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February 2021
Programmatic Trends in 2021

Check out our interview with Pau Quevedo, Lead programmatic trading at Goodgames Studios. Pau will give us his take on the insights 2020 has brought and the trends for a much anticipated 2021.

2020, we are so happy to say goodbye! Pau will give us his take on the insights 2020 has brought and the trends for a much anticipated 2021

1. Let’s summarize 2020 - what would you like to preserve from this crazy year? What do you want to erase and forget about this year?

The pandemic opens up the 21st century and let’s see how the future will look like. I would like to preserve the solidarity shown by different collectives during the pandemic, the general acknowledgment of the role of the states in ensuring public health. The incredible effort between companies, funded by the different states, has shown how the impossible became a fact, with the vaccine.

2. What do you think will be the biggest changes in the programmatic ecosystem?

The year started with FB leaving the publisher´s waterfall, embracing in-app bidding, this is a very important step forward for programmatic, the publisher dependence on waterfall strategies have greatly hindered the growth of mobile programmatic. This, combined with the increasing dominance of first party auctions, we could see an increase in CPMs as it happened on the web years ago.

Along with this will come the IDFA deprecation which will impact the whole industry, from supply to demand and will probably change how we measure, optimize and relate to our customers or even the way F2P (free to play) games are designed.

The impact of IDFA on retargeting is clear. But UA could be different. The switch from deterministic to probabilistic means that contextual targeting will be the only optimization possible, perhaps until all the publishers fully update their SDKs and fingerprinting probably goes away. Until that happens, DSPs will still be able to refresh their behavioral models for a limited time and after that everyone is going contextual, outside the walled gardens of course.

Until now this has been one of the most important differentiating factors between different DSPs but contextual algorithms levels the playfield, bringing a lot of possibilities among DSPs to compete, - for instance, reach might be a more important factor now, - allowing more interesting strategies.

3. Which trends do you think we’ll see in terms of ad-formats?

As reach will probably play an important role in the new context, probably other formats that had been traditionally harder to measure like Audio and Influencer will probably grow. It's still unclear how Mobile Web will fit into the new App Install measurement ecosystem, but will definitely have a role to play.

Empowering creatives through AI is still challenging and we see and test, interesting Ad Tech solutions in this regard. Using multivariate analysis to evaluate and automate creation and iteration processes is something that has worked in banner, we will eventually see the same happening for Video or Interactive creatives, hopefully soon.

4. Which verticals will pleasantly surprise us in 2021, after the Covid period?

I hope to see new things coming from tourism as they suffered heavily and a lot of new ideas will probably come from that vertical.

Those that grew the most during these hard times will maintain momentum after that but I believe, and hope, that things will slowly return to normal. There will be a new normality though and some verticals will probably adapt better than others, for instance mobility, finance, gaming or e-commerce.

5. How did consumer behaviors change in 2020, and do you see any of these changes/adaptations lasting once the pandemic is behind us?

We are now entering the 21st century, the pandemic will probably shape the rest of the century. For this I expect deep changes on all fronts. These new changes, along with future investment, will enlarge the already ongoing growth, in cooperation with more robustness.

6. It’s a bit of a “chicken vs. egg” question, but have you seen a greater demand from consumers to protect their privacy and data — or do you think the conversation (and resulting changes) are being primarily driven by technology platforms?

There hasn't been so much pressure from the consumer side as there´s been from the technology platforms. One could argue if these concerns really have to do with privacy or they are related to other strategic decisions. GDPR in Europe is already quite restrictive but it didn´t feel as revolutionary as IDFA is, that shows how one side has had much more impact than the other.

7. What is your take on 2020’s M&A landscape? What do you expect to see in 2021?

We´ve seen a very busy year in terms of M&A, on the gaming side there's been a lot of bigger companies buying smaller studios on Mobile, this will definitely have an impact on 2021. On the Ad Tech landscape we've also seen many M&As and here has been a bit different since there have been some important vertical integrations, like exchanges buying DSPs or even gaming companies. These vertical integrations can have, in my opinion, a larger effect on the overall industry. If we also think that there will be many changes this year, like IDFA, both elements combined can have even larger impact.

8. Given what we know now, if you could have a “do-over” or a second chance to do something different in 2020 — what would it be, and why?

From a personal perspective, I should have moved to the countryside, I´ve always been a city person, but I feel that this would have been the right moment to take the step. Perhaps I will actually do it anyway.

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