12 Stars of Ad Tech Who Are Building the Future of the Industry Right Now

In the world of advertising technology, everything is new. Whereas just a year ago Facebook might have been considered a secondary player in automated advertising, mobile and data, today it is reshaping the business. Programmatic is no longer merely a niche buying tool. In fact, the IAB estimates that 20 percent of all digital ads are bought and sold programmatically, and the discipline is fast becoming the key to the future of brand marketing plans. And marketers are no longer leaving such advanced ad tactics to the geeks–they're bringing ad tech in-house.

Programmatic has expanded from mostly real-time exchanges to a private marketplace model. Advances in data are enabling cross-device advertising, giving marketers the ability to target an individual on his or her smartphone, tablet or desktop.

Advertisers are seeing that technology can control the whole experience. They can use technology to customize campaigns to the individual and manage lifelong relationships with consumers. Technology can let a clothing retailer know what kind of pants you want, and enable it to reach you at will. A consumer-goods marketer will be informed that its mobile ad has persuaded you to buy its brand of toothpaste.

In short, the full promise of ad tech is almost a reality.

Here, a look at 15 stars of ad tech who are helping set the cornerstone of advertising's future.