Ad Tech Insights

Programmatic Advertising Trends 2021: Everything You Need to Know

In this day and age, consumers have a wide variety of platforms, content, devices, and they're free to pick and choose what suits them best.

Programmatic Advertising Trends 2021: Everything You Need to Know
In this day and age, consumers have a wide variety of platforms, content, devices, and they're free to pick and choose what suits them best.
Dec 29, 2020
A full stack advertising technology company for publishers and advertisers.

Programmatic advertising is an ad tech (advertising technology) element. Essentially, programmatic advertising is a way for marketers to use technology to automate procedures like bidding, requesting, and negotiating when it comes to online ads. According to the statistic below, it has been one of the most sought-after elements in modern advertising:

programmatic advertising spend trend


This tactic uses algorithms and tools to determine, order, and, eventually, purchase some much-needed ad space. It allows marketers to optimize the ad copy, the targeting and, ultimately, create a marketing plan with specific KPIs and target audience that will do the brand’s efforts justice across all marketing platforms.

Technologies like Augmented or Virtual Reality (AR/VR), machine learning, and even virtual assistants like Alexa or Siri can give marketers some much-needed data to allow for a tailor-made advertising experience. But what is it that will shape programmatic advertising trends for this year – and beyond?

1. AI Will Be Golden

Programmatic advertising already uses AI, which makes it a lot more efficient. AI allows programmatic advertising to use data to educate itself and measure and optimize ad performance,

From the ad’s position to the channel, device, copy, and visuals, AI offers valuable data that marketers can use to create a personalized ad message.

Through AI, marketers can study the audience more holistically since AI can distinguish between millions of patterns that marketers – or humans, for that matter – cannot see. It can also map the customer journey effectively, pinpoint the optimal course of action, and better strategy and planning.

Another reason AI will continue to dominate programmatic advertising and the marketing actions that it can help boost is the fact that it can combine and analyze a wide variety of data: from age, educational background, and gender to the preferred device according to gender or age, or purchases per geographic location, AI can create segments updated with real-time data.

AI can also allow marketers to create buyer personas similar to a brand’s ideal customer as the customers themselves.

AI uses data from previous transactions, behavioral data, geo-location, and everything that matters, to create buyer personas and generate messages for these personas. Since AI-generated buyer personas can correspond to prospects on a one-on-one level, the ad’s message is spot-on and tailor-made.

By recognizing patterns effectively, AI can allow marketers to create and place ads that will sell while reducing costs like Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and increasing metrics like the sought-after ROI.

2. Connected TV Is Here to Stay

Connected TV (CTV) is a relatively new concept and is expected to be widely used in programmatic advertising. CTV can deliver personalized content instead of a classic TV – connecting it to the Internet and accessing apps like Netflix, Apple TV, or even Spotify.

All of the above display ads, seeing as they’re platforms that can deliver tailor-made, optimized content, especially to demographics like Millennials and Gen-Z that enjoy anything personalized, far more than their predecessors (Boomers and Gen-X).

Platforms like YouTube deliver ad messages to free plan users that can be specific, personalized, and urge them down the sales funnel effectively. According to the following YouTube stats, “79% of internet users say they have a YouTube account.”. Since CTV is a way to access this platform, programmatic advertising can create targeted ads for a broader audience – not to mention the high engagement rates of video ads.

The above statement is not, of course, set in stone. Remember that video ads are a great way to engage, so long as the content is personalized and optimized. After all, no consumer loves the idea of their screen time being interrupted by an ad. Programmatic advertising can help marketers create fewer but far more engaging ads that will “speak” to specific audiences through all the right devices.


These acronyms may seem confusing, so let’s start with definitions:

  • OTT: It stands for Over-The-Top. Through OTT advertising, consumers can access video content on their CTV device through just their internet connection.
  • DOOH: This stands for Digital-Out-Of-Home advertising, essentially the combination of Digital and Out-Of-Home offline advertising.

Let’s see why these two will be essential components of programmatic advertising in 2021 and beyond.

OTT services that can be accessed by CTV are top-rated. In fact, they are expected to replace regular TV as we know it. To put this statement into numbers, “CTVs are now used in 56% of households“. That is in the US alone. OTT streaming services (HBO, Hulu, Netflix, etc.) offer programmatic advertising the opportunity to grow with their market. OTT advertising is available through more means than OTT streaming services, though.

