This post is by Graham Wylie, senior director EMEA & APAC marketing at AppNexus.

I doubt this is the last year that the annual advertising industry gathering in Cannes will be billed as the 'Festival of Creativity'; but with data and technology sharply in focus across the opening days of this year's event, it feels as though creativity is taking on a much broader definition.

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Yet as with all things new, it's hard to get good data about this evolution as it happens. All looks clear in hindsight, but few of us have the luxury of waiting for a few years before deciding how we are going to respond.

In 2014, AppNexus worked with Warc and IAB Europe on a research study that explored the relationship between programmatic and creativity. Prior to this study, all the data on programmatic had focused on the volume and value of digital media buying; there was very little information about why companies were adopting programmatic and how it was being used.

The 2014 project received over 600 responses from agencies, brands and publishers in Europe, the largest study ever done in this area. The data showed clearly that while creativity in its conventional sense remains important, the use of data and technology to improve audience targeting is now seen as more critical to digital campaign success. Because programmatic drives better targeting, it is primed to be adopted rapidly and the vast majority of respondents expected it to grow in significance for their business and the wider industry.

It was not all good news for the industry, however, as the research revealed a significant disconnect between agencies and their clients around their level of understanding of programmatic and how businesses were using it. While more than 80% of media agencies were trading programmatically, 30% of clients had no working definition of what it was. I suspect that this disconnect is behind much of the industry's recent discussions around programmatic, transparency and trust.

Programmatic now accounts for more than half of digital display advertising in some markets and continues to grow rapidly worldwide. Here in Cannes, it is being discussed in depth and anecdotal evidence suggests that clients have closed the knowledge gap, with some even suggesting their increased confidence in this area is a contributing factor to the unprecedented volume of media accounts in review at present.

AppNexus is therefore once again partnering with Warc and multiple IAB's around the world to revisit the original study, and expand it across Europe, APAC and the US to dig into the current issues that affect 'why' and 'how' programmatic is being adopted by agencies, brands and publishers. The research will return to some of the same themes we explored last year with the addition of new questions that are explicitly focused on the rapid growth of mobile and video and the perception that programmatic has something of a trust issue in certain markets.

Once again the survey will be managed by Circle Research, a leading independent specialist B2B research company, and the voice of the Warc subscribers will be vital to gaining an accurate view of the current state of programmatic. Results will be available in September.

To take part use one of the links below, and receive a free pre-publication copy of the final report: