CANNES — It has spent the last couple of years up-ending, shaking up and revolutionizing the buying and selling of advertising – all without, it sometimes seems, the industry ever agreeing what it really means. But could “programmatic” advertising now be waning?

After a year in which executives have begun to apologetically refer to “the ‘P’ word”, we are now seeing some go back to basics. That’s the switch Rubicon Project is making.

“The lexicon shifts because the approach is becoming more holistic,” Rubicon marketplace development SVP Jay Sears tells Beet.TV in this video interview.

“Ad holding companies and operating agencies are starting to really organize to get a holistic view across orders and auctions … and across the mobile app world, desktop world and all the different display and video formats. We’re even seeing the emergence of automation around native as well. In many ways, that’s the holy grail – an open marketplace and private deals.”

EMarketer reckons two thirds of US display advertising is also transacted programmatically, rising to 72% or $27.47bn in 2017.

But, in a separate interview, Beet.TV found more evidence the practice, as named, may be splintering.

“Programmatic is losing its meaning,” Mediavest ad tech and platforms EVP Oleg Korenfeld said. “In the end, it’s precision. Programmatic is technical activation, automation is how you actually do it.”

As the world of opportunities and challenges in front of brands expands ever-greater, the core concept of automation seems like a worthwhile, functional touchstone to bear in mind.

“Advertisers are starting to get very savvy about how they approach automation… how to manage not just their trading relationship but also the wave of data that’s coming in with the convergence of march and ad-tech,” Sears adds. “CRMs are coming online so that they can have very precise conversations with customers and folks they imagine will be their customers in the future.”

This video was produced  by Beet.TV at the Rubicon Project’s Rooftop Summit on Automated Advertising at Cannes Lions 2016.   The series is sponsored by the Rubicon Project.   For more videos from the series, please visit this page.