Digital ad spending “decelerated only slightly” during the first quarter, according to new estimates released this morning by a highly regarded ad tracker -- Pivotal Research
Group’s Brian Wieser -- but the big story is that once you strip out the performance of the online industry’s biggies (Google and Facebook), there was “no growth for old
display” advertising. Actually, that’s not a deceleration. It’s more like a cold stop. When Wieser did a similar analysis for calendar year 2012
, he found total online display grew
3.8% after stripping Google and Facebook out. Why is this fodder for RTBlog? Well, Wieser doesn’t speculate on this, but I believe that at least part of the slowdown in overall display ad growth
is due to greater efficiency created by programmatic trading, and specifically, real-time bidding.
I mean, at the very least, much of Facebook’s growth has been
coming from the Facebook Exchange, and Google, well, it’s always been largely programmatic. They are platforms that are just easier and more efficient for marketers to scale, regardless of
whether they are long- or short-tail advertisers.
How much steam programmatic has been taking out of the rest of the display ad biz may not be clear. It’s still a
relatively small share of total online media-buying. But it may be enough -- especially amid an overall contraction in total ad demand -- to make a difference. Personally, I believe these are
short-term factors and that once the supply and demand of programmatic buying stabilizes (as more brands begin to use it), the downward price pressure will change along with it. Stay tuned.