Brands, suppliers and agencies are gradually realising that the advantages of programmatic advertising online can be translated to video. However they acknowledge that, as an ad strategy, it is very much in its infancy and little understood. For a small group, it has become their mission to bring marketers and suppliers together to generate understanding and ultimately, grow the sector.
It's hard to move around any advertising conference or symposium and not be met with a large proportion of attendees proclaiming that programmatic is the next big thing. However, it you want to be considered really cutting edge, programmatic video is where it's at.
A select group of experts who have a handle on the topic gathered at AdWeek Europe 2015 to share their knowledge and to educate the industry.
Lucia Mastromauro, Head of Platform Sale at DoubleClick, states: "We try to help connect as much as we can, whether it's brand to Supply Side Platform or agency to supplier. We bring together planners who don't understand programmatic and we walk them through it." This includes developing technology for video across all formats and creating workshops to educate planners around what programmatic video can deliver.
We try to help connect as much as we can, whether it's brand to Supply Side Platform, or agency with supplier to source inventory.
She adds that education shouldn't stop at the inner circle, insisting that she does similar work with brand managers too. These people may not have much to do with programmatic video on a day to day basis but; "At least they can plan in a data-driven manner."
Programmatic video is certainly getting some high level attention with Adam Hopkinson, Commercial Director of publisher Ziff Davis insisting: "We are getting C-Suite level buy-in". While Adam has seen interest predominantly from the gaming sector, programmatic video looks set to become mainstream in short order thanks to major verticals expressing an interest.
"Last year Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) decided this was very important and large, global brands from financial services and apparel are doing interesting things" reveals Lucia. One such brand happy to take on a pioneering role is Nestle. Gawain Owen, its Marketing Communications Digital Lead, isn't just keen on programmatic video, he is putting his company's money where his mouth is.
"Video can be monetised and we want to pay for it," he enthuses, adding: "Bring on a higher price." Gawain isn't needlessly spendthrift. He insists that companies in a leading position need to invest in new technologies to develop the market and notes that there is no need for programmatic video to become a race to the bottom in terms of price.
Quality inventory will be the key to getting buy-in from marketers.
Supplier will have to ensure premium inventory is both brand safe and brand appropriate. Gawain expresses concern that 'waterfalling' means video buy for a complete brand fit could ultimately cascade down to a third choice product with far lower relevancy.
Equally, long held traditions in media buying mean that video inventory is still swallowed up before being offered to programmatic: "Give me the opportunity", Gawain pleads.
Many of the concerns across programmatic as a whole prevail - securing premium content, brand safe contexts, value for money and avoiding fraud are just a few of the questions yet to be fully answered. However there are signs that these issues could resolve rapidly, thanks to the unique way clients, publishers, agencies and platforms are uniting to drive the programmatic video agenda.
"It's a partnership. I have log-ins for everything and if I see a campaign has dipped I can call up the desk and ask why and then see it rise again. I'm not there to catch them out - the sector is collaborative. I can call at any time," Gawain reveals, although he admits this free exchange of information is: "A novelty at the moment."
Lucia admits: "Getting inventory has been harder than we'd hoped so we have actually gone into the market to have conversations. Publishers, especially broadcasters, are still very fearful. In many cases their technology isn't programmatic. But when the client sees the DSP and the transparency it allows, publishers will catch up on that."
Fearful broadcasters or no, Lucia is not holding back on her predictions stating that the next three years won't just see an evolution in programmatic video. Quite simply, she expects to see: "Programmatic TV".