There could still be a role for programmatic, VanBoskirk said. Instead of brands moving unilaterally away from programmatic, they could undergo a “polarization.” Some brands will focus more on the quality of the customer experience, while others will use programmatic as an always-on part of their marketing plan.
Despite the shift toward customer experiences, digital marketing will still grow, Forrester predicted, estimating it will increase from $70 billion in 2016 to $118 billion in 2021. And it will go from commanding 36% of all advertising spend to 46% of all media spend, the firm reported.
The programmatic tech stack will also change as marketers seek to combat waste.
“You already see some dissatisfaction with the mistargeting of programmatically bought ads. It’s an imperfect science today, and there is limited accountability,” VanBoskirk said.
For example, marketers may show the right ad to the right person, but in completely the wrong context. Fixing these types of issues will require more human oversight.
Some programmatic tools will get swallowed up during this transformation, Forrester said.
“Over the next five years we are going to see standalone DSPs go away,” VanBoskirk predicted. They will still exist, but not on their own.
But the data management platform (DMP) will rise in importance. “Companies will start to develop their own advanced DMP that ties together customer insights, business insights and online behavioral data. That might work with a platform that includes a DSP capability to manage their buys.”
CMOs who continue to use programmatic will increasingly seek to add a human element to what they do, in order to override the misjudgments that technology can make.
“There is going to be a real value in those common sense and empathetic elements that humans can bring to create connections with other humans,” VanBoskirk said.