Why The Future of Programmatic Looks Bright


Carat's National Head of Digital, Sarah James, shares her thoughts on the future of programmatic in the Australian market. Hint: It's so bright, you better reach for your shades.


Programmatic technology is a hot topic at the moment, with much being written about it in recent months. It’s no wonder, given Australia leads the world in programmatic uptake, with its popularity growing exponentially since the introduction of Google’s Doubleclick AdExchange – Australia’s first major programmatic display platform – in 2010.

According to the Standard Media Index data, media agency spend via ad exchanges has grown from $10m in 2011, to just under $200m in 2014. Despite the dramatic headway made, it appears ad-land might still be nursing some negative sentiment – let’s call them teething issues – around programmatic.

When people think of programmatic, they think the buying of ad inventory in real time, which is absolutely correct. Unfortunately they also think of exchanges that offer long tail or remnant inventory, representing little to no value for the advertiser – essentially, the leftovers.

There’s the kicker.

At a basic level, programmatic technology is wonderful, as it enables us to buy individual, addressable audiences at scale via automated mechanisms. It is a much more efficient way of connecting supply and demand; the media is bought either direct or via open exchanges, allowing real time bidding. Even better, it allows us to overlay first, second, and third party data, enabling us to better target our consumer.

Where it starts to run into an image problem, however, is when demand-side platforms or agency trading desks access media sources from exchanges where the inventory is long to mid-tier.

It’s worth noting that this is still an absolutely valid media source. Where I think programmatic gets really interesting, though, is when we start talking about accessing premium inventory.

In the past, we have had to buy premium inventory direct from publishers, utilising their technology stacks to overlay the most relevant targeting. Increasingly however, we are seeing the emergence of premium ad exchanges in market, such as Fairfax and Nine Entertainment’s premium mobile ad exchange, APEX, which launched earlier this year.

The Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) has also launched its own premium publisher private exchange, Camelot. Developed by Amplifi and the first of its kind in Australia, Camelot gives Carat guaranteed access to premium inventory programmatically, from the likes of Mi9, Yahoo, NewsCorp, Fairfax, MCN, and Mediamotive.  Further to that, we can also overlay data to increase the value of the inventory to our clients. 

This is a ground-breaking development for us and a very exciting time at the agency. Carat clients have already begun using the exchange and we’ve collected some strong insights so far, which are being applied back to optimise the supply during the campaign period.

Outside the core benefits of overlaying data to one supply side, Camelot also helps drive automation of workflow, which is always great news at a busy agency. It removes the manual process of booking media and allows our planning and buying teams to focus on the creation of holistic, integrated campaigns, ultimately driving better business outcomes for our clients.

Watch this space!

^Back to Top