Unlocking the value of programmatic ads

Jo Bowman

The increasingly automated world of online advertising sales is an opportunity to boost efficiency, and will not necessarily lead to rock-bottom rates as many publishers fear. That was one of the main insights from the AOP Autumn Conference, an event organised by the Association of Online Publishers and held in London in October 2013.

Programmatic buying – or the purchasing of online display ads through demand-side platforms (DSPs) – includes real-time bidding, and applies to Facebook Ads and the Google Display Network. It is also gaining popularity among advertisers and media agencies, but some publishers have been wary of allowing their inventory to be traded in this way, due to concerns it may cannibalise the high-value sales made by their in-house sales teams.

Research firm eMarketer has predicted 20% of online display ads in the UK will be acquired in this way by 2017. And David McMurtrie, Google's head of publishers, UK partner business solutions, expects that figure to be reached even sooner. "Programmatic is everywhere," he said. "It's not something that publishers should be afraid of, but should embrace, because the more efficient you are, the better your businesses are going to be. Over the next few years, we'll see growth, but also different ways to trade in the programmatic space."