We asked the industry: When you first heard about programmatic, what did you think it was?
Client Services Director at Publicis Middle East
When I first heard about the term ‘programmatic,’ I thought this was it, we’re finished. We’re really going to be replaced by the machines. Instinct will be completely replaced with hard data and there will be no more room for subjectivity. It’s the death of advertising as we know it. But denial is always our first human response. Upon closer inspection, I understood that in fact, efficiency and creativity can coexist (but don’t tell that to my creative, they’re still grieving over TV).
Now back to programmatic. The best explanation is the one I gave my 10-year old son. You have five cookies to sell, and ten minutes to do it in a room of 60 people. You can either go from person to person, spending ten seconds per person with your amazing cookie poster, or you can send in a robot that has ten different posters. This robot will have profiles of every person in the room – including which ones have money and can afford to buy a cookie, which have bought a cookie in the past, which ones are hungry, which ones are looking for a deal, and other such information.
The robot will then show the different profiles, a different relevant message. For example, the person looking for a deal would be shown the poster: “Buy now, price goes up in ten minutes” and the hungry person would get the following poster: “Wouldn’t you like to bite into this gooey, chocolate filled cookie right now?” Do you think your ten minutes will be better spent by you or by the robot?
Of course, that’s vastly oversimplified, but exactly what it is: using data to better target and serve relevant messages to different profiles. Ensuring that the ads you serve get you a better ROI. The automation process for buying those ad spaces is what programmatic is at a glance.
VP Luxury Brand Marketing & Management EMEA at Marriott International
Programmatic tends to sound complex, and when I first heard about it, I honestly didn’t fully comprehend what it stood for. However, one aspect that was clear was the word itself being a combination of two: program and automatic. At the very first instance, it meant using programs or software to make automated yet informed decisions for ad buying, ad management and measuring reach and effectiveness.
Of course, over a period of time, one has come to understand the concept a lot better. Simultaneously the concept itself has also evolved to better cater to the changing consumer landscape. Programmatic can help in understanding audiences and their behavior, and as such better plan and optimize strategies to make campaigns more effective for both budget and eventual reach. Today, programmatic is an integral part of our campaigns, especially when we live in an era of one-to-one conversations.
Media Director at Magna Global
At the beginning, I thought it was related to the display ads being programmed automatically, to appear in a certain way, at a certain time, similar to other digital channels. But obviously and very quickly, I was amazed at what it can do, and how quickly technology overall is moving and making campaigns more efficient and successful.
Associate Director at PHD
When I was first introduced to programmatic, I understood it to be a way to buy the same direct IO (single-echelon inventory optimization) inventory but cheaper, in addition to giving the marketeer more control with the technology. In its infancy, there was a lack of understanding of the infrastructure, advanced targeting, optimization and measurement programmatic offered. Over time, with education and hands-on experience, I’ve managed to provide better-tailored media solutions, with the insights garnered from programmatic, to drive efficiency and deliver optimal results for my clients.
Platforms & Capabilities Lead – Programmatic at OMG
My initial perception was that programmatic was a complex landscape that enhances digital media transaction methodology between publishers and brands. It was smart and forward-thinking. The foundation to drive effectiveness and eliminate wastage hones in on personalized targeting and the ability to close the loop on digital efforts was becoming a reality for marketers. With any early stage adoption, there were challenges. In this case, it was measurement and brand safety, limited visibility on audience performance and high-level targeting. Yet, it was still an exciting and perfect time for this shift. It brought on more insights and empowered marketeers to challenge the status quo more than ever before.
Fast track to today, the programmatic landscape has become a more straightforward technology ecosystem. Brands are now able to see the impact programmatic has on their business and marketeers can leverage richer quality data and customized bidding and optimization algorithms. Ultimately, programmatic is critical to brands’ digital transformation journey and with the enrichment of their first-party data in a soon-to-be cookie-less space, it becomes the foundation of digital strategies.
Senior Ad Operations Manager at BPG MAX
I’m a very curious person by nature, especially when it comes to the world of marketing, advertising and branding. Whether it’s the latest in mobile technology, social media platform, etc., I’m instantly drawn towards it.
So, when I heard about programmatic advertising, I thought it was just another tool that some company had developed. But as soon as I heard about exchange-driven real-time bidding, which opened up another whole new way to target websites, I knew I wanted to learn more.
I was amazed and began to dig deep into what is now my bread and butter. Now, programmatic is part of each and every plan, be it a simple awareness plan or strictly geared towards performance.
Also, it’s becoming more and more sophisticated which is great for the ever-evolving digital ecosystem.
Account Executive at Definition
I first heard about programmatic a few months back, when facilitating an interview for our client, BackLite Media. I was always aware that algorithms are at the heart of pretty much everything we consume nowadays, but I found the detail and complexity behind the concept fascinating. There’s also a tightrope to balance here, since at its very core, programmatic can only function well through access to a mountain of data. Accumulating and utilizing this data ethically, on a mass scale, is a balance the industry will need to get spot on before programmatic really takes off.
Chief Commerce Officer and Managing Director at Liquid Retail
I first came across the concept of programmatic back at Saatchi around a decade ago, when looking at how we could use the principles of targeted communications for a big global automotive client. At that time, we were not just interested in the media play – how we could target our messages to the most relevant consumer – but we were also keen to explore how we could easily customize those messages to reflect known past consumer preferences and build better purchase momentum. Looking back, for me it was the start of the concept of personalization at scale using data, which more than a decade later, the whole industry still seems to be grappling with!
Associate performance director at Dentsu X
I moved into the world of digital advertising with a background in programming. When one of my colleagues mentioned that after search and social, we were going to be learning about programmatic, I quickly assumed that it was a new software program made for the advertising industry. Even though the basics of programmatic are similar to Google Display Network, if utilized fully with the help of DCO (Dynamic Creative Optimizations) and some advanced logic, for example, then programmatic stands as a very sophisticated digital advertising platform, unlike any other.
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