It’s the media and technology trend that won’t go away: programmatic trading is changing this industry, whether we like it or not. Here are just a few of the recent developments in data-drive advertising that you should be keeping an eye on:

— Mobile exchange takes off: Millennial Media has launched what it claims is the world’s largest mobile advertising exchange, in partnership with AppNexus. In short, this is massive, it directly rivals Google’s mobile marketplace and provides marketers with a route to buying impressions across many sites on a data-driven, mobile specific basis. (press release)

— Rapid international expansion: The march of the adtech firms goes on and on. Pubmatic will have hired 100 more people by the end of the year, taking its total staff to 450, with offices in London, New York, Sydney and California. Others are expanding fast too. Investors sense there is serious money to be made in adtech, perhaps involving some stock market flotations to come. Is the grwoth sustainable?

— National partnerships: La Place Media is the joint ad platform where rival French publishers pool their data to give advertisers more choice and flexibility. The Rubicon Project, which powers La Place, has since launched a national exchange in Denmark and last week saw the birth of the Czech Publisher Exchange, reaching 70 percent of the Czech population. What chance of a UK or German collaboration? (Release)

— RTB in ‘not lowering price’ shocker: According to Todd Haskell, chief revenue officer at Hearst, programmatic is nothing to do with taking the overall CPM price southwards (full interview at Adexchanger):

“A big part of programmatic is just taking out the organizational friction around buying. Programmatic is not about cheap. It’s about ease of purchase, by making the process smarter through the leveraging of technology and data. And what Mike brings to the party is expertise in how to partner with different types of buying organizations to make that process easier. As we build up the publishing velocity and the increase the sizes of our audience and amount of inventory, programmatic will become more important to Hearst.”

What’s the point?

At the risk of repeating ourselves, ad infinitum, none of this replaces direct ad sales and sponsorship deals. But even while I’m fairly bullish on the benefits of programmatic, the risk does remain that as the digital advertising playing field opens up from professional content companies to everyone on the internet, media businesses will get marginalised.

Following these trends matter because this is happening to your site and your inventory. Finding and keeping commercial leaders and technologists who understand how to navigate this interconnected, data-driven advertising landscape is a becoming a must-have for digital media businesses looking to avoid serious disruption.

Here are a few of our recent pieces on programmatic / RTB that are also worth a read if you’re looking into this:

The Guardian and Future on balancing direct and programmatic ad sales

News Corp digital chief on why it ditched ad networks

European programmtic video market to reach £530 million

How does real-time bidding really work?


Update: Here are some fascinating slides from Incisive Media’s digital MD John Barnes, from the Admonsters Berlin event, where he spoke about private exchanges and data in a B2B media context.