The traditional relationship between publishers and advertisers is that they do their deals over a restaurant table, whilst laughing and smiling. It is a relationship that stands the test of time and it means that many people are unwilling to change this through the addition of programmatic.
They see programmatic as one thing and the direct relationship between publishers and advertisers as another.
However, the truth is quite different and with the improvement of programmatic in the past few years alongside the move from traditional advertising to digital, it has the chance to cement the relationship between the two parties.
One of the main issues that many advertisers had with programmatic was that it tended to only include the second class ads that they would create. The adverts that people had spent considerable amounts of time on were the ones that you would sell direct, the ones which were proven to work.
The problem that publishers had with programmatic is that there is no direct link within that ad stream. The advert gets uploaded to a server then set to appear on the publisher's website with the advertiser getting the click through or impression payment.
If you are starting a programmatic relationship it is important to remember the base idea behind advertising: the advertiser wants to be able to sell as much as possible through their advertising and the advertiser wants to get as much money as possible from the advertiser. With the ever increasing power of analytics, it becomes possible to have a far more in-depth view of how each advert is performing. This will mean that a clear picture can be painted between which channel is performing better for each advert. Advertisers will know when traffic came from the publisher and the publisher will know how much they are sending.
Essentially an advertiser should not care if a sale is coming from a programmatic ad or a direct ad, all they care about is that they have a sale and that they have a good ROI on this.
This is something that both advertisers and publishers should realise, essentially that the basis of the relationship (although not always the outcome) is that you have something they want or they have a space you want to use. Everything apart from this is simply an extra, but will not save the relationship if the basis of either not buying a space for a good rate or not selling it with the possibility of getting as many sales is not met.
It is also an easily transferrable, non-exclusive relationship. You may have a fantastic relationship with one advertiser, but if another one is giving them a better click through rate, then the chances are that they are going to have a larger proportion of their annual budget. They are more likely to get this through programmatic, advertising to the the people who are most interested in the product they are selling.
As I mentioned, advertisers are coming round to the idea that programmatic advertising is the future and that the results they can get from it are equal, if not better, than direct advertising. If the relationship between advertiser and publisher is going to work in the future, it is going to be by offering them the best possible package, not just the cheapest direct sold package.
To get the most from this relationship having one of the two alone is not going to be enough, a relationship with the publisher or advertiser is going to be made through the direct advertising packages, but the results are likely to be improved through including the programmatic options.
It certainly takes a leap of faith and many publishers may be reticent to make the jump, but ultimately it is the way the market is going, and unless the option is there, then the chances of the relationship even existing in 3 years time are significantly slimmer.