Rubicon Project has released its Programmatic Ad Buying in Asia report which suggests programmatic budget in the Asia Pacific remain ribust despite the COVID-19 disruption.

The report found that three-quarters of respondents reported high or medium levels of adoption, and 88% indicated they expect programmatic budgets to remain the same or increase despite the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) on overall advertising budgets.

Among the other key findings;

  • Data, measurement, and optimization are the three most important considerations of programmatic media buying. Pricing and budgets are less influential in driving decisions.
  • When evaluating programmatic performance, ease of optimization, relevant targeting, and audience reach are the three most valuable key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Mobile display formats still reign supreme in Asia, but over-the-top (OTT) platforms and solutions are moving to the forefront and will receive the most significant budget increase in 2020

OTT Growth

Media buyers are championing OTT as the major growth format for 2020, says the report’s authors. Nealry half (47 per cent) of respondents ranking OTT in the top three formats that will experience the most programmatic advertising budget growth over the next 12 months, and 17 per cent of respondents placing it in the number one spot.

The authors also attribute to the COVID-19 disruption accelerating this growth across the region, with media buyers shifting programmatic advertising budgets to take advantage of the surge in demand by consumers for content on-demand.

The research, which was conducted by Campaign Asia for Rubicon Project, surveyed 185 marketers across nine countries in Asia in December 2019 and again in April 2020. It found that while buyers across the region recognise the immense opportunity that programmatic presents to digital advertisers, Asia has been more hesitant to move budgets towards programmatic in comparison to other regions across the globe.

Singapore, Hong Kong, and India self-identified as mature programmatic markets, while Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia identified as ‘medium’ adoption markets. The Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam all identified as ‘low’ adoption markets, noting that they expect to increase programmatic spend this year.  The three levels of adoption reflect the extent to which programmatic buying is utilised, the sophistication of buying strategies, and the level of programmatic knowledge among media buyers

Clients are taking a more active role in driving advertising spend towards programmatic say the authors. As clients’ awareness and understanding develops, media buyers are reporting having more freedom to allocate a greater portion of digital ad budgets to programmatic.

Media buyers also indicated that they believe the single biggest challenge hindering further growth of programmatic advertising budgets in Asia is a lack of understanding and and a lack of appropriate skills to effectively plan and execute programmatic ad campaigns, particularly outside of the walled gardens.

Yogesh Sehgal, Country Manager, Asia Pacific for Rubicon Project commented, “With the industry in a constant state of change, there is a critical need for continuous buy-side education and support. These insights will help continue to up skill buyers and provide viable alternatives (to walled gardens) to not only deliver their campaign goals and maximise efficiencies, but also provide a brand safe environment across all formats.”

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