Programmatic Powering Digital's Surge

According to the U.S. Ad Market Tracker, presented by Standard Media Index, digital media spend has increased 24% year-over-year (from May 2014 to May 2015). That’s in stark contrast to the 5% ad volume decline TV saw year-over-year. SMI’s “Top 50” media companies also decreased year-over-year, most of whom are “heavily invested in television,” writes MediaPost's Media Daily News.

Within digital, programmatic was one of the fastest-growing sectors, writes MDN, with ad exchanges and ad networks expanding 33% year-over-year. “But the fastest growing sector continues to be social, which expanded 59% year-over-year, partly due to more programmatic trading via Facebook’s exchange,” the article adds.

In short, programmatic ad tech has its hands on all of the fastest-growing sectors.

The SMI ad market tracker began tracking in 2009 -- right when real-time bidding (RTB) began budding. As of May 2015, digital’s index sits at 508 (the index began at 100 in January 2009). The TV market is at 152, the SMI Top 50 is at 171 and the total market is at 192.

Everything has risen over the past six years, but nothing has jumped quite like digital. And what’s pulling digital along is automation.

It also seems unlikely that programmatic, and therefore digital, will slow down. Several large media companies still have unfulfilled goals revolving around programmatic. Case in point: IPG’s Magna Global, which intends to automate 50% of its North American transactions by the end of 2016. A lot can change in 18 months.

And pretty soon -- actually, it’s happeningrightnow -- “programmatic” will no longer be synonymous with “digital media.” Programmatic ad tech is actively expanding into the television market, with automated ad-buying platforms expected to handle 17% or TV ad budgets by 2019, up from 4% this year, per Magna estimates.

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