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The Best And Worst Programmatic Predictions Of 2014

We’re awash in 2015 predictions, but are we so quick to forget 2014?

Luckily, we have a set of programmatic predictions for 2014 to look back on. Some were spot on, some way off and others a blend of right and wrong.

Leading the list was a prediction from The Exchange Lab’s CEO, James Aitken. He said that large-scale global brands would create in-house trading desks in 2014 and beyond.

The prediction was spot on, as the “in-house trend” became one of the most visible themes of 2014, and now more advertisers believe that having a deeper in-house knowledge of digital ad tech is more important than working with the most talented media agency.

We also had a prediction that viewability would be a “wake-up call” in 2014, causing transparency to take on new importance. Viewability probably should have been a wake-up call, but the industry decided to hit the snooze button all year instead.

A recent MediaPost Weekend recapped vieawbility’s year. Rates continued to tumble, although viewability was being used as a currency and dominating headlines like never before — and now viewability is the industry’s chief concern heading into 2015.

We also had the prediction that more publishers would make their premium inventory available through programmatic means — a safe prediction emboldened by a caveat: that the premium inventory would be made available outside of “safe” private exchanges.

We’ll call this prediction half right. More publishers did make more premium inventory available via programmatic in 2014, but the “premium” publishers and brands did not breakaway from the safety of private marketplaces. Rather, the industry is flockingtoward the private model.

Others predicted that native and programmatic would converge in 2014, a prediction that mostly came to fruition. About 20% of the market is currently using programmatic for native advertising, and this was the year that a number of native RTB ad exchanges launched.

Perhaps the most off-mark prediction was that “programmatic” would become less of a buzzword in 2014 because the industry was set to become more comfortable with the technology, leading them to talk about it less.

Instead, “programmatic” picked up steam in 2014 and was ultimately voted “word of the year” by ANA members.