Brian O’Kelley, CEO and co-founder of ad tech company, AppNexus, led industry experts at Kings Place for a three day event, examining the future of publishing, advertising, and the broader ad tech space, unveiling the business’ latest cutting-edge technology, and exploring the potential of programmatic storytelling.

More than 500 marketers, publishers and ad tech developers attended the third annual Summit in June. Leaders from AppNexus and some of their partners including Philippe Besnard, co-founder & CEO Quantum Advertising; Tim Geenen, director of innovation, Bannerconnect; Paul Silver, chief strategy officer & board member, Media IQ; and Arthur Gerigk, CMO, Rocket Internet took to the stage to give thought-provoking insight into the current status of the market and the future of digital advertising.

Creativity in programmatic was high on the agenda. Challenging scepticism around the industry’s ability to move beyond performance campaigns, speakers explored programmatic’s potential to fuel creativity in sophisticated ways, and why programmatic native advertising is emerging as a key way to exploit this.

On the topic of programmatic native advertising, Besnard of Quantim Advertising said, “18 months ago everybody was saying ‘you are completely crazy; this will never work, this will never fly’, but it does”. In fact, content integration and ads living the user experience are a key focus for Besnard, who argued: “Brands have great stories to tell; they have content, they have expertise, they have know-how, they have websites, they have videos – they have everything. And it’s high time that digital advertising helped them take advantage of all these facets”.

Programmatic’s potential to create the perfect moment of impact was also a big talking point. Silver of MEDIA iQ argued that relevancy is key, saying: “We’ve built the tech to understand which moments are influencing consumer behaviour, whether that’s news and current affairs, social trends, what they say on TV, what the weather’s like this evening. We’ve built the ability then to trigger campaigns, adapt campaigns in real-time to those moments, and then inject that into the ad itself”. 

Meanwhile, AppNexus Programmable Bidder (APB) was launched at the Summit, allowing advertisers to upload their proprietary algorithms directly to the AppNexus open platform.

Separately, recognising the increasing importance of video, Eric Hoffert, the newly appointed SVP of video technology at AppNexus, unveiled the company’s new video product, saying: “AppNexus has a very broad and ambitious goal: to create a better internet. When you think about creating a better internet, it’s clear that an important sub-goal of that is actually creating a better video internet”.

The Summit ultimately highlighted how greater transparency, as well as enhanced advertiser control, and creativity are the key factors shaping the future of digital advertising, with Nigel Gilbert, VP, strategic development, EMEA, noting that programmatic storytelling at scale, the reality we all knew was possible, is now within everyone’s grasp.