Ascend2 Top Programmatic Ad Strategy Challenges Jun2020Digital ad-buying through programmatic technologies is an increasingly common tool among marketers – and according to a new report [download page] from Ascend2, three-quarters (76%) of marketing professionals use programmatic advertising to some extent. Here are some of the top goals and challenges faced by marketers engaged in programmatic advertising.

In the survey of 264 marketers – which included both B2C and B2B respondents – audience targeting was the top challenge, as cited by 46% of the sample. Other issues include budget allocation (37%), personalization (32%), achieving ROI (30%) and data quality (30%).

Despite such challenges, respondents indicate key objectives related to both the sales and marketing funnels that are pushing programmatic advertising efforts. As such, while the majority (53%) of respondents cited driving sales as a key goal, this was closely followed by lead generation (47%) and brand awareness (47%).

What’s more, the survey indicates that success in achieving these goals is generally high – some 93% of respondents described their achievement of programmatic advertising objectives as at least somewhat successful, with nearly one-quarter (23%) describing it as very successful (best-in-class).

Just as respondents identified audience targeting as their biggest challenge, fine-tuning this was by far considered to be the most effective tactic to derive success from programmatic advertising (73%). Other targeting tactics are said to be effective, though to a lesser extent, with fewer marketers saying that keyword targeting (41%), retargeting (27%), contextual targeting (26%) and geo-targeting (25%) are effective.

Despite budget allocation being cited as a top challenge, short-term budget trends indicate that the majority of marketers will see an increase in programmatic spend in the next 6 months. Two-thirds expect spend to increase to some degree, with the largest share expecting it to increase by 10% or less (37%). Some 15% expect an increase of 11-24% and 14% are looking at an increase of 25% or more. A further 34% expect programmatic spend to decrease to some degree, though this includes 15% who expect a somewhat marginal decrease of 10% or less. It’s unclear how this may have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in dampened ad budgets.

In general, marketers appear to recognize the many key objectives that programmatic advertising can help to achieve. However, previous research has found that potential challenges extend beyond those cited in Ascend2’s survey – in 2018, Ad Perceptions revealed that a growing number of programmatic advertisers were concerned with fraud, viewability and non-human traffic associated with programmatic ad-buying, as well as other brand safety concerns. Nonetheless, this hasn’t dented the growth of programmatic transactions, which accounted for fully 81% of non-search internet advertising revenues in the US last year, per the IAB.

Read the free report here.

About the Data: Results are based on a survey of 264 marketers representing B2B (34%), B2C (41%) and B2B and B2C equally (25%) organizations.

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