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state of programmatic
Guest AuthorFeb 06, 20172 min read

Wayne Blodwell: Progress On Programmatic


Marketers are starting to get the framework for effective programmatic right but there is still some way to go says Wayne Blodwell.

Programmatic has been a hard ask for marketers. First of all its media and many have neglected their media skills and second it’s technology, requiring a different skillset to the creative communications many focus on.

The World Federation of Advertisers’ recent study on the state of programmatic at some of the world’s biggest brands illustrates how much progress has been made but also the fact that much more still needs to be done.

The increase in confidence from marketers with regards to programmatic transparency (29% of respondents now confident in transparency from their agency trading desks up from 21% in 2014) is a positive step in the right direction.

However, for the programmatic industry to grow faster (above the 17%-23% of digital spend it represents today) this number needs to be significantly higher and 29% cannot be considered the end goal – this makes it no surprise to see that 90% of the respondents are reviewing their existing contracts.  

READ MORE: We need to talk about programmatic.

Marketers investing in the space need to have a clear understanding of the value delivered at every touch point and it’s unlikely that many agency trading desks will be able to provide the transparency levels marketers desire quickly enough owing to margin pressures.

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This agency challenge is driving an opportunity for independent trading desks and hybrid/in-house models (one in five operate a hybrid or in-house model). This is the natural result of an operating model that is no longer fit for purpose for the majority of brands and we are seeing some significant programmatic spenders move away from particular agencies who do not offer alternatives to existing models.

One shift in the WFA report that is greatly to be welcomed is the decentralisation of agency trading desks, away from the holding company brands and down to individual agencies. The promise of programmatic – ‘right user, right time, right message’ can only be delivered through better integration and collaboration with strategy and comms planning, this is difficult to deliver when the practice is outsourced and where interests can conflict with those of the client.

There is no one model that will fit the needs of every advertiser, however, each advertiser should attempt to understand the most appropriate model based on their existing resource and business goals.

READ MORE: We need to talk about programmatic.

Wayne Blodwell is a Founder & CEO at The Programmatic Advisory.