Advertisers will have spent over £3 billion on programmatic advertising by the end of 2017, up 23.5% compared to last year, according to a report from eMarketer.

The report explores the total UK digital display ad spend over the last 12 months and finds programmatic spend accounting for 79% of all UK display ad spend. In addition, this proportion is expected to increase to 84.5% by 2019.

Mobile continues to be a driving platform in advertising, accounting for 78% of total programmatic display ad spend in 2017. This figure is expected to grow to 86.5%.

On desktop however, programmatic advertising is on the decline with just 22% (£743.8m) of advertising spent on programmatic in 2017. By 2019 this figure is to fall 13.5% to £610 millon.

“Wide Open To Abuse”

Chris Liversidge, managing director at QueryClick said that despite the benefits of programmatic in placing ads more targeted and effective, the medium is “wide open to abuse” from ad fraud.

“Recent studies have put the cost of digital advertising fraud as high as $31 billion in the US alone. That makes digital ad fraud not just more costly than any form of cybercrime, but more costly than offline crimes such as counterfeit goods and payment card fraud,” added Liversidge.

In response to eMarketer’s report, performance marketing agency QueryClick conduct a survey of 100 marketers and found 70% are on course with their programmatic spend over the next 12 months. However, 41% indicated they have lost faith in programmatic due to a risk of falling to ad fraud.

Other findings from the survey show 40% of advertisers are confident that more than half of their ads placed online in the last year have been seen by consumers, with only 7% reporting that they thought the proportion of ads viewed by consumers rather than bots was 80% or more.


In terms of transparency, 90% said the lack of it in programmatic is down to the ad buying platforms such as demand-side platform (DSP) they use by their own agency, with another 85% expressing that trading bodies such as the IAB should be doing more in tackling ad fraud and penalise those knowingly committing to it.

“Programmatic has been heralded as the future of digital marketing, and when managed correctly, the rewards can be immense,” said Liversidge.

“Many brands operate in sectors where they are under pressure to perform in volatile market conditions and competition is rife such as e-commerce, travel and finance. If they can solve their programmatic problems, there is an opportunity for these brands to out-compete much larger incumbent brands with lower marketing spends.”