Despite the introduction of new legislation such as GDPR last year that had implications across the industry and continued economic uncertainty as a result of the UK leaving the European Union, the growth of the programmatic industry in the UK continues to remain strong and stable.

According to eMarketer, in the UK this year, programmatic advertising is likely to account for 87% of total display ad spend, reaching a value of £5.69 billion, in 2020 this will increase further to 88.9% of total display ad spend and a value of £6.80 billion.

Another piece of research carried out by eMarketer stated that in the US, 18% of programmatic advertisers have completely moved their programmatic buying functions in-house and 47% had partially moved their programmatic buying functions in-house, while 22% had no plans to do so and continue to rely on agencies and DSPs for their programmatic functions.

Therefore, it is clear that while the proportion of display ad spending bought programmatically continues to increase year on year, there is a broad spectrum across which advertisers choose to execute their programmatic buying that best suits their business model, long term strategy and activation requirements.

Just as there is a spectrum across which advertisers choose to execute their programmatic buying, there is also a spectrum across the way in which programmatic campaigns are traded & activated. As a programmatic consultant, it’s always interesting to see the different ways in which advertisers approach the following elements of activation:

  • Level to which various technology in the ad stack is utilised
  • Number of DSPs being used
  • Brand safety approach
  • Access to various types inventory or supply
  • 1st party audience list creation, targeting and exclusion
  • 2nd & 3rd party data targeting strategies
  • Approach to bidding & frequency caps
  • Campaign variables optimised towards and frequency of optimisation
  • KPIs & metrics reported on
  • Attribution model applied
  • Application of latest industry best practice

With all these various elements to consider and the sheer breadth of different approaches for programmatic activation there can never be a single approach that is considered to be correct and that fits all advertisers. However, the industry moves at such a fast pace that there are always elements that can be improved that push the capabilities of the DSP further and make campaigns more efficient. It’s incredibly easy to fall behind the curve, which is why programmatic trading should not simply be considered as a commodity but audited on a regular basis to ensure it’s at the best level it can be.