Expected to reach $37 billion by 2019, programmatic is taking the ad world by the storm. With Europe and the US already investing sizeable chunks of ad budget in this space, the Asia Pacific (APAC) region is now catching up.

Forrester Consulting’s study for global tech firm MediaMath has revealed that programmatic forms part of the media-buying process of 41% of senior marketing professionals in the region.

The leading APAC space for programmatic is Australia, where 48% marketers have embraced this way of trading ads, followed by Japan and Singapore (both 46%).

Of the 300 senior marketing decision-makers surveyed, mostly B2C, 82% are either satisfied or highly satisfied with the results they’ve garnered thus far. Happy with the benefits they get out of it, 96% intend to continue investing in programmatic in the next two years.    

Positive readings

In the less mature countries, such as India, Malaysia and Indonesia, over half of marketers are now evaluating or planning to start using the technology.

This goes to show programmatic awareness is on the rise in the region, and MediaMath’s managing director Rahul Vasudev considers the results to be positive.

“It is encouraging to learn that marketers are increasingly understanding the larger business benefits of using programmatic marketing as an underpinning technology layer to achieve their marketing goals,” he said.

To draw a full picture of the situation, the research analysed just why programmatic is growing in popularity, and which factors hold some marketers back.

As the main advantages of programmatic, those surveyed highlighted more efficient execution and real-time optimisation of campaigns as well as better targeting.

The main issues in adoption pointed out by the marketers in the study are complexity of the technical implementation, along with a lack of programmatic skills and an agency partner to help use it.

Vasudev considers all of these elements to be valid concerns.

“Marketers need to leverage capable and skilled agency and technology partners who can help set them on a path to excellence in programmatic. A partner with the requisite skills is essential to chart the roadmap for clients looking to leverage this very valuable ecosystem.

“A large obstacle is internal education, so it is imperative that marketers invest in formal programmatic education for themselves to enable themselves to reap the benefits that successful programmatic practices deliver,” he said.

Despite these problems, programmatic adoption appears to be on the rise as brands seek to add more automation to their marketing mix.

“There are healthy signs that programmatic adoption in APAC will only continue to grow and that the noticeable gap in maturity of the various markets is shrinking very fast,” concluded Vasudev.