Two thirds of the world’s digital display advertising (67 per cent) will be traded programmatically by 2019, up from 59 per cent in 2017, according to Zenith’s Programmatic Marketing Forecasts, published last week.

The value of advertising sold programmatically will rise from US$57.5 billion in 2017 to US$84.9 billion in 2019, growing at an average rate of 21 per cent a year.


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“In Australia, we estimate that 24.6 per cent of display, or $A1.064 billion, will be traded programmatically this year, rising to 55.1 per cent, or $A2.177 billion in 2019,” Zenith Australia CEO Nickie Scriven said.

Programmatic trading has evolved far from its roots of building cheap coverage from remnant inventory. It now often occurs in premium environments, using private deals in which agencies can use their scale and relationship with publishers to ensure their clients ads are displayed in the right place and at the right price, the company said.

Programmatic trading is most advanced in three English-speaking markets: Canada, the US and the UK, where Zenith estimates 81 per cent, 78 per cent and 77 per cent of digital display advertising will be bought programmatically this year respectively. Denmark is in fourth place, with 70 per cent of display being traded programmatically, followed by France, at 63 per cent.

The US is by far the largest programmatic market, valued at US$32.6 billion (57 per cent of the global total) in 2017. China comes next, at US$5.3 billion. Just 29 per cent of digital display advertising is traded programmatically in China at the moment, so there is scope for plenty of future growth here.

Programmatic techniques are starting to spread from internet advertising to other, more ‘traditional’ media, the report said. In most markets this is in the very early stages and too early to forecast, but it is starting to take hold in the US.

Zenith estimates that US$5.6 billion will be spent programmatically across television, radio, cinema and outdoor in the US this year, representing 6 per cent of total ad expenditure in these media. By 2019 it expects the total to rise to US$13 billion, or 13.6 per cent of the total.

“The most advanced display markets will be 90 per cent programmatic by 2019. It won’t be many years after that until the global display market is fully programmatic,” said Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s Head of Forecasting and Director of Global Intelligence.

“The question then is how rapidly programmatic techniques will spread to other media. We will be keeping a close eye on developments in the US as a guide to likely developments in the rest of the world.”

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