Programmatic advertising stands at something of a crossroads. There is a vocal minority who call for its abolition. “A toxic ecosystem that is killing itself, and it is taking digital advertising with it,” digital media veteran Shelley Palmer thundered on LinkedIn in June. This point was given some credence by the Association of National Advertisers’ long-awaited transparency report that laid out how the complexity of ad tech had given cover for agencies and vendors to cut side deals.
But most industry executives — especially those with revenue responsibilities — agree programmatic will play a vital role in the future of media. There’s little doubt it will take hold in media and marketing, which Google’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt once called “the last bastion of unaccountable spending in corporate America.”
“It’s a snowball rolling downhill,” said Bryan Wiener, chairman of 360i. “We’re not going back to insertion orders.”
And yet programmatic advertising is suffering from a crisis of confidence. Once high-flying ad tech stocks have plummeted. The investment climate for ad tech startups is chilled. There is a drumbeat of negative headlines, encompassed in Kawaja’s bill of particulars. That Kawaja chose to triage the top 10 threats on a scale of serious to critical to existential shows just how many issues the industry must address. And it must, since programmatic is problematic — and it’s also the future.
Complete article: The programmatic manifesto