In today’s unpredictable environment, the unconscious belief that the current state’s pace of change will reflect the future state is now more inaccurate than ever.
Change is not only constant, but accelerating at a pace that is hard for most to comprehend in their day to day. Over the past five-plus years, we have seen programmatic move from a nascent, long-tail methodology to the dominant approach being used across all media.
Along the way we have wiggled, pivoted and innovated in ways that have arguably made a bigger impact on the media world than ever before. I see three trends that will significantly shape the next five years:
Mass Consolidation And Retraction
The word programmatic has dominated these pages for the past five years, and there have been enormous improvements in how the industry approaches it. We have moved from the open exchange to a more balanced approach which includes private marketplaces, programmatic direct and a futures model of automated guaranteed. At the same time, we have increased fraud detection, made great strides in viewability and leveled the playing field via the header tag.
So, what’s next? I believe it will be consolidation. Unfortunately, there are simply too many undifferentiated platforms currently in the space, and in reality, the winners have already been determined. The ad tech space has now evolved into a share game where the big will get bigger and the small will continue to get smaller – either through market contraction or consolidation. Add into the mix the acquirer’s need for efficiency and the picture isn’t pretty.
After all of the banter over the last few years about the overcomplexity of the Lumascape, this will be the year that the congestion will begin to contract exponentially – with the unfortunate consequence of a lot of industry people out of work. This will accelerate in Q1 as many in the space are expecting Q4 to save their year. It won’t, which will force a long-overdue recalibration in January. This shedding has already started but will accelerate in Q1 and continue throughout the year.
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