Rumors And Facts About The Programmatic Revolution

You know those rumors you keep hearing about RTB, that 85% to 95% of all ads will be bought and sold programmatically by 2018?  If the rate at which programmatic is growing this year is indication, those rumors may actually be accurate. As I shared in my recent presentation at OMMA RTB, while only 17% of ads among the top 1.000 brands were placed programmatically this past September, today that number has risen to 23%, and 70% of the top 1,000 advertisers are participating in programmatic.  Let’s be optimistic and hope that’s indicative of more efficient trading in the years ahead.

While it’s true that many of the ads placed programmatically do appear to be direct-response ones, programmatic ads are certainly not limited to DR. And the rumor that there isn’t any decent inventory available programmatically? Well, it seems that publishers are a little less bullish about automation than advertisers, as most do still rely on networks and direct sales to fill their slots. However, that number moving toward automation is growing -- the top 3,000 publishers offer roughly 20 % of their inventory programmatically -- and   more niche publishers are beginning to make inventory available, so the options are diverse.



So, what can advertisers learn here?

  • FACT: There actually is a great deal of quality inventory available via RTB. Premium sites like, and are available programmatically.
  • FACT: Adobe, 1-800-Flowers and even BMW are leveraging RTB. You should be safe to at least test it. The risk to brands has been a bit overstated.
  • FACT: Networks are now leveraging RTB to source their buys.  From Rocket Fuel to, if you’re buying from a network, odds are you’re already getting some programmatic inventory.

Finally, the rumor that we are now doing our best to debunk as an industry: all programmatic buying is blind . While that is true in some cases, it doesn’t have to be, and you brands can help by demanding transparency in all buys, whether they’re programmatic or direct. You deserve to know where your ad is appearing, how it’s getting there, and who’s seeing and engaging with it.  It’s only with that level of openness across the industry that we can grow bigger, smarter, more efficient and more effective.

1 comment about "Rumors And Facts About The Programmatic Revolution".
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  1. Al DiGuido from Optimus Publishing, September 11, 2013 at 7:15 p.m.

    Back in the stone's programmatic would have been buying media based on simmons and/or MRI runs...I find myself wondering with such an obsession on the buy side of RTB and other channels...Is anyone concerned about just how effective all of this media buying IS..? It's one thing to target and reach an audience...Where are the stats on conversion and ROI...? Would love to see more about that. I know that all of us human salespeople have always had to deal with " the media buy on your site isn't working" objection...Where's the data that shows all of us that "programmatic is working" BEYOND audience reach ?

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