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Programmatic Moves Further Toward Premium Future

Programmatic ad spending to increase across digital platforms

It’s no secret programmatic buying is quickly expanding throughout the digital ad ecosystem—and beyond. A June 2014 survey by AOL Platforms found that 84% of US ad execs surveyed used programmatic to purchase display ads, while six in 10 used the technology to buy mobile ads. Programmatic video was nearly as popular.

And spend is going up across many channels. Respondents indicated they planned to increase programmatic spending on display, video and mobile ads the most in the next six months. And while 8% of respondents said they were buying TV ads programmatically already, 12% said they intended to up spending in this area in the coming months.

Publishers, as well as brand advertisers and agencies, reported a number of significant benefits of programmatic technology. Tops on the brand/agency side was economic efficiency, cited by more than three-quarters of respondents, while two in three found the targeting beneficial. Organizational efficiency came in third at 57%. On the publisher side, the top three were the same, but more tightly grouped and with targeting slightly ahead.

There are challenges too—and big ones. Transparency was a problem for 72% of brand executives and nearly as many agency executives, while most publishers did not see it as an issue. All three segments surveyed agreed inventory quality was a challenge.

Allie Kline, CMO of AOL Platforms, pointed up the overall speed with which programmatic technology has been adopted by publishers and advertisers alike across a number of platforms, as well as its transformational potential in the digital ecosystem.

But more will be required from parties on both sides of the equation to take programmatic to the next level. “It’s about making sure there’s a relationship beyond just dumping inventory onto a platform,” she told eMarketer—key to making brand and agency concerns about transparency less problematic.

She also noted that programmatic should be looked at as a technology that could “match the right brand with the right publisher,” not just a tool for getting the best possible bids on inventory.

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