AOL UK unveils Programmatic Futures: Where Culture Meets Code

AOL UK unveils Programmatic Futures: Where Culture Meets Code

An industry-defining study of the human role in programmatic trading

New research released today by AOL UK shows strong evidence that the rise of programmatic trading will serve to enhance creativity and story-telling across the advertising industry.

AOL conducted a comprehensive study on this much talked about advertising trend with some of the UK's biggest media owners, trading desks, industry bodies and publishers. AOL's report addresses many of the myths surrounding programmatic, such as the suggestion that automation will replace the human role in ad sales, and provides industry-informed explanations for why the tide has already turned on both buy and sell sides.

As programmatic enters a new chapter, AOL reveals there remains a skills gap, but that the upskilling of an industry is in full swing and the diversity of skills in new appointments is already apparent.

These findings all revolve around a fundamental step-change in the way agencies, brands and publishers are working, with deeper more collaborative relationships being forged around creative strategy and data analysis.

The programmatic age is already upon us, and AOL's report shows that the industry is moving fast to keep up with the rate of change. And while there is some trepidation, the industry as a whole is ready to embrace this new future together.

Key findings from Programmatic Futures

• The use of data to target and track consumers and deliver tailored marketing messages has opened up new forms of creativity, such as site retargeting, dynamic creative and sequential story-telling

• Programmatic is already allowing people to focus on higher value formats and campaigns such as native advertising

• The human role in programmatic: programmatic is nothing without human reasoning and creativity

• People are not becoming obsolete. Instead, skills are evolving. Rather than building an industry of specialists working in silos, programmatic is enabling people to become generalists

• The biggest barrier remains the skills gap

• The rate of programmatic growth is leading to greater collaboration with agencies forging deeper relationships with clients and publishers

• The role of the agency is changing as they are brought closer to the marketing teams and act as more of a strategic partner

• And the improvement is not just confined to client-agency relationships on the buy-side. Programmatic also seems to be changing the dynamic between the buy-side and the sell-side, leading to increased trust, more honesty and a better working relationship

• AOL introduces guidelines for successful programmatic. These include better training, collaboration, and testing and optimisation.

Key Statistics from Programmatic Futures

• When asked whether the ability to target and track consumers through programmatic technology is leading to new forms of creativity and storytelling in advertising, 47% agreed or strongly agreed, compared to 24% who disagreed or strongly disagreed

• Overall the industry believes that programmatic is enhancing creativity, with almost half of respondents (48%) to our research seeing it as having a positive effect, rising to 56% of buy-side respondents. This is compared to 28% of the industry who said programmatic inhibits creativity and 24% who said it makes no difference

• Nearly a third (29%) already agree that the time freed up by automation is allowing them to focus more on higher-value formats and campaigns such as native advertising

• 57% of people surveyed disagreed that programmatic is replacing the role of the human in advertising

• 35% feel that the skills-gap caused by programmatic is the biggest barrier to progress

• Over a quarter (26%) of heavy users of programmatic said that it helped them to spend more time with clients

• 65% of people we spoke to agreed or strongly agreed that they spend more time now talking about strategy and audiences as a result of programmatic

Download the full report here.