Readying for the next era of programmatic advertising

The glass is more than half full when it comes to the future of programmatic, argues Mindshare UAE’s Scott Spurgeon

Image Credit: Mindshare

We are currently in a transition phase and it is an exciting time to be in our industry. Within less than 18 months third-party cookies will fully sunset. We are facing one of the biggest shifts in the digital marketing space since the introduction of programmatic trading. If we want to get ahead of it, the time to start changing is now


The first wave of data personalisation, delivered by programmatic advertising, transformed the digital media industry. The increased use of data and technology led to the ability to execute complex, connected campaigns and personalisation across audiences.

While message and user experience delivered success across all stages of the marketing funnel, with advanced measurement capabilities enabling realtime optimisation and deeper insights to adjust and fine tune future strategies

Across this ecosystem, over time, the consumers data became the product. Eventually, this was met with a rise in ad-blockers, regulation over privacy, consent, and data usage and a need to rethink how we approach the future.

Cookie data sits at the centre of the web ecosystem. With the end of the traditional model, all stages of programmatic ecosystem are impacted: Audience targeting and Insights, Data Enrichment, Media Inventory selection, Campaign management, Optimisation, Measurement, Analytics & Attribution. In the short term, reduced-ad effectiveness is likely, but I am confident of a positive long-term impact.


The reduction of hyper-targeting through behavioural data isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the programmatic industry. We’ll see a reduction in the negative by-products of programmatic: Fraudulent activity, spoofing, bots, cookie stuffing and the chasing of view-based conversions should decrease due to demand and tracking changes.

Google’s Topic API provides an option for interest targeting; on a broader level, it is powered by the browser and refreshes every three weeks. With some cookie data expirations previously set for over a year, it will provide greater accuracy to current consumer top of mind.

Combining this targeting approach with AI-driven conversational ads can go some way to filling the personalisation gap.

Contextual has seen greater advancements across the previous few years, while natural language processing has driven greater ability to identify and understand sentiment, mindset and motivations based on the content being consumed.

We can currently define consumer interest based on what they are reading, but the greater opportunity is intercepting across intent.

With the internet a key source of consumer research, it provides us with a way to get more advanced at intercepting across the evaluation phase of purchase funnel and shift traditional DCO triggers from audience interest to mindset, and advance matching relevancy on active consumption.

In other words, while deeper audience targeting is going away, there is something substantial and more holistic in the wings to take its place


At Mindshare, we foresee positive adjustments in the setup of campaigns; quality of media inventory becoming more focused; publisher data partnerships would have an even greater importance.

Modern structures and usage of AI to make decisions will continue to rise. The integration of offline data sets and 1st party data sources will be key to make best usage of advanced strategies.

Of course, there are larger challenges and barriers ahead. Many attribution models have become redundant in the new landscape. Website user experience will be crucial to gain opt-in. The difficulties across targeting and measurement underline the need to adopt new strategies.

Cookie-less environments like DOOH, Audio and Connected TV continue to mature; all are currently under-utilised and ripe to form integrated media strategies, as well as for us to reassess how we construct and measure performance.

Collaboration between agencies and client businesses will determine how successful we are in this next phase. Delivering success in the long-term will need alignment and a shift in thinking, big data modelling and econometric analysis.

Using predictive analytics and simulation, we can understand what happened in the past and calculate what could happen in future.

Didn’t I say it’s an exciting time

By Scott Spurgeon, Client Leadership Director at Mindshare UAE