80% of all digital advertising spending projected to be programmatic by 2018


New research from the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) highlights that almost 50% of online display ads were bought programmatically in 2014.

The Media Owner Sales Techniques study, conducted by research consultancy MTM shows that of the £2.13bn spent on display ads across internet and mobile, 45% traded programmatically.

IAB defines programmatic as buying and selling ads through automated systems and processes including real-time bidding.

The share of programmatic mobile ad sales was found to having doubled from 37% in 2013 to 64% in 2014.

Tim Elkington, Chief Strategy Officer, IAB UK, explains:


“Programmatic’s role in digital ad buying has grown from virtually zero to nearly half of all transactions in just five years. However, the impact on mobile has been even greater due to its more fragmented ecosystem providing a ripe breeding ground for intermediaries.”

40% of mobile display ads were sold programmatic-direct and 24% through programmatic exchanges in 2014. Just 30% were sold directly.

Programmatic selling of digital display ads


Source: iabuk.net

A fifth of video ads are also traded programmatically. Elkington notes that this only proves the growing popularity of the ad format. He estimates that around 70-80% of all digital spend will be programmatic by 2018.

Stephen Adshead, Associate Director, MTM, adds:

stephen adshead

“When it comes to which advertisers are most advanced in the use of programmatic, the general perception among media owners is that online retailers, telecoms and finance brands are allocating the highest proportion of display spend to programmatic.”