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Programmatic Direct Takes Majority of Programmatic Ad Dollars

On mobile, real-time bidding is growing more quickly

September 28, 2015 | Media Buying

US programmatic digital display ad spending will reach $15.43 billion this year, up 49.5% over 2014 spending levels, eMarketer estimates. In our latest forecast for programmatic ad spending in the US, we expect programmatic direct buys to account for a majority of all spending this year.

US Programmatic Digital Display Ad Spending, 2014-2017 (billions, % change and % of total digital display ad spending*)

Programmatic has come to account for a majority of digital display ad spending in the US this year. In just two years, eMarketer estimates that nearly three in four display ad dollars in the country will be spent programmatically. As that growth continues, programmatic direct will continue to increase more quickly than real-time bidding, growing from 52.0% of all programmatic spending this year to 54.0% by 2017.

And programmatic digital display ad spending is reaching another tipping point in the US this year: toward mobile. In 2014, US advertisers devoted 43.0% of programmatic spending to mobile impressions. This year, the share will reach 60.5%, and by 2019 mobile will account for 76.3% of the total.

US Mobile Programmatic Display Ad Spending, 2014-2017 (billions, % change and % of total mobile display ad spending)

Within mobile, programmatic direct is actually losing ground. It dropped from 71.0% of the mobile programmatic market last year to 63.0% in 2015, and will continue to grow more slowly than real-time bidding on mobile.

Real-time bidding in private marketplaces specifically is the fastest-growing transaction method for mobile programmatic ads. Amounting to just $670 million in spending this year, by 2017 it will contribute $2.86 billion to the market.

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