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Programmatic reporting lags

News, 08 January 2015

REDWOOD CITY, CA: Programmatic may be the new normal in media buying, but its reporting and analytics remain resolutely stuck in the old normal, an industry figure has claimed.

Anand Das, co-founder and CTO of PubMatic, the programmatic advertising platform, wrote in the company's just published 2015 Programmatic Outlook Report that it was one of the ironies of the programmatic age that its results were measured using tools more appropriate to the past decade or even the past century.

"A lot of media planning is done in Excel," he said. "Some non-programmatic media buys still are completed using fax machines."

The scale and complexity of the programmatic ecosystem, he argued, was outgrowing the ability of humans to keep up with it.

"Advertisers and publishers could use programmatic to be more adaptive and responsive – making real-time changes to strategy based on up-to-the-minute data and insights – but the tools to help manage and understand this data are not nearly as advanced as the platform itself."

Not only was reporting data several hours or even a full day behind the execution, it was not always available in the form needed by the user.

Most media reporting was still done manually when what was really needed were machines to comb through the data and "produce insights and guidance of a quality approaching that of an expert human".

And Das also argued that it was not as though the necessary algorithms had yet to be devised.

"The ones that recommend movies and books for you on Amazon and Netflix can come to bear onto help you make better decisions about your programmatic strategies," said Das.

For 2015, he expected there would be a shift ways from information-based programmatic reporting towards machine-driven prescriptive analytics which could be easily integrated into advertising and publishing processes.

"If we can close the gap between data, insight and action," Das concluded, "we will be able to tap into the speed and flexibility of our technology in an even more meaningful way."

Data sourced from PubMatic; additional content by Warc staff