Amid concerns around brand safety, ad fraud and counterfeit inventory, programmatic is set to account for 28% of global digital media spend this year, up from 17% in 2017.

According to a report carried out in November and December last year from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) in conjunction with software company dataxu based on 28 multinational companies, 87% are planning to boost investment in mobile advertising and video (68%), while 77% will spend on programmatic channels including advanced TV and digital out-of-home.

North America saw the biggest interest in programmatic with 31% of digital budgets allocated to the channel in 2017/18. Latin America and China, however, are less keen on programmatic with only 20% of digital spending allocated.

“In terms of its public relations with the wider marketing community, it’s fair to say that 2017 hasn’t been a great year for programmatic,” commented Matt Green, global lead, media and digital marketing at the WFA.

Transparency top priority

When it comes to transparency with programmatic partners, the WFA found that 45% of marketers believe they already have a 100% transparent relationship. In addition, 41% stated increasing transparency with their programmatic partners was a top priority for 2018, followed by segment mark-ups and data arbitrage (62%).

Meanwhile with GDPR around the corner, 83% of marketers have viewed regulation compliance as a major priority as 10% had not considered whether or not their programmatic is compliant with the forthcoming regulation.

“There’s too much momentum now, and in spite of the issues, clients do generally see the benefits – brands will spend a growing share of their digital ad budgets in programmatic in 2018. But that doesn’t mean they can’t take action to improve the ecosystem in which they operate.” continued Green.

Andrew Buckman, managing director EMEA at Sublime Skinz added that brands are increasingly stepping up their creative strategies ahead of the GDPR to provide customers with tailored messaging to encourage consent and sharing in exchange for meaningful interactions.

“While programmatic has been in the spotlight for brand safety issues, we’re witnessing an industry-wide push for more transparency, with initiatives such as the adoption of ads.txt, the IAB’s Gold Standard, and the AOP’s Ad Quality Charter leading the charge.” said Buckman.

On deploying strategies, Chris Dobson, CEO of The Exchange Lab added that if done correctly, programmatic can become the “most efficient and effective way of advertising” with it superseding other forms of advertising altogether.