GLOBAL: Programmatic advertising is expected to account for the majority of global digital display expenditure this year, according to a new forecast, demonstrating a remarkable advance in just a few years.

Figures from media agency Zenith, contained in its Programmatic Marketing Forecasts report which covers 41 markets around the world, indicate that programmatic accounted for just 13% of display adspend in 2012, Campaign reported, but will take 51% this year and 57% in 2017.

And as it expands into other areas, the total value of global advertising traded programmatically is set to rise 31% next year – a faster rate than social (+25%) or online video (+20%), although an increasing proportion of inventory in both these channels will also be traded programmatically.

"Programmatic buying of digital media has become the norm in major markets, and is aggressively following this path in smaller markets," said Benoit Cacheux, global head of digital and innovation at Zenith.

In monetary terms, expenditure has leapt eightfold in four years, from $5bn in 2012 to $39bn in 2016 – an average growth rate of 71% a year. Zenith predicted an average growth rate of 28% a year over the next two years, taking the total to $64bn in 2018.

The majority of that spending comes in the US ($2bn), which made up 62% of the global total in 2016; second-placed UK (8%) is far behind on £3.3bn, followed by China (7%) on $2.6bn.

But it is China where the greatest opportunities for future programmatic growth are expected – only 23% of digital media in the region is currently traded programmatically.

"We believe that the growth of programmatic will continue to be fuelled by improvements in the quality of media available in programmatic environments – especially private market places – and the greater availability of programmatic mobile media, as well as the sophistication provided by adtech solutions such as data management platforms," said Cacheux.

Data sourced from Campaign, The Drum; additional content by Warc staff