Programmatic is the present and future of digital marketing but, as promising as it appears, its rise has been rather embarrassing.

First, programmatic as a term is poorly used, thrown around wildly to define just about everything. All programmatic does at its core is automate processes. This can be for speed, for dynamic agility, for expense control or for a multitude of other reasons. Retargeting or audience extension aren’t inherently programmatic but are often labeled programmatic.

Second, programmatic started at the bottom of the barrel and stayed there. The draw for marketers of spending mere cents per thousand and getting suitable metrics was too great for a concerted effort toward premium quality. That’s why private marketplaces still lag. PMPs aren’t the answer to all of the programmatic ills, but some will be improved/nearly erased if the list of sites is smaller, relevant and quality.

Third, the technology supporting programmatic is still unwieldy and expensive. One third of the money lands in the hands of the middlemen and consolidation looks like it won’t ever fully happen. Maybe it can’t because technology keeps growing at the entrepreneur level, leaving the big brands in their dust … or endlessly compiling their M&A target list.

Programmatic is a crazy place but often an effective place for marketers. But is demands further study. We’ll discuss all of this at Rooster’s next Wake-Up Webcast is Sept. 19 at noon. Check out the panelists and sign up now. MORE

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