Over the next 12 months, European publishers believe that revenues from video, native and mobile formats will grow by more than a quarter (26%), with over 60% saying that these formats are paramount to the success of their business. This research was revealed in the study titled ‘Understanding Programmatic Challenges for Publishers,’ which was carried out by Oath, in association with IAB Europe. The report pulls on responses from IAB members and contacts across 30 markets.

Oath commissioned the study to gain insights into the biggest opportunities and challenges that the publishing industry faces in programmatic advertising and technologies. It found that 76% of publishers consider programmatic trading a high priority currently, and 83% said it will become more important over the next year.

Key findings

The study revealed that 52% of European publishers believe that programmatic trading provides a competitive advantage but 30% remain unsure. Confidence is slightly higher in the UK, where 59% believe it provides the edge.

In-housing continues to be a hot topic as the research showed 59% of European publishers are carrying out their programmatic trading functions in-house, although the UK is less likely to bring teams in-house compared to France and Germany.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of all European publishers identified ‘giving value to each impression’ as their top challenge. ‘Connecting inventory to all demand sources’ and ‘maximising mobile revenue’ came in join second at 47%, while ‘managing GDPR and consent’ was fourth.

It was clear from the findings that publishers want their partners to simplify programmatic ad sales whilst ensuring that premium ads are allocated to their inventory. Through this streamlined solution, publishers can sell their inventory at a reasonable price without compromising the quality of ads hosted.

Obstacles for audience growth

Better monetisationand higher quality ads remained key to audience growth amongst European publishers in the owned media space. It also found that 63% of European publishers’ content distribution solutions are on-platform, whereas 37% are off-platform, using partners such as Oath, Twitter, Google and Facebook; a trend set to continue for the next 12 months. Control, price and reach equate for 78% of all responses as the top challenges for publishers in off-platform audience growth, with 38% of European publishers citing revenue as their main concern in driving audience growth.

“Programmatic trading continues to offer clear opportunities and growth for publishers across Europe, but many challenges still remain. Maximising revenue is still top of mind for most publishers even as GDPR and managing consent drops down their list of concerns,” said Henk Van Niekerk, head of EMEA supply platforms.

“As a publisher ourselves, Oath understands many of these challenges and we strive to develop our Oath Ad Platforms solutions for publishers based on our own experience and learnings through partner research like this with IAB Europe,” he concluded.