ANA/Forrester Find Only Half Of Marketers Using Programmatic

Despite all the bells and whistles, programmatic buying still has plenty of room for growth in terms of adoption and understanding.

A new report released Monday by ANA and Forrester reveals that 54% of marketers say they have used programmatic buying in the past year. While not a low figure in and of itself -- it means the programmatic glass is more than half full -- it’s a far cry from the 85% figure the Winterberry Group and IAB reported in November 2013 through research of their own. The disparity between the two figures could be for a variety of reasons, starting with what qualified as "programmatic" in each survey.

Per the ANA report, an additional 18.5% of marketers say they plan to use programmatic in the next year, which would bump the total number to nearly 75% by year’s-end. Among the 54% of marketers currently using programmatic, most use it for online display (77%) and online video (41%).

Currently, nearly 40% of marketers claim “low, or no, awareness” surrounding programmatic, which shows the market has a ways to go when it comes to education and making marketers feel comfortable with the tech.

“Marketers are still in the early stages of understanding how to use programmatic to win, serve and retain customers,” stated Forrester analyst Jim Nail.

Humbling the ad tech industry is the fact that 42% of marketers say concerns about transparency have increased over the past year. Just 13% say concerns have decreased.

Viewability is cited as a top sub-category of transparency, and one marketers are focused on. Other top issues include media rebates to agencies, the placement of digital ads (frequency caps, inappropriate content, etc.), and lack of visibility into the data used to define audience targeting.

Help could be on the way on the viewability front. The Media Rating Council today lifted its advisory on viewability and looks to establish it as a common online ad currency.

Perhaps in an effort to better understand programmatic, more marketers are bringing the technology in-house. Forrester notes that about 25% of marketers have expanded their in-house capabilities to manage or implement programmatic buying in the past year, with a further 13% evaluating whether to do so.

“Marketers realize they must take programmatic seriously and learn how to incorporate this buying method into their overall media-buying strategy,” Nail stated.

ANA surveyed 153 client-side marketers, all of which are ANA members. The respondents had an average of 17 years of experience in the marketing and advertising industry, per ANA. The survey took place between February and March 2014.

"Glass half full" image from Shutterstock.

2 comments about "ANA/Forrester Find Only Half Of Marketers Using Programmatic".
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  1. Tim McMahon from McMahon Marketing LLC, April 1, 2014 at 8:43 a.m.

    Nowhere in this article does a definition of programmatic exist. As was hinted at in the article, that may be the reason for low adoption. Go to and peruse the various definitions of practitioners who are working the turf of this emerging practice. It is very instructional. This is possibly the most exciting and iterative period in advertising history. Anyone attempting to proclaim victory is missing the point.

  2. Don Scott from BH Media Group, Inc., April 1, 2014 at 10:16 a.m.

    Tim, good point. The article/interview you reference is a bit old, but taking all five of the interviewee's perspectives into account gives a reasonable synthesis of what programmatic is.

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