Spend on programmatic advertising is set to rise 31% in 2017, outstripping all other digital channels in the growth stakes, according to a Zenith’s ‘Programmatic Marketing Forecasts’.  

With advertisers hearing plenty about ‘the rise of programmatic’ – having grown from a worth of $5 billion in 2012 to $39 billion in 2016 – the report supplies evidence that uptake for automated ad-buying is still some years off levelling out. 

Zenith predicts that programmatic will grow “comfortably” faster than social media and online video, which will see respective upticks of 25% and 20% in 2017 against 2016.

Meanwhile programmatic is also tipped to play a bigger a role in the buying process of these other methods, earning itself an overall 58% share of display purchases in 2017, from 51% this year. 

Becoming the norm

When it comes to which market is leading the charge, the US is leagues ahead with annual spend of $24 billion, or roughly 62% of global programmatic ad revenue. Worth $3.3 billion, the UK is next in the rankings, while China is the third biggest with spend this year topping $2.6 billion. 

“Programmatic buying of digital media has become the norm in major markets, and is aggressively following this path in smaller markets,” said Benoit Cacheux, global head of digital and innovation at Zenith. 

Cacheux adds that programmatic will be “fuelled” by a continued improvements to media quality, especially within private marketplaces. 

A further boon will derive from greater availability of programmatic media geared towards mobile devices, and sophistication provided by ad tech solutions such as data management platforms.  

Zenith also points out in the report that as the channel continues to grow and diversify, so too are the ways it’s being put to use. In the first instance programmatic was used to target audiences as cheaply as possible, with less focus paid to the quality of sites on which ads appeared. 

It’s now being used in conjunction with valuable data segments, and that’s opening the doors for targeting consumers in “intelligent and creative ways”, says Zenith, identifying those most likely to be receptive to the brand’s messaging and pushing them along the path to purchase, often in premium environments.