Programmatic ad buying accounted for 28% of the display advertising market in the UK last year, according to a study by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). The IAB also predicted that this trend will continue, with programmatic due to account for almost half of all display ad sales by the end of this year. This could reach as much as 75% by 2017. In monetary terms, programmatic ad buying in 2013 represented £500 million of ad spend, from a total of £1.86 billion.
The study also showed that a little more than half of all digital display ad sales took place directly between publishers and advertisers and another 22% took place on ad exchanges. Programmatic was used more for the mobile channel than video, the research also found. The proportion of programmatic ad sales in total ad sales reaches 37% when the amount of mobile ad inventory traded programmatically is added to the initial figure. IAB UK’s research and strategy director Tim Elkington said that the rise in popularity of programmatic for mobile is down to the greater fragmentation of mobile, which has given a quick rise to a variety of intermediaries helping advertisers monetise the mobile channel.
This is the first piece of research in the field of programmatic ad buying. Professionals noted that such research was needed as it helps market participants to see the big picture, encouraging them to take advantage of the opportunities programmatic offers. Multinationals such as Mondelez and Procter & Gamble have already said they will be focusing on programmatic, with P&G saying it will buy 70% of its digital advertising programmatically by the end of 2014.