Although programmatic advertising has faced a new wave of criticism recently, it’s still enjoying a speedy growth. A study from Interactive Advertising Bureau UK and PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that last year, most ads (72%) were bought programmatically in the UK and this is expected to increase to approximately 80-90% by 2019.
Programmatic is dominating the digital display market on a global scale. Having risen to fame in the US, where, according to Zenith, it remains the biggest ad market worth $24 billion in 2016, it’s also become a key trading method in the UK, where it was estimated by Zenith to be worth $3.3 billion last year.
This has caused businesses to expand into the UK markets to harness the steady growth of programmatic in the region. Choozle’s chief executive Andrew Fischer has shared his insights into the company’s expansion and the state of programmatic in both regions.
UK is now following the footsteps of the US where programmatic is an unprecedented winner when it comes to ad trade. Choozle has recently expanded its services to operate in Britain. Could you tell us more about the reasoning behind this?
Andrew Fischer: Last year, digital ad spend in the UK grew by 17.3% in 2016 to £10.3 billion - its fastest rate in nine years, according to the IAB UK. There are an incredible sophistication and opportunity among buyers in the UK. We have been privileged to serve international agency clients over the years, and it’s to the credit of our strong partners in Europe that we are now able to build up our staffing in London at such an important time within the digital advertising space.
With the recent criticism towards programmatic, agencies are looking for partners that provide transparency, diversity, and control over where their media budgets are being spent. Choozle has stripped away the unnecessary costs, technology, and complicated processes. It's bringing agencies transparent access to all the same powerful planning, buying, and measurement tools that the big players use.
What have been the main challenges in the expansion process?
AF: Choozle's expansion into the United Kingdom is faced with different challenges. More ad strategies are handled by really big agencies that have been slower to adopt some of the automated digital ad-placement approaches popular for several years in the United States.
And what is Choozle hoping to achieve by this move?
AF: We are expecting to see robust growth in the European markets in the near- and long-term. This includes growing platform usage within the UK, establishing UK-based partnerships, and adding to our headcount. With this growth, we are committed to providing agencies with the best demand-side buying technology in ad-tech, along with the exceptional client service we’re known for.
In the end, whether you're a programmatic novice or a seasoned RTB pro, Choozle wants to provide the UK market with a self-serve programmatic platform that enables brands, and their agencies, to leverage the power of data-driven real-time advertising to drive measurable business results.
How does the UK programmatic market compare to the US one?
AF: The UK is becoming a market leader when it comes to trading digital display ad inventory programmatically. Because the market is relatively small and players on both the buy and sell sides are keen to experiment, the programmatic landscape in the country has become sophisticated enough that many are now willing to play in this space.
With the recent controversy around programmatically-traded ads appearing next to offensive content, what do you think needs to be done to prevent this in the future?
AF: With the access to transparent reporting, advertisers have more control over the placement and optimisation of programmatic advertising. Though programmatic buying is sometimes derided as a swamp of unsavory inventory, there are controls available within the technology that allow buyers to purchase ads that are aligned with their objectives.
What in your opinion the future of programmatic looks like? And will it be similar in both regions?
AF: Right now we see most of the programmatic buying coming from North America, but we will soon see the growth that will mirror global demand for advertising technology. Almost everywhere outside the United States is growing more rapidly, just because it’s earlier stage.