Programmatic ad buying is growing incredibly fast in developed Internet markets like the U.S., rising by 56% annually, according to some estimates.
Advertisers, including those with an eye on mobile, have been quickly won over by the ability to buy data-driven, targeted, and cost-effective ad inventory through these new automated technologies.
A recent report from BI Intelligence finds that the rise of programmatic is leading to a reshuffle of the entire mobile ad industry, which is where digital ad dollars will inevitably head. But the programmatic mobile ad landscape is incredibly complicated, and getting more so, as ad spend rises at a breakneck pace, and more companies come to the fore.
Here are some of the key developments:
- Demand-side platforms and agency trading desks face a major barrier to their rise as engines for the demand side of the programmatic equation: Media agencies and media planners remain locked into their comfortable one-on-one relationships with traditional ad networks.
- Mobile advertising is coming into its own. In the United States, it doubled its share of digital ad spend to 15% of the total. Globally, it’s a bit further behind with our estimates putting mobile at about 12% of the total.
- The industry is simultaneously consolidating, and growing more complex. Ad exchanges, supply-side platforms and mobile ad networks are all reaching for scale and the latest ad technology geared around automated ad buying and selling. Increasingly, the lines between these entities are blurring.
- These companies are all vying for advertiser dollars and making big promises about the data and inventory they can provide buyers. But the fractured landscape makes it difficult to determine which companies have the best set of offerings to meet mobile advertisers’ goals.
- The successful ad networks are trying to become more than one-stop shops that simply aggregate publisher ad inventory. Ad companies of all shapes and sizes are busy acquiring the latest and greatest ad tech, and also acquiring niche players that have a particular expertise in a fast-growing area, like mobile or native advertising.
- Moreover, the more innovative ad units, including video, page takeovers, and native ads, are still only available in publisher-direct or heavily managed small-scale ad buys. That’s true on mobile and PCs. So it’s a trade-off. Programmatic offers scale, but impact is debatable.