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Programmatic spending is set for huge growth in 2015. According to US media buyers surveyed in March 2015 by Digiday in association with Sonobi, nearly nine in 10 said increasing programmatic ad spend would be a focus of their future digital ad strategy.
However, the industry still faces several hurdles before programmatic becomes universal, and quality control is one of the top areas for improvement. Among respondents, 40.7% said there was a significant or very significant loss of control when purchasing ad inventory programmatically vs. direct, and an additional 43.3% said there was at least a moderate loss of control. Just 16% felt little to no control was lost.
With quality concerns such as viewability haunting programmatic buyers, it makes sense that placement is critical too. Nearly three-quarters (73%) polled by Digiday said placement transparency was essential in their decision to move more ad spend from direct to programmatic—the second-highest response, behind only audience targeting (86%) and well ahead of third-place inventory availability forecasting (44%).
Unfortunately for publishers, just 31% of buyers felt placement transparency was being sufficiently addressed, and such attitudes were limiting spending. More than six in 10 respondents said unsatisfactory placement transparency was the primary barrier preventing them from moving more spending from direct to programmatic. This was the top response and more than 20 percentage points ahead of No. 2 inventory forecasting (40.5%).
Placement also plays a huge role in whether or not buyers define programmatic inventory as premium. The majority of Digiday respondents said placement on a website or platform was the primary criteria for considering certain programmatic inventory as premium, the No. 1 response, and placement location on a page followed, at 40.4%.
Following massive growth of 135.5% in 2014, eMarketer estimates that US programmatic digital display ad spending will rise 48.9% this year to $14.88 billion, or 55.0% of total digital display ad expenditure. Programmatic sellers that work closely with buyers and have clear lines of communication about quality and ad placement stand to benefit from those extra programmatic dollars.
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