SINGAPORE: Programmatic advertising is a major priority for agencies and brands across Asia-Pacific, with many elevating it above creativity as an important capability, a new survey has shown.

A Warc and AppNexus study involving more than 200 advertising professionals in the region also found that high levels of in-house technical ability will be the most important skill set among practitioners in the next five years, as digital cements itself at the heart of the industry.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) believe that understanding of programmatic advertising will be a key skill that agencies will need to possess by 2020.

At the same time, while more than half (57%) believe that high levels of creativity will be important, the perception of creativity as an integral part of advertising has dropped in the last five years.

"Understanding of programmatic" recorded the largest increase in importance over the past five years, according to the data.

The vast majority of respondents (92%) believe programmatic is here to stay and will remain dominant in digital advertising over the next five years.

In addition, more than three-quarters (77%) of respondents in Asia-Pacific are already using some kind of programmatic advertising on a regular basis – but just 36% feel confident in their knowledge of it.

"It's very encouraging to see that adoption of programmatic in this region is on the rise and effective targeting is one of the key reasons behind this growth. Yet clearly more needs to be done to help build confidence, know-how and best practice across the industry to help programmatic reach its full potential in the years to come," said Ed Pank, managing director of Warc Asia Pacific.

The numbers reflect a move toward digital in general. Traditional or offline advertising is expected to mark the biggest drop in the next five years, representing a significant shift in priorities.

And although the importance of creative dropped in 2015, it is expected to bounce back by 2020 – but not to the high levels of 2010.

Data sourced from Warc