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Programmatic ad spending growth in China is far from flattening out. This year alone it will surge by more than 70%. However, the country’s programmatic ad landscape is far from perfect, with many challenges still to overcome, as explored in a new eMarketer report, “Programmatic Advertising in China: 2016 Trends and Forecast Update” (eMarketer PRO customers only).
Programmatic ad spending in China will rise 71.1% to $11.05 billion in 2016, representing 51.0% of the country’s digital display ad spending, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast of the country’s programmatic ad investment. As a result, 2016 will mark the first year that programmatic ad spending overtakes the dollar value of traditional buying of digital display ads in China.
Not surprisingly, China being the world’s largest smartphone market has helped spur mobile programmatic ad spending. eMarketer projects that mobile programmatic digital display ad spending will more than double this year to $8.95 billion, which would represent the first time programmatic was responsible for more than half of China’s mobile display ad spending.
Overall, mobile’s share of total programmatic digital display ad spending in China will rise to 81.0% this year, after beating desktop by that measure for the first time last year. In comparison, mobile’s 2016 share of total programmatic ad spending in leading markets in the West will be smaller—70.2% in the US, 74.6% in the UK and 54.3% in Canada, eMarketer estimates.
RTB is more popular than programmatic direct when it comes to mobile programmatic buying. “Mobile is very fragmented,” said Andy Fan, co-founder and CEO of RTBAsia, a service that fights digital ad fraud. There are a lot more long-tail apps than there are websites based in China, he said.
An iResearch report from June 2016 estimated that RTB would be responsible for just under 70.0% of China’s mobile programmatic display ad spending this year. However, programmatic direct is likely to make some gains now that WeChat, Taobao and other popular mobile apps have opened their inventory to programmatic ad buying and increased the supply of premium ad inventory available to brand advertisers, according to iResearch. The research firm expects RTB’s share of mobile programmatic display ad spending to dip just below 65.0% by 2018.
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