Programmatic Expected to Near Two-Thirds of Global Digital Media Spend

December 4, 2018

This article is included in these additional categories:

Advertising Trends | Demographics & Audiences | North America | Programmatic & RTB

The slow, seemingly inexorable rise of programmatic trading continues. At least that’s the takeaway from a new Zenith forecast, which at the same time has revised downward its outlook for programmatic as a result of new privacy regulations and greater advertiser investment in infrastructure and data to increase programmatic efficiency.

Zenith expects that 62% of digital media ad spending this year will be traded programmatically, a figure that will rise to 65% next year and 68% the following year. By digital media, Zenith is referring to paid-for advertising within online content, a definition that includes online video and social media but excludes paid search and classified advertising.

The forecast notes that broader availability of ad formats for programmatic advertising – such as mobile, video and audio formats – are helping drive further growth. There is a need for greater inventory quality, though, as programmatic advertisers are growing more concerned with fraud.

As expected with a maturing market, increases in programmatic advertising will slow over the coming years. Zenith reports 32% growth last year in programmatic ad spending, a rate that will recede to 24% this year, 19% next year, and 17% in 2020.

The US is both the largest market for programmatic (58% of the global total) and the market that has made the fastest transition to this transactional method. This year Zenith predicts that 83% of all digital media in the US will be traded programmatically, an expectation that is in line with a recent forecast from eMarketer, which called for 82.5% of US digital display ad dollars to be transacted programmatically this year.

Other markets that have enthusiastically embraced programmatic include Canada (82% of digital media this year), the UK (76%) and Denmark (75%). Each of these markets should transact more than 80% of its digital media programmatically by 2020, per the forecast. In fact, somewhat remarkably, Zenith predicts that virtually all (99%) of digital media in Canada will be traded programmatically by 2020.


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