Gaming consoles like Playstation or Xbox are also running to receive ads and display OTT ads.

But while OTT keeps people indoors, programmatic advertising will be significantly influenced by what can be advertised outdoors as well. DOOH could very well be like the products placed near the counter that make the perfect impulse purchase.

Marketers that use DOOH for their programmatic advertising can combine location data with their ads. This allows them to write content that can be tailor-made. This content’s reach can be immense, as brands can display their DOOH ads in locations like train or bus stations or shopping malls.

Think of Times Square, for example. It is a hotspot for DOOH content that can reach more consumers. Not to mention that programmatic advertising can refine DOOH using real-time behavioral data, eventually displaying an ad that will be highly personalized and targeted.

DOOH is so prominent in programmatic advertising and will be one of the must-haves in 2021 for yet another reason: It allows marketers to utilize creative content and even UGC through their brand’s social media. What is more, DOOH can help create an omnichannel experience through targeted advertising, using location data, and redirecting prospects to each brand’s closest salespoints.

4. Podcasts And Voice Assistants

Podcasts are to Millenials and Gen-Z what radio was to Boomers and Gen-X. There are as many platforms for podcast hosting as there are podcasts, covering all tastes and interests. This means that they can penetrate a broader audience spectrum and allow more people to engage with a brand’s ads.

Programmatic advertising allows brands to find ad space and create and execute targeted ads for podcast listeners. Podcast ads can either be in the form of copy to be read by the host, responsible for incorporating the ad copy into the podcast’s content, or a dynamic, personalized, and tailor-made ad.

The first method is effective since it is seamless and non-invasive. The second method is effective due to how its content can be hyper-personalized.

Finally, never forget the data goldmine that is a voice assistant in programmatic advertising. Siri, Alexa, and other voice assistants can help marketers figure out trends that are impossible to make out without using programmatic advertising.

Like podcasts, voice assistants can “display” an ad or a brand’s message by merely responding to a user’s query.

Reasons To Use Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising encompasses a toolset that can help brands improve many components of their marketing plan, like targeting, key metrics, marketing attribution, and reporting.

The Multichannel and Metrics Benefits

Marketers can use programmatic advertising across various channels and ad networks, making it a more efficient choice than AdWords or YouTube that share ads with their own network.

Programmatic advertising can also take advantage of all devices. Nothing is out of bounds, as you can use a tablet, mobile, and desktop devices to display your ad, or the CTV and the smart billboards mentioned above.

Because of its nature, programmatic advertising uses AI. Marketers know how beneficial this can be for key marketing metrics, as it can offer better segmentation and hyper-personalization options.

Better Targeting

Programmatic advertising allows for better targeting as well, again because it is based on AI technology.

Programmatic advertising is one of the tools that can help brands laser-target their audience with similar content that will offer real-time data for the brand to utilize, with new segmentation options that will match the user’s needs at that specific point in time.

This type of targeting can boost the campaigns and create similar audiences that brands can target second, expanding their reach.


The insights brands get while using programmatic advertising are among the most valuable in the business. They’re real-time and filled with big data that can benefit all campaigns on all devices and platforms.

Tailor-made ads and laser-targeting allow marketers to look at their audience both as a group and individually. The way each prospect responds to a programmatic ad can reveal a lot about their preferences, allowing marketers to analyze each customer’s behavior and see their individual responses to each marketing stimulus and the impact their response has on their demographic as a whole.

The Takeaway

In this day and age, consumers have a wide variety of platforms, content, devices, and they’re free to pick and choose what suits them best.

Spotify allows for free and premium versions, Netflix gives trial runs, and YouTube is still free and up and about. Users are agile and can use all devices to tailor an experience that is best suited for them.

The real-time experience of programmatic advertising and how it can automate and support multi-network ad space purchases are bound to change the way marketers create, place, and optimize ads.

Author Bio:

Téa Liarokapi is a content writer working for an email marketing software company and an obsessive writer in general. In her free time, she tries to find new ways to stuff more books in her bookcase and content ideas-and cats-to play with.


#ad tech#audio#CTV#OTT#programmatic advertising

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