Pioneer [paɪənɪəʳ] Verb 1. To take the lead or initiative in; participate in the development of; 2. Open up an area or prepare a way; Noun 3. Someone who helps to open up a new line of research or technology or art.

There’s a reason I’m quoting the dictionary at you and not just because I want to help expand your vocabulary. A lot of the conversations I’ve had recently have centered around this one word and what it actually means to break new ground in business today.

In times of disruption and innovation, there’s a temptation to stand still and continue with what feels familiar, regardless of whether that’s still as effective as it used to be. There needs to be a collective shift in thinking from ‘wait and see’ to ‘take the initiative and lead’ in order to be successful today. Adopting this pioneer mindset is crucial when it comes to embracing programmatic and using it to its full potential. It’s not the future, it’s the here and now; an essential component to your digital strategy that will take you and your business to the next level.

Becoming better digitally doesn’t just happen overnight, it takes working with the right partners to challenge and guide you, helping you understand the true value that this can yield if you don’t hold back. To become a pioneer in your field, calculated risks are a necessity and new technology must be welcomed rather than feared. But, I’m a realist too. I know there is no point in telling you to abandon traditional thinking in its entirety, but equally there needs to be a conversation that puts programmatic higher up the checklist, rather than using it as an afterthought.

There’s always been resistance to change, and with every new data ‘scandal’ that hits the headlines, it’s another nail in the coffin for progress. This hesitation to think programmatic-first comes from some misguided and outdated perceptions about its capabilities and place in today’s advertising landscape. Buzzwords don’t always mean what you think they do either, they are used in the worst possible context to crank up anxiety and provide an excuse to stay still, rather than evolve. New things will always come up for us to deal with, that’s the nature of the ad world – it’s ever-changing. There’s a fine line between realism and optimism, and between pessimism and untruth, but our responsibility lies in ensuring publishers are fully aware of what’s going on, making them a part of the process to ensure a very brand safe and transparent environment overall.

Publishers need to play their part too; they need to be fearless in their approach and understand programmatic beyond what they read or by listening to hearsay. Events like our Programmatic Matters series act as a guidepost, showing the true value, dispelling the myths and providing solutions that make sense for their bottom line. I read an article recently that  revealed brands aren’t actually spending less on programmatic, rather they are switching gears from the public ad exchanges to their more privatized counterparts, in an effort to mitigate brand safety concerns. This shows an important shift in recognizing the key role that the private marketplace has in the ecosystem today, both from a user and brand safety perspective, and further highlights the value in what we do.

But, we can’t do it alone; it’s a partnership that needs to start on even ground, working side by side with our publisher partners for a more profitable and productive future. The sooner that programmatic isn’t labelled as a ‘nice to have’, or ‘the next big thing’, the better. Mitigating the risks while capitalizing on opportunities in this space is the goal for everyone. You need to adapt, accept and become a part of what programmatic offers to move forward and maximize potential.

Our role is to sell audiences, not media and in order for us all to make money, we need to work together. At the end of the day, it’s a numbers game and whoever has the better reach, combined with transparency will win it all. The takeaway is simple: get on board or get left behind, because programmatic is here, it’s happening and it’s changing how the entire advertising landscape looks.

Written by Ayman Haydar,
Chief Executive Officer