Programmatic buying is tipped to account for 60% of US digital video spend this year, and it’s largely thanks to YouTube, according to a report by eMarketer. 

That number is up from 39% last year, although taking programmatic display into account in general, video accounts for just shy of a quarter (24.5%), owed to a limited supply of video ad inventory.

However, despite the market’s comparative size, it’s certainly finding its feet, and YouTube appears to have the current monopoly. 

The social sharing channel claims 21% of digital video in the States, and will take an even larger proportional chunk of programmatic video spend, due to its “bullish” adoption of the automated buying method, and scale. 

YouTube currently claims over 950 million visits a day, and with 4 billion videos viewed daily it certainly isn’t facing a shortage of inventory. On the other hand, other video publishers have been hesitant to dive into programmatic with as much gusto.

For the last couple of years, parent company Google has been investing “heavily” by its own admission into automated ad buying to capitalise on premium inventory, as well as to diversify its offering. It launched programmatic video ad marketplace Partner Select in 2014, and made its interactive TrueView format available for programmatic trading just last year. 

This format, which includes contextual product details and click-to-purchase functionality, and priced on a cost-per-view basis, now accounts for over 85% of in-stream ads on the platform.

Increasing comfort

Away from YouTube, eMarketer says “greater comfort” with the technology and audience-based selling among publishers could contribute to programmatic accounting for nearly three quarters of US video ad spend by 2018. The publisher model is also under pressure to flex as advertisers increasingly request audience-informed buys.

As a result of publishers becoming more comfortable doing so, they’ll likely free up more premium inventory to advertisers willing to pay up to reach the right target audiences.

Programmatic in US overall is still climbing and “exceeding expectations”, says eMarketer, and is set to continue growing at “double-digit” rates for the next several years. This year, surpassing early estimations, it’s set to account for 73% of US display ad spend, and could hit 82% – $37.9 billion – by 2018.