This post is by Grant Allaway, Group Managing Director at ad2one.

Programmatic – it's the buzzword of the moment, but there's a reason for that. All sorts of brands have publicly declared their commitment to programmatic recently, from eBay to Coca-Cola to Kellogg's. It seems that brands who weren't keen to use programmatic are now on board – we know this through the recent launch of our premium marketplace, where brands can operate as publishers in their own right. But why is this and how can publishers ensure they get the most out of programmatic?

Firstly, addressing the issue of why publishers are suddenly joining the programmatic party, recently questions around brand safety and best practice have been answered in more detail, meaning that issues around inventory quality and transparency are no longer as much of a concern.

Secondly, where the programmatic debate is currently focused on how brands can effectively engage with consumers through automated trading i.e. using their ad spend to reach the people they need to, the other side which is not being considered as much is the revenue opportunity this is opening up for publishers.

However, publishers still need to be cautious when embracing programmatic. Most premium publishers have solid revenue streams to protect and they have spent many years investing in their product to fine tune their audience. They need to ensure that they are not cannibalising their direct revenue stream in order to run programmatically. Programmatic trading is just one strand of digital advertising and key to using it successfully and to its full potential is by ensuring a joined up approach, with a sales team who can view the whole picture and make informed decisions regarding which brands to work with and in what way.

Another key point for the industry to understand is that programmatic does not mean cheap advertising at all – it is simply a different part of the digital advertising landscape. That goes back to why we launched our premium marketplace, as it offers the best combination of premium direct and premium programmatic. Publishers already involved include Currys, PC World, Jamie Oliver, Square Meal, Delia Online, and Transport for London.

The best way for a brand to embrace programmatic as a publisher is to integrate it into a fully rounded holistic sales operation which can protect and enhance the brand through all the sales channels open to it. Programmatic alone will not serve the needs of a premium publisher. Experienced sales operations will know how and where to apply the strengths of programmatic within the sales mix, without risk to the publisher and with the maximum return in both revenue and profile.

Publishers that embrace programmatic in the right way over the next twelve months as a means to further develop their digital advertising sales capabilities will achieve true competitive advantage in these dynamic times.

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