Over the past ten years, programmatic advertising has become the cornerstone of most online media strategies. By harvesting data, advertisers have been able to provide personalised messaging, which is more relevant to the user, and therefore more lucrative for both the advertiser and the publisher. The sheer volume of data companies could access allowed them to dynamically tailor their messaging to be more relevant to users than ever, with ads adapting in response to demographics, locations, devices, the time of day, and even the weather.
But recent regulation has limited the ability of publishers and advertisers to harvest and use this data, and it looks like increasingly strict laws are set to turn the industry on its head. So, just what does the future hold for programmatic advertising? In this article, I’ll explore a few of the potential outcomes we could see over the next few years.
The regulatory squeeze is starting to take effect
Data is the key to success for any programmatic campaign, and the raft of data protection legislation we’ve seen of late — such as GDPR — could be about to make customised advertising much trickier. It’s certainly true that, within the EU at least, there has been an intense regulatory squeeze on companies holding personal data. Companies that were able to freely harvest user data without consequence are now facing a regulatory roadblock that prevents most essential information from being used.
There will inevitably be work-arounds, which at the minute seem to be intrusive cookie acceptance notices, but I’d imagine over time (especially within the EU) it will become even harder to harvest so much user data. In my view, programmatic practices need to adapt to new technologies that will completely change the fundamental model of what programmatic advertising is. Otherwise, I think there is a finite amount of

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