The Brave New World of Programmatic Marketing


At DataXu, it’s no secret that we’re bullish on the prospects of programmatic buying, and see the shifting landscape as an incredible opportunity to not just deliver efficiency by scaling up programmatic media buying, but deliver marketing effectiveness through programmatic marketing.  In other words, it’s about way more than finding more efficient way to acquire media.  This is the new world we live in—and every day, we see articles, tweets and blog posts offering a yea or nay opinion.  Andrew Tweed of Thomvest Ventures (DataXu’s newest investor) is in alignment with the vision that  programmatic buying is the future of online advertising, as seen in his article on The Huffington Post a few weeks back, The Machines Have Arrived: Ad Buying Going the Way of High Frequency Trading.

So what is this new world I am describing?  It is one where marketers can derive customer intelligence – actionable intelligence – as easily, efficiently and effectively as the buying.  It is about feeding off of the massive stream of real time data to understand, react and engage consumers in real time and at scale.  While the underlying technologies are incredible, and amazing, from my perspective, it is the fundamental change to the way marketers speak with their customers that is most exciting.

And where do things go in RTB in 2013?  Smart people in the industry are proclaiming that this year will be the year of programmatic premium and private marketplaces.  My enthusiasm is more tempered than others, if this is defined and limited by programmatic access to the premium inventory via exchange pipes.  This is interesting, but not game changing.    The game changer is not just consolidating your exchange and ad network buys, but in running the same real time analytics, decision making, and customer intelligence that you have on the exchanges on your guaranteed media plans.

Let me use a bit of a tired metaphor to make this view crystal clear.  Look at the Fidelity Guided Portfolio SummarySM. One slick real time trading interface and analytics system for not only your Fidelity traded stock and funds, but for your entire financial plan – to deliver financial effectiveness, not just trading efficiency.  This is the future—not programmatic media buying, but programmatic marketing.

As Tweed says, “Advertising dollars are still in the early stages of shifting to DSPs, but reception from brands has been positive. Brands want a neutral third party that will be RTB exchange agnostic.”

We think this is an apt description of the current state of—and  future of—online advertising.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter (I’m @atompsett!)