55% of UK publishers run their own trade desks, but European rivals are ahead of the game

The majority said one of their top concerns was the need for adtech partners to simplify their programmatic ad sales / Unsplash

More than half of UK publishers have an in-house programmatic trading desk, according to research conducted by Verizon Media's Oath and IAB Europe.

The study, which invited responses from 171 IAB member publishers across 30 markets, found that even with 55% of publishers bringing the capability in-house, the UK is actually lagging behind other European markets. Sixty-five percent of French titles have already internalised programmatic and 81% of German publishers have done the same.

Overall, programmatic trading is high on European publishers’ agendas, with 76% stating its extreme importance ‘today’ in the survey, and 83% saying it will become even more important over the next 12 months.

While news brands such as the Guardian have long been early adopters of in-house programmatic, the report comes as clients increasingly build their internal media buying solutions; raising questions about the future of legacy buying models at either end of the ecosystem and the partners that accommodate them.

The report looked at the biggest opportunities and challenges facing publishers when it comes to programmatic advertising and tech.

The majority said one of their top concerns is the need for adtech partners to simplify their programmatic ad sales while ensuring that premium ads are allocated to their inventory.

The biggest challenge that publishers said they face is identifying and giving value to each impression: 47% said connecting inventory to all demands sources and maximising mobile revenue are the next biggest issues, while GDPR and consent are fourth on their list of concerns.

Previous research from IAB Europe found that advertisers spent €12bn through programmatic across Europe in 2017, with a third of this spend on video and 57% spent on mobile (including native formats).

The most recent study found that publishers expect the revenues generated from these mediums to grow up to 26% over the next 12 months.

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