MIAMI – Accuen, Omnicom’s programmatic agency, sees the future of programmatic media buying involving more direct relationships between advertisers/agencies and publishers—a trend that will be hastened by header bidding.

As it turns out, the industry had to go forward before going backward, starting with manual buying, according to Megan Pagliuca, Accuen’s Global CEO. Then came ad networks, which made programmatic buying easier because of their mass reach.

“The challenge with that model was that the ad network was arbitraging and not working on behalf the advertiser agency or the publisher,” Pagliuca says during a break at the annual Transformation conference of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. “What we’re ultimately getting back to is where we started, with advertisers and agencies have direct relationships with publishers. Direct relationships has always been the intent.”

Two keys to the continued evolution of programmatic are transparency issues with clients regarding supply chain costs and getting smarter about programmatic planning. The latter issue has its roots in the genesis of agency trading desks.

“Essentially you had a separate unit and this budget is kind of thrown over the fence at that unit and no one’s really thinking about programmatic planning or audience-driven planning,” Pagliuca says. “The implication was programmatic was just a line item on the media plan rather than actually planning within programmatic.”

Pagliuca welcomes header bidding, noting that many direct buys do not happen in the programmatic marketplace. This year, Accuen is focused on migrating a lot of its direct IO buys into programmatic.

“Header bidding facilitates that in a way that we weren’t able to do before,” she says. “Being able to have first look to premium inventory without actually having a passback. We’re eager for more publishers to adopt header bidding and have it as a critical part of our strategy.”

This video was recorded at the 4A’s Transformation conference in Miami.   For additional interviews, please visit this page. Beet.TV’s coverage of the 4A’s was sponsored by The Trade Desk.