Local Brands Adopting Programmatic, Financial Sector Spends Big In Q1

Local brands are rapidly making use of programmatic ad buying and have more than doubled their share of market spend in the past year.

Local brands accounted for 4.7% of programmatic spending in the U.S. during Q1 2014, up from 2% in Q1 2013. Regional brands accounted for 11% of all programmatic spend in the U.S. in Q1 2014. That's according to Casale Media’s Index Quarterly Report Q1 2014, which was released Wednesday.

Not surprisingly, global and national brands still dominate when it comes to dishing out the cash, but they have nonetheless seen their share of spend in the U.S. market decrease from 74% in Q1 2013 to 69% in Q1 2014.

“Programmatic continues to show signs of growth and maturity, reinforced by the incredible rate with which local brands are coming online,” stated Andrew Casale, VP of strategy at Casale Media.

The majority of spend went through just three demand-side platforms (DSPs), although the specific DSPs were not named. The top three DSPs accounted for 48% of the market share, while the top six accounted for 74%.

AT&T was the biggest spender in Q1 2014, up from being the fourth-highest-spending brand in Q4 2013. Target, Verizon, Ford and Toyota rounded out the top five biggest spenders in Q1. All five of those brands were also among the top 10 biggest spenders in Q4.

Comcast was the sixth-biggest spender in Q1 2014, followed by H&R Block, Staples, Sprint Nextel and Chrysler. Of those five brands, only Chrysler was one of the 10 biggest spenders in Q4 as well.

H&R Block’s position as the seventh-highest-spending brand in Q1 is significant because it was by far the highest-spending financial brand last quarter. Geico was the second-highest-spending financial brand last quarter, but only spent 72% as much as H&R Block.

Kaiser Permanente, Progressive Group and Allstate were the other biggest spenders in the financial category, but all spent less than half of what H&R Block did last quarter. The financial sector had the highest quarter-over-quarter growth rate of all sectors in Q1, and was the second-highest-spending sector last quarter, behind only retail.

“Seasonal demand for programmatic speaks volumes about marketplace ebbs and flows -- indicating tremendous surges in spending at regular intervals,” stated Casale. The company attributes H&R Block’s big jump in spend to tax season. 

The Q1 Index Report also reaffirmed the relationship between bid density and news cycles. Casale saw bid density -- which is the number of bids per impression -- steadily rise throughout the quarter. However, there were “two pronounced dips towards the end of the period, which correlated with widely publicized negative news events,” the report reads. The negative news events were the disappearance of Malaysian Flight 370 and the Oso, Wash. mudslide.

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