Programmatic spend per capita can give advertisers a strong indication of market maturity, but a new global study that examines other factors, such as private marketplace (PMP) adoption, reveals the countries that are leading the way.

According to the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and programmatic agency Infectious Media, the most mature markets for programmatic advertising are the US, the UK, France and Australia.

They are classified as “programmatic first markets”, not just because of spend per capita – for example, $187 in the US and $75 in the UK – but they also often have a flexible and transparent commercial model.

The study, entitled Programmatic Market Maturity Report 2018, analysed 13 of the world’s biggest ad markets and then ranked them into four categories, coupled with advice about how advertisers should tailor their strategies to each one.

“These classifications are vitally important because they affect how brands should approach their digital media strategy in each type of market, the best way to access inventory, the level of transparency that’s likely to be on offer and how to avoid excessive exposure to ad fraud,” the report said.

Accordingly, the WFA said that most inventory sources are accessible programmatically in the top four programmatic first markets and it recommended that advertisers should demand high viewability and a high level of access.

Ranked behind the programmatic first nations is a category the WFA called “maturing markets”, made up of Germany, Japan and Brazil.

A third, dubbed “mobile first markets”, includes China, Indonesia and India, while the list of 13 is rounded out by Russia, South Africa and Malaysia in a category called “emerging markets”.

The report said that, in contrast to programmatic first markets, most inventory and formats in maturing markets, such as Germany, are available via programmatic, but access is less automated.

Advertisers operating in these markets should establish direct relationships with publishers, the WFA said.

When it comes to mobile first markets, as the name suggests, they tend to have much high volumes of inventory on mobile devices, and the WFA said advertisers should develop a “solid solution” for capturing and reporting on devices.

Finally, transparency can still be a problem in the three emerging markets, leading the WFA to recommend “focused attention” on scope and contracting.

“Media buying is, ultimately, a local business and demands a local approach,” said Matt Green, the WFA’s global media lead. “But there are considerable opportunities to consolidate and simplify this, avoiding the need for a unique programmatic stack per market.”

Sourced from WFA, Infectious Media; additional content by WARC staff