Survey: More Than 80% Of Publishers Use Programmatic To Sell Advertising

More than 80% of publishers are using programmatic solutions to sell digital advertising, including both real-time bidding and premium direct solutions. That's according to a recent survey by ad-tech firm Operative Media, which released the findings on Thursday.

The survey, which asked more than 85 premium publishers about the state of their programmatic advertising business, found that the majority were bullish on programmatic, with nearly half agreeing that it's the future of their digital advertising business. 

This bullish stance belies lingering issues in programmatic media, including a high degree of manual labor, low CPMs, anemic revenue, ad fraud and ad blocking.

Other key findings include:

  • The majority of publishers surveyed reported less than 5% of last year's revenue from programmatic channels.
  • Most direct sales teams are empowered to sell programmatic, but rely on a complex and manual set of systems and internal teams to complete a deal.
  • Publishers cite decreasing CPMs and manual labor as the two factors that are most detrimental to their programmatic business.
  • Less than 30% of publishers optimize programmatic revenue sources in an automated way.

"Premium and automated guaranteed have a lot of promise for our industry, but there is much more work needed in order to accomplish the true goal of efficiency and automation" noted Jeff Burkett, The Washington Post's senior director, sales operations and product strategy, in the release. 

"Publishers understand that in order to sell audiences efficiently across channel, they will need to embrace a programmatic future," stated Operative CEO Lorne Brown. "With the coming advancement of programmatic RTB and premium programmatic across not only digital, but also TV, publishers have an opportunity to improve what has become a very complex digital advertising business. While the industry works to provide better technology and process, publishers must make their voices heard to ensure that the resulting ecosystem works in their favor, minimizing manual labor and encouraging fair and transparent optimization."

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