The advertisers who are pushing out ahead in the new world of programmatic and automated online ad buying are those who are prepared to accept that returns will be generated only after initial outlay.

That’s according to the products and services VP of Publicis’ VivaKi digital group, Kurt Unkel.

“One of the fund challenges in the space is: ‘Is marketing an expense or is marketing an investment?’,” Unkel told Beet.TV’s Chicago programmatic video advertising summit.

“For certain types of vertical clients, it’s really clear how marketing is an investment – a dollar in is getting me five back … other clients don’t have a metric of that nature, a dollar out is a dollar out.”

For programmatic ad vendors, then, Unkel says a key consideration is: “How do I get to a measurement case that speaks to an ROI where clients realise a dollar here is dollar five there

“For clients that have that notion of an investment … they’re off to the races and doing amazing things.”

Unkel’s comments came as VivaKi’s operator, Publicis, agreed to merge with rival Omnicom, creating a holding company with a $35.1 billion market cap. AdExchanger speculates that the two groups might merge their Accuen and Audience On-Demand trading desks, which Forrester analyst Joanna O’Connell says says will continue becoming more integrated parts of their agency owners despite the deal