Programmatic Advertising: forewarning and avoiding hype-cycle failure

Gareth White, Anthony Samuel

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    The emergence of new technologies has often been examined through their transition along the hype-cycle. While this has been a useful approach, recent research indicates that not all new technologies follow the pattern of the hype-cycle as originally envisaged by Gartner.

    Programmatic Advertising (PA) is a multi-billion dollar business that uses web-based technologies to deliver highly personalised adverts to prospective consumers in real time. Despite its rapid growth it has received precious little scholarly attention. This study is therefore of interest to PA system developers and adopters since most have little understanding of its operation and limitations, and are poorly equipped to make informed decisions about its adoption and use.

    Through the construction of a Concept Map of the system and the development of four future states of Programmatic Advertising development, consumer concerns over the ethical usage of data and the real return on investment are issues that are identified as requiring the immediate attention of platform developers in order to mitigate the deleterious effects of hype-cycle decline. The study proffers two alternative means by which the Programmatic Advertising hype-cycle may develop, and unpacks the socioeconomic mechanisms by which a loss of serendipity may occur in Programmatic Advertising systems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)157-168
    JournalTechnological Forecasting & Social Change
    Issue numberJuly 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


    • programmatic advertising
    • hype cycle
    • concept map
    • scenario planning
    • sociotechnical systems


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