NEW YORK: The majority of advertisers and publishers are already using programmatic buying strategies, according to a new survey, but concerns over brand safety could slow future take-up.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Winterberry Group surveyed more than 250 executive-level thought leaders from across the digital marketing industry for a white paper: Programmatic Everywhere? Data, Technology and the Future of Audience Engagement.

It found that 85% of advertisers and 72% of publishers were currently engaged in programmatic auction strategies. But the two sides of the fence had different reasons for moving towards increased use of programmatic, with 55% of advertisers valuing programmatic buying's ability to effectively engage with target audiences across various digital properties.

Even then, one third of advertisers said brand safety issues were actively inhibiting adoption of programmatic approaches because of decreased control over where their advertising might be viewed.

Publishers, on the other hand, were more likely (63%) to be driven by the need to achieve operational efficiencies in media transactions.

Patrick Dolan, executive vice president and COO, IAB, described the rise in programmatic buying as "a positive sea change for the entire digital industry".

But he warned that programmatic's full potential would not be realised if the industry didn't address the barriers, such as brand safety, the survey had identified.

His comments were echoed by Jonathan C. Margulies, managing direector of strageic consulting firm Winterberry Group, who said programmatic was "driving a new era of value and performance for marketers, agencies, and publishers, while offering consumers better utility and relevance in their brand interactions".

The white paper also identified five trends it expected to define the future evolution of the programmatic marketing landscape. These included the need to develop a replacement for cookies, as mobile assumed a more central role in consumers' digital lives, and the ability to create customer profiles that could be used across all channels and media properties.

Linked to this was the development of an adequate structure to oversee the supply of critical data, whether that was management platforms and governance strategies as regards access to and security of that information, or the realignment of organisations in the digital marketing supply chain to better aid programmatic execution.

Finally, there was likely to be further consolidation among third-party solutions providers, as marketers currently found it difficult to evaluate and select from the hundreds available.

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff