WFA says programmatic media trading taking over the world

Programmatic media buying may be the proverbial snake pit but that doesn’t stop advertisers sleepwalking into it. The algorithms are truly on the march.

New numbers from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) show that 41% of global digital media spend goes into programmatic, up from just 16% in 2016. Programmatic now has a 50% share in the US, 31% in Europe and 20% in Asia Pacific among WFA members surveyed.

WFA’s Programmatic, Data & Technology Global Survey 2020, conducted in partnership with real-time advertising technology and infrastructure company IPONWEB, is based on responses from 37 companies, representing approximately $76 billion in annual global marketing spend.

Who’s getting the business? The use of agency trading desks to buy media programmatically has been relatively consistent over the last four years; 74% of respondents currently trade this way compared to 72% in 2016. But as brands have sought to take greater control and ownership of their buying and data strategies, the use of independent trading desks has risen to 71%, up from 46% in 2016.

Meanwhile 84% use an in-house brand trading desk or hybrid (managed service) model (up from 21% in 2016), although this drops to half for APAC-based respondents, where members were more likely to license their technology from agencies. It’s obvious from the figures that many companies use a combination of suppliers across their global footprint.

IPONWEB general manager of global solutions Joe Meehan says: “The key findings of this research resonate with our own experience, as the programmatic ecosystem evolves and continually re-calibrates. In particular, there will be increasing pressure within the industry to deliver transparent supply chains, while data ownership and the relationships between the buy and sell sides will become key to activating brand data strategies.

“As programmatic continues its global expansion to become the dominant distribution channel for marketing messages, these factors will play an ever-greater role in an advertiser’s ability to deliver superior results, create brand advantage and drive ROI.”

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