VIEQUES, PR — So-called “programmatic” advertising – techniques for refining and automating advertising trading – grew up around real-time bidding, the instantaneous transactions that seem anathema to traditional upfront ad sales.

But, as the technology has matured, it has also begun to allow for old-fashioned-style upfront buys – with all the added efficiency of programmatic. A panel convened by Beet.TV discussed the topic:

  • Target digital marketing and media senior group manager Patrick Reiter.
  • Videology north America MD Tim Castree.
  • GroupM programmatic buying president Joe Kowan.
  • Google programmatic media and platform sales SVP Jay VanDerzee.
  • MediaMath partnerships VP Sam Cox.

“You can merge programmatic and guaranteed,” MediaMath’s Cox said. “Programmatic is neither real-time nor bidded. You can make a forward commitment on a guarantee on a specific volume, specific value and flight date and hit it.”

Videology’s Castree agreed, saying: “In the US last year, 99% of video sold last year was on a guaranteed, futures basis. Fifty-eight percent of inventory through our platform last year was clients bringing their own upfront deals.”

But the arrival of upfront ad deals also makes some wonder if they are losing the unique advantage programmatic brings.

What was a great decision 24 hours ago might be a poor decision now,” said Target’s Reiter, calling for flexibility. “When I hear ‘guaranteed’, somewhere in there must be some loss of agility.” GroupM’s Kowan said: Maintaining that agility is absolutely critical.”

MediaMath’s Cox said his company strikes the balance by having embraced header tags, allowing real-time data to support guaranteed transactions by having eliminated exchanges.

Separately, GroupM’s Kowan said programmatic is merely a toolset, not a strategy, and does little to change the role that agencies play for brands overall.

And the panel discussed how, with the basics of programmatic now in place, advertisers will soon get to benefit from more – developments Kowan said include “attribution based on in-store sales, and exposure time and session depth, personalisation”.

This video was produced at the Beet.TV executive retreat presented by Videology.  You can find more videos from the session here.

This panel was chaired by MediaLink data and technology SVP Matt Spiegel.