Commentary

Programmatic Ad Spend In Europe Jumped 250% In 2014

Marketers across the globe are turning to programmatic technologies.

European marketers spent 250% more via programmatic in 2014 compared to 2013, according to a new report. And perhaps just as telling as the overall increase in spend: European marketers were willing to trust programmatic technologies with some of their most important budgets in 2014 -- holiday spend.

The data is from Adform's Q4 2014 European "RTB Trend Report.” The Denmark-based demand-side platform (DSP) said that in Q4 2013, programmatic ad spend in Europe decreased as buyers and sellers turned to direct deals for the holiday season. “In Q4 2014, however, programatic ad spend grew substantially, perhaps an indication of the ecosystem’s confidence that the tactic is better suited to meet their goals,” write Adform in its report.

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Mirroring what’s happening in the U.S., mobile is cutting into the share of programatic ad spend in Europe. Adform notes that desktop accounted for 81.12% of programmatic ad spend in 2013, but that number decreased to 72.62% in 2014.

However, while the U.S. market appears stricken with private marketplaces, Europe may not adopting the trend quite as fast. Adform notes that it saw total ad spend in private exchanges dip slightly from 28.19% in Q4 2013 to 25.11% in Q4 2014. Adform theorizes this dip was “probably due to the vast increase in overall programmatic spending during the holiday season.”

This will be a trend to keep an eye on in future quarters. If European marketers continue to spend less in private marketplaces, it will be in stark contrast to what’s happening in the U.S. If the private marketplace budgets rise, however, then the dip in Q4 2014 will likely be chalked up as an oddity of holiday spending, as Adform suggests.

Adform says it also saw “brand formats” -- i.e. rich media -- receive 605% more spend in 2014 compared to 2013. Rich media still does not account for a significant piece of the pie -- European marketers put about 16% of their total programmatic budgets into rich media in Q4 2014, compared to about 84% into “standard banner” units -- but the sharp rise in programmatic rich media ad spend led Adform CMO Martin Stockfleth Larsen to state: “We saw programmatic branding really coming into its own in 2014.”

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