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Programmatic Media Trends 2017

Programmatic media buying increasingly dominates the online media space, and as ad tech and mar tech converge to create more effective and efficient technologies, the landscape for buying and selling online media is set to change at an accelerated pace in 2017.

Here are some key programmatic trends that we predict for the year ahead.

Hey, Big Spender!

Media Math predicted that programmatic spend in the US in 2016 would reach around 21 billion dollars and account for up to 63% of all digital display media bought. This massive year-on-year growth sets the stage for increased adoption in EMEA, as marketers recognise the benefits of programmatic reach, targeting and efficiency.


Image courtesy of eMarketer


In South Africa, programmatic media is no longer a foreign term. And as campaigns using these methods show improved returns on marketing spend, big brands are starting to get in line.

Pick up the phone

It’s no secret that South Africa is a mobile-first nation, and that smartphones are our gateway to the Internet. 74% of South Africans are more likely to access the Net via their smartphones than their PC’s, and 51% of South Africans own smartphones. In the US, mobile programmatic has already left its desktop counterpart in the dust. And in Europe, smartphones accounted for 71% of all mobile programmatic transactions in Q1 of 2016.
Here at home, we expect to see programmatic mobile take the lead in 2017.

The new normal

Adoption of programmatic methods continues to grow globally. In a recent survey by EBG and Quantcast, 850 decision-makers at agencies, advertisers and publishers were interviewed. A clear majority predicted that programmatic is here to stay, and that adoption will continue to rise.

In fact, 57% said they believed that all ad inventory would eventually be traded programmatically.

Whether this will happen or not, it is clear that programmatic media methods are set to become the new normal.

Creative pursuits

Since its inception, programmatic media has seen a divide between the creative agencies and the automated marketing processes which belong to the media buyers.
According to Jim Freeman, group sales and trading director at Telegraph Media Group, speaking at Marketing Week’s ‘Creative Programmatic’ event, consumers are fond of advertising, as long as it is good. When followed around by cluttered native content and re-targeting methods, they are apt to feel frustrated.

Brands and agencies must remember, he said, that even in programmatic the old rules of standout, relevance, engagement and context are still important.

As programmatic video increases in popularity, brands can now tell their stories with the same sophistication and creative execution as traditional advertising methods allow.

Here’s to the rise of creativity in a programmatic world.

Targeting technologies will get even better

Say what? Is this even possible?
Yes. The depth of targeting is set to become even more sophisticated in 2017. Consumers can expect to be served adverts that are not only of interest to them, but relevant in both demographics and location. Brands will be able to serve highly targeted and geo-located ads to their consumers, at the right demographic and the right time of day.

Manual ad buying will decline

Programmatic is cheaper, more efficient, has a wider reach and continues to advance in capabilities. It’s unlikely that manual ad buying will be able to keep up.
According to Mark Abay, Content Director at Ashton Media:

“Industry experts predict programmatic is going to drive 100% of advertising trading execution by 2020.”

Programmatic TV will elbow itself into position

Globally, adoption of programmatic TV has been slow. But there is obviously a case for automating the process of purchasing ad inventory on television, primarily the eradication of tedious and expensive purchasing processes that currently exist. Like any digital disruption, there will be resistance. But certainly programmatic TV will begin to present itself as an attractive solution to brands and marketers alike.

Closing words

Programmatic media buying is fast becoming an essential element of any robust online marketing campaign. With improved efficiencies and creativity, cross-device targeting and access to in-depth data and reporting on a single dashboard,  it seems that 2017 will be the year that programmatic methods dominate the online media landscape in South Africa.

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