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eMarketer Releases New Programmatic Advertising Estimates

In 2017, programmatic display spending will reach nearly $33 billion

April 18, 2017

Despite the negative press around programmatic advertising following the YouTube ad controversy, programmatic isn’t going anywhere.

In its latest forecast, eMarketer estimates nearly four of every five US digital display dollars will transact programmatically in 2017, totaling $32.56 billion. By the end of the forecast period, that share will rise to 84.0%, leaving little doubt that buyers and sellers are continuing to invest in automated ad buying.

US Programmatic Digital Display Ad Spending, 2015-2019 (billions, % change and % of total digital display ad spending*)

For ad buyers and sellers, the desire and need for greater control are moving them toward more private setups.

Already, 74.5%, or $24.25 billion, of US digital display ad dollars transacted programmatically will go to private marketplaces and programmatic direct setups.

In fact, the share of programmatic purchases made via open exchanges is declining, while the share transacted via programmatic direct is growing. This year, programmatic direct will represent 56.0% of programmatic display spending, while 44.0% will be bought via real-time bidding (RTB).

“Private setups give buyers and sellers greater control over their automated buys,” said eMarketer principal analyst Lauren Fisher. “They may have initially served to bring in reticent buyers and sellers, but now private setups drive much of the change and momentum in the marketplace, as both parties seek greater control from their programmatic efforts.”

Video is one area that has benefited from such advancements and controls. 2016 marked the first time in which more than half of all US digital video ad dollars traded via automation; that portion will grow another 42.3% this year to $9.13 billion. By 2018, nearly three-quarters of all video ad dollars will transact programmatically.

Listen to Fisher discuss where the programmatic ad dollars are being spent in eMarketer's recent episode of "Behind the Numbers."

The growth in one-to-one deals has been especially swift on mobile. Almost eight in 10 US mobile digital display ads are purchased programmatically—a portion that will rise to 85.2% by 2019.

Direct deals are also on the rise for native advertising, a category that’s newer to programmatic.

US Mobile Programmatic Display Ad Spending, 2015-2019 (billions, % change and % of total mobile display ad spending)

Not counting native ads placed on social networks, less than half of all US native digital display ads are anticipated to transact programmatically this year—a portion that is well under the broader digital display average of 78.0%.

But with publishers now transitioning to more programmatically-driven native ad formats, such as in-feed ads and in-stream or in-article video, advertisers are eager to access them privately.

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