization of consumer touch points is increasingly making it possible to close the loop on ad views and users’ reactions to them. Millennial Media offers buyers access to nearly 4.5B impressions per day with supply from more than 186 countries.
Additionally, Millennial Media offers site-based private marketplaces (PMPs), but we also have data-based PMPs that bridge programmatic with managed media. (“Programmanaged,” if you will.) Data-driven creative needs volume to test what works and what doesn’t, and we have it. As marketers continue to take advantage of this, we’ll see greater participation, which will lead to better results as more and more data enters the ecosystem.
Of course, advertising is a two-way street. Fellow panelist Shenan Reed of MEC noted that she sees advertising as a service, and I tend to agree. Delivering value is essential to maintaining the user experience. Context matters, and so does creative.
During the Q&A session, one attendee asked about industry-wide measurement standards. This is an important point, since unreliable data is worse than no data at all. eXelate CEO Mark Zagorski noted that when companies develop their own stand-alone solutions to the measurement question, it’s like grading your own homework. He’s right, and that’s why Millennial Media works with Integral Ad Science on our viewability guarantee and has a data partnership with Nielsen Catalina Solutions. Eventually, an industry-wide standard will emerge, but until then independent verification will be a key contributor to the continued growth and credibility of programmatic spend.
Perhaps standard measurement will be part of Programmatic 4.0. I, for one, am eager to see what happens next in this exciting segment of the digital ad marketplace.
Millennial Media is the leading mobile ad marketplace, making mobile simple for the world’s top brands, app developers, and mobile web publishers. The company's data and technology assets enable advertisers to connect with target audiences at scale, while driving monetization for publisher and developer partners. AOL acquired Millennial Media on October 23, 2015. Millennial Media boosts AOL's global, mobile capabilities and scale across ONE by AOL for advertisers and agencies, and offers the most attractive monetization platform for app developers.