If you want to see the future of the ad-tech industry, look to the history of the financial- services industry.
Not so long ago, in the 1980s, financial markets were pretty much opaque. Very little information was shared openly and deals were largely based on cozy relationships between buyers and sellers.
Most deals were conducted by phone or by fax. Some deals were hatched at lunch with free-flowing wine. Country-club games like golf and tennis also provided backdrops for relationships that translated into strong trading partnerships.
Electronic financial information services began to change that by wiring up the various players in the market, providing them with data they never had before. It started with pricing data, where market participants began to share information with one another for the overall benefit and efficiency of the market.
Next, news and information that could move and influence those prices was layered on. Eventually, analytics that could help decipher and predict trends and patterns began to emerge on traders’ terminals. Companies like Bloomberg and Reuters — firms that developed financial news, analytics and transactional products –made a fortune.
Once the pricing data, news and analytics were in place, these terminals began to offer the ability for traders to conduct business with each other directly through these machines. The last piece to the puzzle was programmatic trading done by computers themselves. Today most of the trading in the financial markets is done by computers talking to computers, not humans trading with humans. These trading machines need data, third-party information and analytics to survive.