Digital Advertising

Negative headlines won’t stop the growth of programmatic media trading says eMarketer

By Ronan Shields | Digital Editor

December 12, 2017 | 4 min read

Despite negative headlines highlighting the potential pitfalls of automated media trading, advertisers are voting with their pockets and continuing to invest in the technology, with an estimated £3.39bn set to be spent on programmatic by the end of 2017.

That’s the forecast of the latest eMarketer report, which has concluded that before the year is out investment in programmatic media trading will rise 23.5% compared to 2016. The research also stated that the channel will represent 79% of all UK digital display ad spending, with that proportion expected to reach 84.5% by 2019.

Mobile continues to be a major driver of this growth, accounting for more than three-quarters (78%) of total programmatic digital display ad spend in 2017; a figure that is predicted to reach 86.5% in 2019.


Programmatic will represent 79% of all UK digital display ad spending in 2017 / Pixabay

Desktop’s share of total programmatic spend has subsequently been in decline, with just 22% of programmatic ad spending of the total £3.39bn – or £743.8m – spend to go on desktop this year. In two year’s time this number will fall to £609.5m, representing just 13.5%, according to eMarketer.

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Bill Fisher, a senior analyst at eMarketer, said the figures demonstrate the maturation of the market, and underlined how the programmatic supply chain will have to strive for more transparency if it is to warrant this continued growth in demand.

“Making everybody in the chain accountable is the next step in cleaning up programmatic’s image further. For example, the recent Ads.txt initiative from IAB Tech Lab is one such step. This tool essentially allows publishers to publicly declare the companies they authorize to sell their digital inventory,” he added.

Headlines detailing the continued negative impact of ad fraud, brand safety and automated media trading continuing to fund ‘fake news’ (all widely seen as byproducts of adtech) have generated headlines in mainstream press outlets throughout 2017.

However, Fisher said industry-wide initiatives geared towards achieving greater transparency, such as ads.cert, would better ensure the continued growth of the sector.

The forecast from eMarketer was based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, media firms and public companies, plus interviews with top executives at publishers, ad buyers and agencies.

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