Further evidence of programmatic ad trading making healthy progress in the UK has been uncovered by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB).

The association has released stats showing that 28% of all display ad spend during 2013 was represented by programmatic – a sizeable chunk of the £1.9 billion spent in the market last year.

While such a rapid emergence will have shocked many across the industry, IAB analysts are predicting this contribution to become higher as brands grow more accustomed to buying ads in real time.

“It’s likely to grow even faster as the market becomes more experienced using programmatic, has a greater understanding of how it works, and is properly educated around the negative perceptions associated with programmatic trading,” commented Tim Elkington, director of research & strategy at IAB.

Losing the middleman

Other insights from the IAB hint that programmatic’s success is being aided by publishers selling their placements directly.

It is thought 23% of all spending on the real-time ad technique across mobile is passed directly from advertiser to publisher. On desktop this figure is even higher, with direct sales rising to 51% of all purchases.

Mobile display ads ended 2013 with a 37% share of the programmatic market, but Elkington sees no reason for this growth to slow down in the coming years.

“It’s a more fragmented ecosystem and, being relatively harder to monetise, has enabled a wide range of intermediaries to develop more quickly, particularly having learned lessons from serving ads programmatically on PCs,” he added.