In the beginning, many marketers questioned of the efficacy of programmatic advertising, thinking the technology would create a “race to the bottom.” However, today there are far more optimists than skeptics.

A new industry survey, “The Programmatic Pulse,” conducted by demand-side platform (DSP) Chango, found that 75% of brand marketers are currently using programmatic. Compare this to a recent AOL survey, which found over 90% of buyers are using programmatic, or the Winterberry and IAB’s survey from 2013 found 85% of advertisers and 72% of publishers were using programmatic technologies.

Regardless of which data is referenced, one thing has become clear—the majority of the advertisers are now utilizing programmatic ad tech to execute transactions.

Programmatic for Brand Marketers

The nature Chango’s survey, which focused specifically on brand marketers, highlights something very important – that programmatic is being utilized for more than just direct-response (DR) campaigns, where the technology originally found its footing.

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“Marketers are passionately embracing programmatic and very bullish on its future,” stated Keith Lorizio, Chief Revenue Officer of Chango. “This commitment is reflected in the significant shift of marketing budgets to support programmatic campaigns over the last 12 months.”

Key factors leading marketers to embrace programmatic technology include enhanced targeting, improved performance, advanced data management, cost and efficiency.

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Interestingly, nearly one-third (33%) of brand marketers have been using programmatic for fewer than 12 months, and over half (54%) for less than 24 months. Even the newcomers are able to effectively utilize programmatic to meet their marketing goals, and 74% of those surveyed plan on increasing their programmatic budgets in 2015.

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Mergers, Acquisitions and The Future

One could argue that programmatic ad tech is contributing to the tech M&A boom of 2014, the largest since the dot-com bubble over 15 years ago.  While some may see all of these high-level acquisitions as the end of an innovation cycle, that notion could not be further from the truth. As I noted in a recent article with AdExchanger regarding programmatic video, these acquisitions don’t signal a sudden maturation in video advertising. Instead, it is a strong indication that tremendous growth and upside remain for video technology companies.

There is room for independent companies to emerge and solve the issues brands and publishers face in leveraging the power of video advertising:

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Programmatic evolution is a 9-inning ballgame, and we’re only in the 3rd inning. The growth and innovation has just begun—let’s play ball!