Things We Need to Know About Programmatic Advertising in 2017


Programmatic advertising is estimated to grow by 31% in 2017, faster than any other means of digital advertising, according to Zenith’s Programmatic Marketing Forecasts. This report, which covers 41 key advertising markets, estimates that programmatic ads will grow faster than social media ads (which will grow 25%) and online video ads (20% up) – and a growing proportion of these digital ads will be bought programmatically.

Programmatic advertising has risen to dominate the digital display market in just a few years, indicating a significant increase from 2012 when it only accounted for 13% of display ad spend. Programmatic advertising spend grew from $5bn in 2012 to $39bn in 2016, at an average growth rate of 71% each year. Its growth is slowing down as it consolidates its dominance in the display ad market, yet programmatic advertising is still expected to grow at an average of 28% each year until 2018, when it will reach $64bn.

At the same time, marketers using automatic ad buying is on the rise: Dun & Bradstreet Report predicts that almost 70% of B2B marketers plan to increase spending on programmatic advertising in 2017.

Here are some guesses on the trends of programmatic ad buying in 2017.

1. Paid search will complement programmatic ads. Although programmatic advertising will emerge as the primary to buy the digital ads, paid search will be the most complementary tactic for marketers -- especially when they want to get a better understanding of Internet search and find better ways to measure whether their initiatives are actually driving business leads. Therefore, 75% of marketers plan to increase their Google AdWords spending in the coming months.

Paid search can bring quantifiable conversions, and effective reach through programmatic advertising can in turn drive more searches. If your ad engagement with the audience is good, but conversion doesn’t meet your goals, a boost in paid search spend may be necessary to improve your marketing results.

2. Audio marketing opportunities boom. Video ads attracted a lot of attention in 2016. In 2017, audio ads will be the new rising star. You may not believe how much time people, especially Millennial and those in Generation Z, would love to spend in the streaming music. What's more, the majority of them prefer to listen to music through free streaming services instead of paying for premium, ad-free options.

There's a great opportunity for advertisers to raise the awareness of their brand among listeners via programmatic audio, yet only about 7% of marketers are currently spending money on it. In 12 months, we estimate this figure may increase to over 11%, meaning more ads implanted in the audios will reach the mass audience.

If your brand is targeting these music streaming groups, programmatic audio is at least worth a try. Because in the early phase, costs would be relatively low and the buyers have a strong interest in the audios.

3. Fuel the programmatic advertising with creative brand stories. In a recent industry forum, I discussed the future of programmatic advertising with several industry leaders. The major conclusion was that the technical refinement in ad serving is overshadowing the creative side. This situation will change.

It won't be long before digital marketers unfold the brand story for consumers. The interactive nature of the internet will ignite the passion of storytelling. This will require a few elements to be in place ahead. For example, ad buying team and creative team need to work together to create concrete stories that will be translated in multiple languages and spread across multiple channels. This will motivate you to prepare more creative multiple-channel campaigns and deliver messages in the campaigns via whatever devices audience may use in their daily life.

4. The lines between programmatic ads, data analytics and data-driven ads are blurred. Data analysis has become an important part for decision-making in nearly every advertising campaign. It’s not hard to tell that almost all the advertisers these days will set campaign goals and use customer data to monitor and improve their marketing results. Hence the mechanism behind programmatic advertising is gradually becoming transparent for people to find a more proper way to conduct ad buying in different digital channels.

Advertisers’ preference for programmatic advertising shows no signs of slowing down. And now that more data than ever before is available for advertisers to use to improve the accuracy of programmatic ads. In this way, it will only get more effective. As this technology-driven ad buying continues to evolve, we can expect more programmatic ad buying adopted by advertisers

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