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Zenith: two thirds of digital media ad spend to be programmatic in 2019

Almost two-thirds of digital media advertising spend, some 65%, will be traded programmatically in 2019, according to Publicis-owned media agency Zenith.

The firm estimates that global advertisers’ programmatic spend will increase from US$70 billion this year to US$84 billion next year across digital advertising that includes online video and social media.

This figure is expected to climb to US$98 billion in 2020, representing 68% of advertisers’ expenditure on digital media advertising – excluding paid search and classified advertising.

The biggest programmatic market is the US, where Zenith expects US$40.6 billion to be spent programmatically in 2018 – 58% of the global total. China is tipped to spend US$7.9 billion on programmatic advertising this year, putting it in second place, followed by the UK, with US$5.6 billion of programmatic ad spend.

The US is also the market that has most embraced programmatic advertising, according to the research, trading 83% of all digital media programmatically this year. Canada is in second place, trading 82% of digital media programmatically, followed by the UK at 76%, and Denmark at 75%.

By 2020, programmatic advertising is expected to account for more than 80% of digital media in all four markets. Canada will have almost completed the transition to pure programmatic trading, spending 99% of digital media programmatically that year.

“Programmatic trading improves efficiency and effectiveness and is gaining a dominant share of digital media transactions,” said Benoit Cacheux, Zenith’s global head of digital and innovation.

“The scale of operational restructuring to make the most of it is both extensive and expensive, though, and advertisers are spending more carefully while they invest in infrastructure and data and review the quality of media. All programmatic advertisers need a strategy for acquiring the best and most comprehensive data available, and to treat this data as a vital corporate asset.”

Zenith’s head of forecasting and director of global intelligence, Jonathan Barnard, added: “Technology is making programmatic advertising work harder for brands. Artificial intelligence promises to unlock new understanding of customers as people, as well as improving the optimisation of the trading process.”