2024 Programmatic Predictions

All eyes on transparency

In an era where numerous platforms offer programmatic services through managed solutions, the vital concern of transparency comes to the forefront. 2023 witnessed the ascent of platforms equipped with managed services boasting user-friendly, sophisticated user interfaces.

Concerns about the net media/client cost ratio becomes particularly evident when executing publisher inventory deals. Even if AI, machine learning, and similar technologies can autonomously handle campaign optimisations and structure, they place a heavier burden on the planner: the role of the planner shifts towards effective negotiation with publishers, necessitating comprehensive Q&A sessions between buyers and sellers to fine-tune the negotiation and planning processes.

Additionally, forecasting the net media spend cost in advance has become crucial within campaign planning to ensure improved management and control.

Greater expectations from creative

The surge of AI’s presence in society marked 2023 as the era of ChatGPT, prompting questions about potential industry role changes. Despite this, AI should be viewed not as a threat but as an avenue for efficiency and scalability in programmatic media buying. For example, employing extended keywords to leverage contextual targeting and semantic solutions, or implementing advanced attention tracking illustrates how AI serves as a powerful tool, offering substantial benefits relative to the effort invested. AI has undeniably played a significant role in aiding media trading and optimisation at scale for several years now. It is imperative for us to stay updated and rely on data-driven, probabilistic models, particularly concerning attribution.

One other key area where AI tools can be massively helpful is the creative front: proliferating touchpoints serves as another valuable tactic, particularly where it can be achieved cheaply, quickly and at scale. Increasing the avenues through which your message reaches audiences—be it across various platforms, devices, or communication channels— improves the chances of capturing attention and reinforcing brand messaging.

While these strategies facilitate broader reach and scale, their true value lies in the enhancement of quality interactions with the audience. Focusing on these approaches not only amplifies visibility but also fosters more meaningful connections, leading to a higher quality of engagement and potentially stronger brand loyalty.

When precision in targeting becomes challenging, enhancing the quality of creative content, expanding touch points, and increasing reliance on AI emerge as the most effective methods to achieve broader reach, scalability, and, importantly, elevate the overall quality of engagement.

More content to A/B test

Over recent years, we have noticed a considerable uptick in content available to buy programmatically. This expansion extends beyond display video, now encompassing diverse formats like native, rich media, audio, in-game, and out-of-home (OOH) advertising.

In managing these varied touchpoints with different metrics, upholding a culture of A/B testing remains pivotal. This approach ensures ongoing optimisation and adaptability across diverse environments, fostering continuous learning and improvement.

However, it is crucial to acknowledge that each medium possesses its own metrics and traits. Traders can’t treat out-of-home (OOH) advertising in the same manner as display advertising due to these differences or compare their deliverables on a like-for-like basis in any meaningful way. Customised strategies are essential for effective trading and measurement in each unique medium.

This evolution demands a significant shift in the role of digital traders. They are now tasked with navigating identical content through vastly distinct environments and contexts, necessitating a nimble approach that tailors strategies to the nuances of each environment.

Challenging data, especially third party

The cookieless future is now, and emerging alternative targeting opportunities predominantly revolve around AI-driven or contextual solutions. These aim to navigate the absence of traditional cookies by relying on algorithms to maintain effective targeting and personalisation. Another way to bypass third-party cookies is to lean on first-party data so that the source is first hand either from brands or publishers.

Over time publishers have faced substantial pressure as Open Marketplace (OMP) platforms consistently outperformed with lower costs over the years. The crux of any campaign purchase often centred on negotiating CPM rates. However, the dynamics have shifted, emphasising the heightened value of publisher first-party data.

It is interesting to note that Google will be much stricter on user consent starting in spring 2024. This will likely shake up how data moves around and its quality. This raises a big question: does getting rid of cookies automatically mean we’ll switch to using contextual alternatives? To navigate this evolving landscape effectively, brands are advised to:

  • Embrace a test-and-learn approach with DSPs and technologies focused on contextual
  • Engage in critical evaluation of third-party data partners. When examining the cleanliness of third-party data, it’s crucial to scrutinise data freshness, updates and its provenance
  • Prioritise invaluable first-party data, from their CRM or publishers: now, the value of publisher first-party data has become paramount.

Assessing these factors helps ascertain the accuracy, relevance, and overall quality of third-party data, guiding decisions on its suitability for use in campaigns or strategies.


Addressing environmental concerns like the carbon footprint has become a societal priority, with businesses now responsible for meeting environmental targets. Space & Time is committed to achieving Net Zero by 2030.

Programmatic advertising has consistently adapted to societal shifts, maintaining its agility in media buying. We recommend taking immediate action to deliver optimal value and media quality.

As awareness around environmental urgency grows, there is a rising interest in integrating carbon emissions into pitches and RFPs. Monitoring these emissions is critical for sustainability efforts, promoting transparency and serving as an initial step toward reducing carbon footprints. It aids in assessing quality and examining associated costs more thoroughly.

Two pivotal questions emerge, impacting planning, costs, and carbon reduction efforts:

  • Data cleanliness in campaigns: the quality of data significantly influences emission reduction endeavours.
  • Saturated inventory purchase: evaluating server usage during inventory acquisition is crucial for sustainable practices.