Since the first banner ad was served in 1994, digital media has been on a steady course of evolution.

In the past 15 years, the ways in which digital media has been bought, sold and measured changed at a reasonable pace, making it fairly easy for advertisers and publishers to keep up with the latest trends. However, the last six years, specifically, have seen a rapid shift in the digital media ecosystem.

New technology-based solutions have continued to propagate in an effort to provide buyers and sellers with more efficient and effective ways to buy digital media, and the explosive growth of the Internet has provided publishers with an unprecedented amount of ad inventory.

To manage the massive scale of this digital adverting jungle, new technologies are now easing the process of buying and selling advertising through automation or, as it’s termed today, programmatic.

Providing Scale, Insight

The true value in programmatic isn’t in the automation, but in its ability to provide scale and insight. It also provides a means to merge together massive amounts of data from disparate sources, empowering marketers with an almost endless supply of information to communicate with their target audiences.

While all of this technology is remarkable, it can be overwhelming. In a world of artificial intelligence, algorithms and machine learning, how is the average marketer supposed to keep up?

Because of the complexity of programmatic, there has been some reticence by advertisers and publishers to fully embrace it. For them, it may seem easier to stick with what they know, but that is a shortsighted proposition. The future of advertising is programmatic. And the future is here.

So how does a marketer begin to break down, understand and leverage the advantages that programmatic provides?

Initial Step

First, marketers must recognize their organizational strengths and weaknesses, and determine if their teams have the tools and know-how to tackle programmatic in-house.

Programmatic advertising programs are highly technical and analytical, and the individuals who manage them are uniquely skilled to pull the right levers and make the right decisions on behalf of a brand. Weigh your options and consider if your in-house team is — or could be — savvy enough to deliver on your omnichannel business objectives. You may need to find an outside partner to help you navigate this constantly shifting landscape.