Programmatic reached the tipping point vs. direct buys in the online display advertising marketplace in October, according to Adomic CEO Gabe Gotlieb, revealing data at OMMA RTB Seattle showing that it now accounts for 38% of all display ad impressions across all the brands it tracks using it. Since Adomic’s technology is based on a Web-based application that crawls all the RTB buys being made by brands, that’s pretty representative of, well, everything.
Direct display ad buy impressions accounted for only 37% of all brand plans, while ad networks accounted for 25%. But since ad networks are kind of like an in-between solution between direct and programmatic, I’m going to say the momentum is in the programmatic direction.
Gotlieb noted that these planning shares are based on “impressions” bought, not dollars spent, which given the hyper efficiency of programmatic exchanges probably means the budgets are still lop-sided in favor of direct buys, but not for everyone.
He showed some data showing which categories and brands lead and lag in programmatic.
Not surprisingly, “lower funnel” direct and performance based categories index incredibly high, and newer, spunkier players index the highest.
Looking at the online dating sites use of programmatic, for example, Gotlieb showed that emerging player Plentyoffish.com currently spends “100%” in programmatic, vs. granddaddy Match.com, which spends only 20%.
Not surprisingly, “higher funnel” ad categories such as “arts & entertainment” CPGs, auto, etc. still lag dramatically in terms of share of impressions bought through programmatic, but given the acceleration of the marketplace, that should change soon.
This just in… I did ask Gotlieb during the Q&A portion if he could “guestimate” dollar share going toward programmatic, and he said, roughly speaking, the CPM values were “one-fourth or one-fifth” those of direct, so doing some quick math in my head, I’m going to suggest dollar share is somewhere around 7-9% of the market currently. But that was quick math in my head, so don't hold me accountable if I'm wrong, because, hey, I'm not a machine.