Last week’s Programmatic – Live from the Trade Floor conference, presented by IAB Canada, was a high-speed day abuzz with the lively exchange of ideas and conversation, and industry insights. The main topic of discussion: programmatic media buying and the ways in which marketers can and must adapt to be able to successfully reach audiences, at scale.

From learning to understand growing demographics that are reshaping the way media is consumed, to the impact of performance in programmatic, and finally the importance of data tracking, analysis, and flow – there was a lot to learn.

If you missed it, here’s the top five takeaways:

1. Mobile Ad Data is Characterized by Millennials’ Behavior

We all know that everyone is on mobile these days. The stats tell all; in 2016 the average American adult spends over three hours each day on their phones according to eMarketer (other studies have reported up to 4.7 hours per day). The message to marketers has been loud and clear: your audience is on mobile, and you must be too.

And yet according to Tony Marlow, Head of Sales Insights at Yahoo, marketers are still drastically under-using mobile. As consumers increasingly shift towards app usage, Marlow explains that understanding that mobile ad data is characterized by the behavioral patterns of millennials is also essential to marketers.

Millennials process the world’s information differently. They’re better multitaskers, and better at filtering the data that’s most relevant to them. Most significantly however, Millennials are open to using their network’s group knowledge in a tribal way – before making a buying decision.

So what does this mean for programmatic advertisers? For Marlow, mobile ad data and user behavior must inform our programmatic buying decisions to ensure marketers make better connections with audiences in an automated, tailored, relevant, and especially personal manner. Combining automation with customized messaging is the biggest challenge.

2. Creatives Must be Data-Driven in a Programmatic World

Marketers love programmatic; it makes media buying more efficient and perhaps more effective. Programmatic enables advertisers to deliver targeted, customized, and contextually relevant ads, it also offers an opportunity to get smarter creatives in front of consumers.

Adam Green, Agency Business Development Lead at Google, explained there is too much of a gap in the process of how creatives are created in traditional agency methods, which doesn’t necessarily work for the developing digital process.

A lot of data exists between teams that may all be working on the same campaign, but there isn’t enough communication as planners, insights, and creatives work in disconnected silos. Green argues that we must improve data literacy across entire companies at every level and across every department to market better. Doing so will foster data-driven thinking, down to the creatives level. By using programmatic data in service of the creative vision and, finally, by driving a collaborative approach across departments, we can move towards delivering smarter, self-assembling ads.

3. In the Future, All Digital Marketing will be Classified as ‘Performance’

Speaking on the perfect partnership of programmatic and performance marketing, Brian Gleason, Global CEO of Xaxis, also boldly stated that in the future, all digital marketing will be classified as “performance.”

Performance-based marketing empowers advertisers to not only be more selective about the type of outcomes they wish to achieve in their campaigns, but also to only pay when those specific outcomes are actually achieved.

Combining programmatic and performance will allow marketers to focus on driving sales, and will result in targeting precisely the right person, at the right time, in the right place, with the right message and pushing for an action to be completed instantaneously. Indeed, the best part of performance marketing is its transactional accountability – your key performance indicator – and that means measurable return on investment.

The current shift towards programmatic performance with guaranteed pricing will allow advertisers to amplify their campaigns with no upfront risks, while benefiting from the reach and targeting capabilities of programmatic across screens. That risk is being absorbed by ad tech companies who are leveraging the risks they are taking to guarantee high performing media.

4. Approach Your Audience as Human Beings.

What marketers often forget after crunching the numbers and assessing the mountains of data we now have at our fingertips, is the fact that behind those stats and figures are live human consumers. Media iQ’s Head of Media Insights, Jennifer Clark, reminded marketers to approach their audience as human beings.

To do so, Clark suggests following the data flow of programmatic from offline real-time moments to online. Take for example the Jose Bautista bat flip (now dubbed “the most ostentatious bat flip in M.L.B. history” by the New York Times) in that famous seventh inning Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers game in 2015. It was a real time moment that commanded the eyes of Canadians across the nation, a moment when audiences were emotionally and socially synced.

As Clark puts it, marketers must also sync with audiences socially. By considering external and offline behavioral data and seeing audiences as human in their programmatic buying strategies, marketers can successfully capitalize on emotional moments to supercharge their digital campaigns.

5. Integrate Mobile and OOH Strategies

Although the majority of strategic discussions today focus on the online ad world – from digital, to mobile, to programmatic – Out of Home (OOH) advertising is still relevant, and is adapting to the new world order. Out of Home is going digital (DOOH). Dynamic messaging through digital boards is a game changer for this traditional channel.

According to the Director of Mobile at Cieslok, Mike Blanchard, while questions about tracking and measurability have been raised about traditional OOH practices, the current shift towards integration of DOOH with mobile strategies should dispel any mystery around the geographic impact of OOH ads.

Though we spend much of our lives online, 70% of our time is also spent OOH. The “always connected” consumer therefore presents big opportunities to marketers. With OOH influence synced and layered over mobile geo-targeted ads, another actionable touch point is created, which also increases brand engagement in the real world. Syncing mobile geo-targeting with DOOH executions will also help advertisers to understand the ways consumers interact around each OOH ad location potentially down to individual store visits and purchases.

BONUS: Live Tweets from IAB’s Programmatic – Live from the Trade Floor

Programmatic – Live from the Trade Floor was a big success in driving thought leadership and insights in the programmatic industry. If we can take anything away from the key learnings, it is this one resounding message: the future of marketing is automated, performance focused, and data-driven.


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