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Advertisers Continue Rapid Adoption of Programmatic Buying

By 2017, advertisers will spend more than $9 billion on RTB

Advertisers are spending more than expected on real-time bidding, which is expected to account for a significant share of all display ad spending in the US this year and in the near future, according to a new eMarketer report, “Programmatic Advertising: Forecast and Future Growth Trends.”

The growth comes as programmatic advertising—which includes RTB—continues its rapid transition from infancy to a well-established display purchase method in just a few years.

eMarketer projects RTB digital display ad spending in the US will account for 29.0% of total US digital display ad spending by 2017, or $9.03 billion. In 2013, it will account for 19.0%, or $3.37 billion. These estimates are revised slightly upward from our previous forecast in August 2013, which expected $3.34 billion in RTB spending this year. The revisions are due to an overall increase in projected digital display advertising.

RTB’s maturity as a purchase channel is evidenced in the closely aligned estimates from multiple research firms. MAGNA GLOBAL, for example, forecasts $3.9 billion in US RTB digital display ad spending for 2013—the highest of all firms. Forecasts from JMP Securities and International Data Corporation (IDC) are in line with eMarketer’s projections, at $3.4 billion and $3.1 billion, respectively.

eMarketer anticipates RTB ad spending will see healthy gains over the next few years, thanks to continued interest in improving the quality of digital display ad inventory, as well as continued adoption among publishers and media buyers seeking greater advertising efficiency.

eMarketer bases all of our forecasts on a multipronged approach that focuses on both worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population along with company-, product-, country- and demographic-specific trends as well as trends in specific consumer behaviors. We analyze quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.

Additionally, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all our forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.


The full report, “Programmatic Advertising: Forecast and Future Growth Trends,” also answers these key questions:

  • What is the current state of the programmatic display advertising landscape?
  • How much display advertising is being transacted via programmatic channels?
  • What factors will continue to drive the growth of RTB and programmatic direct?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.


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