SINGAPORE: Programmatic penetration currently stands at just 17% in Asia-Pacific, but will double to 35% over the next four years according to Magna Global Intelligence.

But even then, it will still lag behind the global average – some 55% of the possible worldwide programmatic universe is predicted to be traded programmatically in 2019.

There are a number of reasons why this should be so, according to Luke Stillman, associate director of forecasting at the strategic global media unit of Interpublic Group. He told Campaign Asia-Pacific that "the relationship-based elements of the marketplace for display and video … make it more difficult for an automated process to take hold".

He also highlighted the region's data environment, which remains limited relative to the size of spend.

Beyond that, there are many ad tech players in the market which adds layers of complexity for brand marketers. Siva Ganeshanandan, Asia-Pacific director for Adobe Marketing Cloud described the regional landscape as "like the Wild West … [with] media cowboys, data opportunists and click rustlers".

But he also said that "digital inventories and ad tech combined offer incredible ROI for ad spend in the region … if you get tooled up to go and harvest it".

Within the programmatic sphere, Australia, Japan and China currently account for most of spending in Asia-Pacific, with Indonesia, Vietnam and Korea emerging as the fastest-growing markets.

Programmatic penetration is highest in Australia (46%) and Malaysia (31%) and Stillman noted that while spend overall is lower, a market like Malaysia was "as developed as markets in southern and eastern Europe such as Spain, Hungary and the Czech Republic".

Mobile programmatic is set to become increasingly important as more Asia-Pacific consumers go online via mobile devices. Mobile takes 24% of programmatic spending in the region but this is forecast to double to nearly half by 2019.

Mobile banner's share will grow from 13% to 21% over this period but mobile video will see greatest advance, from 10% of APAC programmatic spending to 28%.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff