If you are, like me,  deeply involved with digital advertising, one of the industry mantras of the last few years was anything with a taste of “PROGRAMMATIC.”

Yes, you can say it with me now: “PRO·GRAM·MAT·IC.” Ahhhh. 

In reality, I think that we are only starting now to truly see programmatic methods and techniques adopted by ad sellers and buyers. Finally, in 2014 we have seen marketing leaders driving their digital media buying practices forward by combining rich customer data with algorithmically driven buying platforms to make digital advertising dollars more effective in reaching target audiences. And, while there is a long road ahead of us before the robots become self-aware, there are some key trends shaping the industry that point to a more sophisticated future for media buying:

1)      Budget increases – Major brands and massive holding companies have huge goals for programmatic spending. With P&G striving to buy 70% to 75% of digital ads programmatically by the end of the year, Google striving for 60% of digital marketing budget on programmatic, and what seems like an arms race amongst the holding companies to see who can spend more programmatically, the future of software-driven media buying looks bright.   

2)      Growth in TV-land – As marketing leaders have started to up the ante for programmatic, sellers have taken notice, specifically across video and TV. The buzz about programmatic TV is taking hold, and we are seeing a new generation of ad tech commit to solving that problem for advertisers.

3)      Laser focus and cross-channel – The ideal of individual-based targeting is where the industry is heading; witness the strategy behind Facebook’s relaunch of Atlas. While cross-device tracking and targeting has been a concept advertisers have been sold on, Atlas has the data to actually make good on cross device promises. The good news is that more vendors with similar data will start to make cross-device, individual targeting a top priority. The ability to tie devices and online and offline revenue to an individual will change how advertisers value media channels forever.

These are some trends that stand out for me, but I'm curious to know what you’re seeing out in the space. Whether these trends are relevant for you or not, one message holds true: It’s not enough just to know that change is coming – marketing leaders need to understand the future of digital media buying and adapt for what’s on the horizon. My latest report on The Future of Digital Media Buying is a great starting point for marketing leaders to understand the programmatic opportunities of the future.