Once considered a secondary means of purchasing online ad space, new research has backed programmatic trading to facilitate 61% of all display inventory sales in Europe by 2020. 

Market research group Forrester is tipping adoption of programmatic to “skyrocket” across the continent as advertisers start to get to grips with automation.

Allowing brands to purchase display inventory in real time and across specific sites without human intervention, programmatic currently facilitates 37.5% of display ad trades across Europe, according to Forrester. 

However, this figure is set to nearly double over the next five years, fuelling revenue growth of 12.1% for display advertising as a whole. 

From the bottom 

The figures touted by Forrester place programmatic in a very different position to the one it occupied some five years ago.

Last month a report from AppNexus demonstrated its journey to the top by highlighting its former reputation as “a convenient means by which to dispose and re-purpose low-cost, low-value remnant inventory”. 

Once a “garage hobby” for a select group of start-ups, some of the biggest ad tech companies in the world offer technology for facilitating the trading of ads on a programmatic basis. 

Publishers have also taken note of the growth, with AppNexus itself powering a private marketplace for groups including Telegraph Media, Bauer Consumer Media and Time Inc. among others. 

A survey of 500 EU marketing pros from AppNexus stresses how the industry is seeing things, with 93% believing programmatic to be either “important” or “dominant” in the future.

Mobile presence 

The march to automation is also taking place on mobile, with similar research from Forrester showing 89% of marketers to be using demand-side platforms for the purchase of mobile advertising. 

Its reputation in this space is up for debate, though, with a recent study from ad tech company AppLift and security group Forensiq claiming 34% of mobile programmatic ad impressions to be at risk of being fraudulent.

In the groups’ testing, 22% of those studied were deemed “suspect” of being fake, with 12% at high risk. 

CPM (cost per mille) campaigns were considered some of the most vulnerable to fraud, being three times more likely to get hit than those trading on a CPC (cost per click), while ads traded on a CPIs (cost per impression) were 10 times less likely to be targeted than the CPM formats.