LONDON: Three quarters of marketers are planning to increase their programmatic brand spend in the next six to 12 months but they are holding off major investments amid ongoing concerns about financial transparency.

A new survey from programmatic specialist Infectious Media polled 30 senior marketers at leading brands across Europe and found that brand marketers were now well aware of the benefits of programmatic advertising, with the opportunity to increase sales seen as the biggest advantage by 75% of marketers, followed by the ability to personalise ad messages and to make use of CRM data (both cited by 65%).

But it also revealed some major barriers to the future growth of programmatic ad spend, chief of which was the "lack of transparency of financials" – an issue for two thirds (65%) of respondents.

"The IAB forecast programmatic would account for nearly half of display advertising last year, so imagine how high it could be in 2015 if transparency wasn't an issue," said Martin Kelly, founder and CEO of Infectious Media.

The complexity of the ecosystem (55%) and lack of appropriate measurements (50%) were the next most significant obstacles to increasing programmatic spend, while a lack of trust in the agency relationship and a lack of transparency of delivery were both cited by 45% of marketers.

Issues around brand safety and abuse of data were mentioned by only 25% of respondents.

While these senior marketers may be aware of programmatic's benefits there were several areas about which they felt the need to become better informed, most notably around how to form a programmatic strategy (85%).

They also wanted to know more about the players in the ecosystem (65%) and how other businesses have been successful using programmatic (55%).

Warc's Programmatic Primer can provide them with an overview, while Toolkit 2015 offers the latest thinking and case studies.

"Brands are struggling to build a programmatic advertising strategy that fits into a wider media mix and marketing plan", said Kelly. "It's up to us as an industry to provide the guidance they need to overcome this challenge."

Data sourced from Infectious Media; additional content by Warc staff