EUROPE: Two thirds of brand marketers in Europe feel they are, at best, "getting there" in terms of executing programmatic buying, according to a new study.

Digital marketing business Quantcast interviewed 100 senior marketers from some of Europe's best-known brands for its report From Pixels to People and found that only 14% were "very comfortable" about executing programmatic campaigns, while a further 21% were "fairly comfortable".

But 34% felt they were only "getting there" and the remaining 31% were "less comfortable"; none said they were "not comfortable at all", indicating at least that all were on board to some degree with programmatic.

Phil Macauley, VP/ Global Sales at Quantcast, was not surprised by the figures, pointing out that "programmatic is still a relatively new discipline within the broader set of marketing disciplines, and is a term that is often misunderstood".

He added that there was a widespread understanding of the need for a programmatic approach – only 10% of respondents cited a lack of internal support as a factor stopping them from using programmatic more than they currently do.

The biggest barrier appears to be the lack of ROI, cited by 24% of those surveyed. The study noted: "The problem with digital marketing is because it's so accountable it's made extra accountable."

The targeting options available via programmatic were the most attractive feature for 37% of respondents, while reporting insights were also highly attractive, "since measurement is critical for on-going optimisation".

One of the major challenges for programmatic marketers lies in dealing with the complexity of an ever-developing ecosystem; 48% of those surveyed said this was their greatest challenge, just ahead of inventory quality (46%).

Despite this, 15% reported that they were already running all their programmatic marketing in-house while a further 4% indicated their intention to do so. Almost half (46%), however, signalled that a mix of in-house and agency was their preferred option.

The most popular reason for bring programmatic in-house was to gain more control over strategy and planning; other reasons included cost savings, transparency and protecting/ understanding data.

Data sourced from Quantcast; additional content by Warc staff