Programmatic And It's Meteoric Rise

Programmatic has been talked about at length since it’s adoption, but this week was a real game changer for it’s growth in the UK with the release of the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) research results. Conducted by consultancy MTM, the research was carried out across 31 companies operating in the UK digital ecosystem.

It aggregated Desktop Display Banners, Mobile Display (tablet and smartphone) and Video under a singular ‘Display’ channel. The research deduced that 45% of spend going through this channel is now being delivered programmatically - for the purpose of this research programmatic was defined as ‘the use of technologies to automate the buying and selling of ad impressions’.

When I started in programmatic (nearly 5 years ago to the day) there wasn’t even a percentage assigned to how much digital marketing was being delivered programmatically. These results have made me feel quite nostalgic when looking back to where programmatic has come from and even more excited about where it’s going.

In 2013 the percentage of programmatically traded Display was 23%, in 2014 it was 38% and now in 2015 it’s 45% - clearly buyers and sellers are seeing the benefits of programmatic delivery.

When you disaggregate the channels within the research you see that Video is now 18% programmatic, Desktop Display is 38% and Mobile is 64%. Mobile is arguably the ‘newest’ of all channels an advertiser can communicate to consumers on, yet it has the highest adoption of the newest method of buying – for me this is incredibly interesting. 

What this highlights, in my opinion, is that the marketing channels we are so used to running within (TV, Search, Affiliates, Social etc.) have very well defined and established ways of buying and selling. Or it could be that the channels have very few suppliers and therefore marketers don’t feel the need to change the way in which they buy, or similarly that sellers don’t feel the need to open up inventory access to programmatic buyers.

What the research ultimately reveals though is that it’s a truly exciting time to be working in programmatic and it’s great to see the investment numbers align with the industry discussion within the UK.