The Outlook for Programmatic Digital Media Buying in 2015
A study from Magna Global forecasts that global programmatic display ad spend will increase to 48% in 2015, up from 42% in 2014. This is a steady and significant growth, especially if we think about the magnitude of advertising dollars spent on branding and direct-response marketing campaigns. But what factors are driving this projected growth and what are the implications we can expect based on this? Through observing the programmatic landscape over the most recent years, I have observed 3 trends to look forward to in 2015.
Trend #1: The Path to Consolidation
There is no denying that the programmatic display media buying landscape is fragmented, and I believe it will remain so for the next couple of years. However, in 2014 I have seen key movements from the industry leaders that hint at a consolidation in this environment. It may sound fairly simplistic, but industry consolidation in its early stages will almost always be driven by big industry players acquiring companies that will enhance and complement their programmatic display media buying capabilities. We observe this with Yahoo strengthening its video advertising capabilities through the acquisition of BrightRoll. In the case of programmatic consolidation, you can bet the objective is to acquire the biggest and best to both increase market share and to eliminate the competition. Each acquisition in this space will lead us closer to complete consolidation.
Trend #2: Increased Quality = Increased Price
The Programmatic Display industry has a bad reputation due to:
- (1) cases of non-human traffic
- (2) questions on display ad view-ability
Fraudulent or non-human traffic is not new or uncommon within the larger digital marketing ecosystem. You will see this occurring in other digital marketing channels such as email, organic search, and paid search, it just gets more magnified on digital display advertising. This is due to advertiser’s budget and resources being used for strategic elements such as creative ideation, media asset creation, execution, and media buy. With all that being said, it is a concern that is real and it is the responsibility of players in this industry to address.
The other topic that tends to taint programmatic display’s reputation is the question around display ad “view-ability”. In the past, a digital display ad was deemed to be “viewed” through a digital measurement metric called “served impressions”. However, digital display advertisers have been clamouring for a new industry standard in ad view-ability that will be closer to how view-ability is measured for print, radio, and television. Hence, the digital advertising regulating bodies, advertisers, and publishers have collaborated to define and set an improved way of measuring ad view-ability called “viewable impressions”.
So, how do both of these factors lead to increased display advertising bidding prices? My expectation is that affordable ad inventory will decrease in the coming year, with strict quality measurements to filter out low quality ad networks and website placements. With the increased scarcity in digital display ad real estate, advanced (and smart) advertisers will be competing extremely hard (by paying higher bid prices and tech fees) to get that high quality exposure and audience.
Trend #3: The Blossoming of Programmatic Digital Media Buying.
As industry consolidation from a technological and service capability standpoint combines with the continued improvement of digital display advertising quality, more and more advertisers will be embracing the programmatic way of life. In fact, the big programmatic display movement has already begun and there are already certain advertisers walking the proverbial walk. This wave of early adopters will continue to place pressure on programmatic solution providers, and the industry at large stands to improve and advance.
The Programmatic Promised Land
Our DSP and display experience can be put to work for you bringing greater efficiencies to your programmatic display media buying. Let us guide you to the programmatic promised land! Do not hesitate to contact us at Vovia.