The Next Generation of Programmatic

by Gillian Ingram Figaro Digital

There has been a flurry of brands experimenting with the various capabilities available within programmatic marketing. As a result there is a great deal of technology, advice and also misinformation circulating around the space as to the complexities of this channel. So how can we define the complex terms of programmatic? “Programmatic marketing in itself is quite a broad term,” explains Jacqui Wallis, Managing Director at Addition+, “which can include any automated process across the marketing funnel, but primarily it is used to refer to programmatic advertising. This, in its strictest definition, is the automation of the buying and selling process, so machine learning is the next-generation application of that.”

A Higher Degree Of Control

Historically, programmatic marketing has inhabited an uneasy and complicated framework of third-party data, and it is this uncertainty that is generally hailed as the root of the PR-threatening crises such as ad misplacement, viewability and ad fraud, which notably hit several large brands in early 2017. As the industry moves towards more open and transparent processes, addition+ is one company leveraging technology in a way that removes bias and understands the needs of the potential consumer in real-time. “This new or ‘next generation’ application of programmatic focusses on modelling and activating campaigns based on the behaviour of your customers in real-time,” says Wallis, “so it’s an advancement from early programmatic which was just basically an automation of the buy side and sell side normally powered by third party data. The machine learning uses real-time context, drawn from user behaviours and micro behaviours and can operate with first party data and be constantly optimised.”

Greater Relevance

The real-time insight has a variety of valuable implications for the serving of consumer-centric campaigns. Being able to identify the optimum times to appear to a consumer, or indeed not to serve an advertisement, helps to secure a brand’s persona as one which is fully in tune with the needs and wants of its audience. “The reason why this is so important, and interesting, for advertisers is that it increases relevancy,” says Wallis. “It makes your advertising more relevant to your audience because you’re able to change the messaging or place messaging in areas that are a higher priority for them. The outcome is that brands are able to have campaigns that are more engaging, and the campaign response is, therefore, much more positive.”

Another of the benefits of programmatic advertising are the efficiencies it can offer, and the added element of real-time insight increases these still further. “Historically, with third party data there are often higher costs,” says Wallis. “There can be issues with duplication, leading to reduced performance and a lack of optimisation. With machine learning what you’re able to do is optimise in real time, and the increased relevancy you can achieve is a massive upswing for clients and their advertising message.” As well as the monetary savings, the advantages for a brand’s awareness mean that positive brand associations will lead to easier conversions further down the line.

Technology Heals Old Wounds

The ability to translate immediate real-time data into actionable, tangible insight satisfies a lot of the cautionary issues that have prevented brands from trusting the programmatic space previously, particularly those re-starting their programmatic marketing efforts after February 2017’s mass exodus. “If you’re a brand that wants to move into this space, being able to use data to inform how, when and where you place your advertising, optimise it in real time and get better outcomes is really a strong business case for why even cautious brands would open the door to this kind of model,” says Wallis.

The negative reputation of programmatic advertising has left many marketers uneasy about moving into the space, if they are not there already. “All of those misconceptions of programmatic have arisen because of bad actors in this space, who have applied that technology in poor ways,” says Wallis. So what sort of conversations should marketers be having with their providers or programmatic agencies to help to bridge this divide? “The next generation of technology is having to carry the burden of some of those misconceptions. Our advice when talking to Brands is to have good robust conversations with your suppliers to understand exactly how their technology works and ask all the difficult questions; shine light into all those corners that have had issues.  If they can’t give you the answers that you’re satisfied with, then look for another supplier.”

Transparency is a buzzword that is fast becoming synonymous with the world of programmatic, as providers and publishers lift the curtain on their platforms and processes to show their credentials, and reassure brands that their creative won’t end up in the wrong places. “Providers should be transparent. Period. It’s not a game of gradually increasing transparency. It’s binary, you either are or you aren’t, and if you suggest transparency is a compromise in programmatic, then that’s false,” says Wallis. With an area so rich in insights waiting to be harvested and leveraged by marketers, Addition+’s platform is providing brands with the learnings they need to drive consumer trust and brand relevance, supplying a user experience that not only understands the heart of its product, but gives credibility to its identity within the space.


Jacqui is one of a veritable host of experts joining us at the Figaro Digital Marketing Summit on 19 October. Check out the agenda and the profiles of our excellent speakers here!