It's nearly impossible today to read anything about digital marketing without programmatic marketing or big data being mentioned. Programmatic marketing is here to stay and will continue to dominate conversations in 2014. Let's take a look at what marketers will be talking about this year.
Programmatic marketing will help marketers reach their audiences beyond display advertising
If you still think of programmatic marketing as a technique for traditional display advertising, be prepared to change your mind in 2014. It's now possible to use programmatic targeting on both Facebook and Twitter. And even that's just the tip of the iceberg. Programmatic can also make emails and website landing pages more dynamic so that every user gets the exact right message at the exact right time.
Marketing silos will disappear and data owners will own marketing decisions
The lines between different groups within digital marketing teams are only going to get more blurry in 2014. We've already seen display grow increasingly similar to search marketing as programmatic techniques became more popular. And now that programmatic is spreading across social platforms, nothing will be very clear anymore. Does the social media team own Facebook Exchange, or does that fall under paid media? And, for that matter, is social lift paid or earned? While the media buyers are trying to grab credit for social lift, the social manager will no doubt be taking credit for successful native campaigns.
Audience fragmentation will continue
Audience fragmentation isn't a new challenge. But if it's hard to stay on top of all the different channels and devices now, it's only going to get harder in 2014. Over 50 per cent of Internet users will also be tablet users by 2015, eMarketer reports. And, to make things even trickier, marketers now have to think about how different channels and devices interact. Some 43 per cent of tablet owners now use their devices daily while watching TV, according to Nielsen data.
Flow advertising will give marketers the ability to reach an audience across multiple touch points throughout the customer journey
Flow advertising is still a relatively new approach, but you can expect to hear a lot more about it next year. With flow advertising, you're no longer thinking about your ad unit as a standalone, but rather about how the given unit works as part of a sequential chain of touch points. Imagine, for example, that you're running a pre-roll on YouTube.
Whether or not someone watches the entire ad is valuable data that can influence the next ad you show that same user. Maybe you only retarget the user who watches the full ad? Maybe you retarget both, but run a different creative for the user who watched the full ad? As always, rigorous testing – and real-time adjusting – will be key, but flow advertising has the power to make campaigns much more effective.
Native advertising will continue to resist programmatic techniques
It's fun to think about native advertising working with programmatic techniques. And plenty of smart people are now working on making this dream a reality in 2014. But, simply put, true native advertising isn't likely to scale via automated buying and selling. Native programs work best when they're customised for a particular publisher's voice and audience. And customization and scaling don't exactly go hand-in-hand.
Content marketing will continue to grow
Expect those brands that have been waiting on the sidelines to finally take the plunge into content marketing in 2014. Now that consumers pay so much attention to a brand's ideas, more and more companies will need in-house reporters and editors who can bring the brand's voice and ideas to life.
Mobile and video advertising will continue to improve
In 2013, Facebook showed the world that mobile advertising can bring in plenty of profit when properly harnessed. Now it looks as though the rest of the marketing world is beginning to catch up. Expect to see more RTB units and rich media ads on mobile in 2014. Programmatic targeting on video, meanwhile, is already taking off. And it's only going to get bigger in the next year.
Measurement and insights will continue to be the foundation for testing and improving incrementally
At the heart of the programmatic movement is the idea that data can make advertising more personalised, and, therefore more efficient and effective. And the only way to appreciate those benefits is through careful measurements. In recent years, the power of programmatic display has been increasingly recognised as marketers have worked through new and better approaches to measurement, such as view-through attribution. As programmatic spreads across social in 2014, expect even more attention to measurements.
Cookies aren't going away any time soon
Sure, cookies might one day be a thing of the past. But it won't happen in 2014. After all, if you want to take part in the programmatic revolution today, there's no getting around the use of third-party cookies. And there's also no getting around the fact that cookies and RTB are big business –FBX alone is thought to be making Facebook a cool billion per year. So, yes, everyone in the industry will be happy to see a better technology come along, a technology that can put everyone at ease about privacy concerns. But, until then, expect cookies to stick around.
The CTO and CIO will become marketers' best allies
Chief marketing officers (CMOs) have always worked with chief financial officers (CFOs) and sales teams. Those are important relationships. But when it comes to data-driven programmatic marketing, CMOs also need good relationships with chief technology officers (CTOs) and chief information officers (CIOs). After all, the CTO and CIO oversee the technology and data. Marketers who need the latest and greatest platforms will want all the Cs on their sides.
So, what's the big takeaway? Programmatic might be here to stay, but what programmatic looks like by the end of next year might be very different from what it looks like today. The good news is that these are largely positive developments that should benefit publishers, marketers, and consumers alike. And so while change is not always fun, in this case, you can count on good times ahead.
Ben Plomion is vice-president of marketing at programmatic advertising platform Chango