Advertising Debate Club: Will programmatic rule in 2029?

Advertising Debate Club (IAB and Blis) argue whether programmatic will rule in 2029 - Baggio Yin

“We’re always going to need moments that take your breath away.”

The greatness of advertising lies in its diversity of buying types: from “breath-taking” brand moments, to increasingly sophisticated middle to bottom-of-the-funnel targeting tactics. This was the winning persuasion that closed the first bi-monthly Advertising Debate Club of the year by a single point, standing in opposition to the session’s topic: Programmatic will be the only way we buy advertising 5 years from now.

“No one is denying that programmatic isn’t a big cut of what we do day-to-day in digital advertising,” said the opposition’s Hari Caulfield, group programmatic lead at Foxtel Group, including Foxtel, Kayo and Binge.

“But it is definitely not the only way to do it, because we’re always going to need moments that take your breath away.

“Advertising in its purest form is talking to the right person at the right time, and you can do that in a plethora of ways.”

The inaugural Advertising Debate Club of 2024, supported by the IAB, was held yesterday at the Talent office in Sydney’s CBD, with planning and buying platform blis sponsoring the evening. 

Sophie Gallagher, strategy director at CHEP Network, served as emcee and debate moderator.

See also: The Advertising Debate Club announces new team and partnership with Talent International

Opposition: Team Always Right

Joining Caulfield on the aptly self-titled team “Always Right” were Edward Ye, programmatic manager at dentsu, and Baggio Yin, programmatic executive at iProspect.

“Although programmatic is great, there are still [enough] lingering issues to sense that, in the next five years, we will not see programmatic overtake the whole market,” Ye said, citing ad fraud and invalid traffic as specific concerns.

 “We’re arguing that it’s a mixture of direct and programmatic,” Yin continued. “That’s the most effective way.”

“If we look at the Australian market, 97% of businesses I would consider small businesses, and they trade directly. Do we really see the 97% just completely eradicated in the next five years? I don’t think so.” 

Affirmative: Team Default

Making up the affirmative team were Caitlin Huskins, commercial director at Azerion JAPAC, Hillary Xu, senior DV360 Lead at Google, and Mediaweek’s chief growth officer, Ricky Chanana.

Together, team “Default” argued for the rapid adoption of programmatic in traditional media channels such as Out-of-Home (OOH) and Connected TV (CTV), the widespread transition from traditional Insertion Orders (IOs) to programmatic buys for efficiency, and the overarching acceleration of programmatic driven by AI.

Advertising Debate Club (IAB and Blis) argue whether programmatic will rule in 2029 - Ricky Chanana, Caitlin Huskins, Hillary Xu, Sophie Gallagher, Edward Ye, Baggio Yin & Hari Caulfield

Advertising Debate Club: Baggio Yin, Edward Ye, Hari Caulfield, Caitlin Huskins, Hillary Xu, Ricky Chanana & Sophie Gallagher (L to R). Photo credit: Eddy Midgley

“The point we’re trying to make here is [that programmatic] will be the default. That means 90-95% of all buying will go to programmatic by default,” Chanana argued.

Huskins added: “Transparency, breaking down clients advertising budgets and retaining margins to keep us employed. Fragmented workflows, manual campaign setups, they’re all outdated risks that agencies face. Programmatic AI promises to streamline these processes, transforming targeting into an art form.

While Xu continued: “So problematic provides scalability, that traditional buys just cannot rival.

“The projected global revenue growth for AI powered blockchain tools is as staggering as an $80 billion increase from 2024 to 2027.”

The judge’s decision

In the end, the verdict came down to judges Gai Le Roy, CEO of IAB Australia, Sorcha Joyce, head of client services at Talent, Elias Psarologos, head of sales ANZ at Blis, Lakun Agrawal, CFO at Wavemaker ANZ, and Josh Hover, group digital director at PHD. The win was awarded to team Always Right.

“We understand that [programmatic] is the way the future is going,” said Psarologos.

“However, is it going to be the only way we’re going to transact media? I think team opposition answered that and really brought it home.”

See also: IAB Australia announces latest instalment of measurement innovation series

Top Image: Baggio Yin

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